Saturday, October 20, 2007

Entrusted with His Word

Psalm 119:103 (New International Version)
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Words on the page of an ancient book; words that are alive; that dance and resonate; his words.

I've been reading the first book of Samuel, and in chapter 3, the account of the call of the young boy the book is named for, tells of a critical test. Could he be trusted with God's word for his people?

God started him off in a gut wrenching way. He did not give him a comforting word of encouragement to share, but a hard word--a word of rebuke, telling of his pending judgement on the house of Samuel's mentor, Eli the priest. Eli who had turned a blind eye to the utter corruption of his sons.

Ironically it was Eli who helped Samuel deliver the word from God with integrity. "May God deal with you, be it ever so severely," he said, "if you hide anything he told you."

And Eli's response must have confirmed something very deeply for Samuel. Eli, in spite of all his failings, received the word as from God, and said, "He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes."

A call from God is a sacred and holy thing and to be handled with trembling hands. We are told not to judge by Jesus, for our own judgement of another will necessarily be flawed. But when God entrusts us with an element of his work in another's life, to shrink from that is to let "his words fall to the ground." (1 Samuel 3:19)

We may not all be prophets like Samuel, but so many lightly speak words in "God's name." I wonder if we realize what an awesome trust that is?

1 Samuel 3:19 and 21b (New International Version19 The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.
21 ...and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.

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