I want you to read the following sentence. It's a very familiar verse from a very familiar story, one that I learned as a child and have taught many times since. I'll even quote it from the King James, since that's probably most familiar to us as a group.
Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. (1 Samuel 3:10)
It feels like there is something missing. Go ahead. Try it. Close your eyes and say the verse and read it again.
Did you, like me, like any students I've taught, say . . . .
for thy servant heareth
But it's not what he said.
So many the boy Samuel had feet of clay after all. Here I was thinking of the contrast between Eli and his sons and their rich spiritual heritage compared to Elkanah, an ordinary Ephraimite. But Elkanah's family knew
in a way Eli did not.
Did he think a monster might climb appear? Did he expect to see anything at all? I expect that disembodied voices were the stuff of ghost stories then as well as now.
Was he scared? Or did he think talking with God was, well, normal? He was young enough to hear and respond and not put up barriers.
My daughter-in-law lost her grandmother this past week. Samuel makes me think of my granddaughter, who alone of her relatives says that Mimi is with God. (not heaven). Her house to God's house. Her presence to God's presence. As simple as that.
Regardless of what or whom Samuel expected to hear when he answered the voice, he grew into a mighty man of God.
The first time I taught this story, one of my students (the pastor's son) paraphrased the verse this way:
I expect God did, loud and clear enough for Samuel to understand.
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