‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ 1 Samuel 3:10 (NIVUK)
Do you ever feel that God couldn’t work with you because you’re too old or too young? Maybe there are things in your past that you think disqualify you from participating with God in accomplishing his purposes. Perhaps you feel inadequate to join with him in what he is doing. If that’s you, then take a look at some of the people God worked with in the opening chapters of 1 Samuel.
First, there was helpless Hannah. She was sad because she couldn’t have children. She was ridiculed, bullied, and laughed at by her husband’s other wives and totally overwhelmed by her circumstances. She cried continually, wouldn’t eat and was deeply troubled. Hannah must have felt that she had nothing to offer anyone let alone God. And yet when she called on the Lord he worked with her, lifted her spirit, and gave her the son she longed for, who became a great prophet in Israel – God can work with anyone no matter how troubled and desperate they are.
Then there was schoolboy Samuel. He is described as just a boy in 1 Samuel 3:1. Maybe you think you are too inexperienced and God could never work with you. Some may think they are too young for God to be bothered with them. Yet here is Samuel, still in short trousers, wet behind the ears, and God worked with him in the house of the Lord and had a special role for him to play – God can work with anyone no matter how young and inexperienced.
Finally, we have elderly Eli. He was compromised, weak and frail. He tried to rebuke his sons for their despicable behaviour, and they didn’t listen to him. Then Eli himself was rebuked because he honoured his sons more than the Lord
(1 Samuel 2:29). It looked like a terrible end to what had been a quite faithful ministry, but even in his weakness he was still able to guide the young Samuel to say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’
(1 Samuel 3:9) – God can work with anyone no matter how old and compromised by sin they are.
God has a habit of working with weak people, people like you and me, to further his gospel.
Jesus worked with a band of disciples who denied him and fled the scene as soon as it was not safe to be seen with him. And yet after his resurrection he restored and worked with them, weaknesses and all, to establish the Christian church and spread the good news.
When God wants to work with us, let’s not think we are helpless, too young and inexperienced, or too old and compromised by our past life. Rather let us heed Eli’s wise counsel and say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening’, and see what can be achieved as God graciously works with us.
Loving Father, thank you for working with us no matter what our background or circumstances. Please speak to us, your servants, for we are listening. In Jesus’s name, we pray.
Have a good week working with God.