19 So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD. 21 Then the LORD appeared again in Shiloh. For the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
What a glorious testimony… “the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground”. I imagine Samuel as being a young man that was slow to speak; reserved in his comments. I picture him listening intently as others spoke. His counsel would be short, concise, and rooted in the word of God. He was probably a man of few words. But those few words would be rich with spiritual wisdom. Samuel’s prophecies came true and people recognized that he spoke words that came from God.
Note the first three words of verse 19… “So Samuel grew”. Considering Samuel to be a youth, it is easy to pass by these three words quickly as statement regarding his physical growth from a boy into a man. However, this passage has much deeper significance… referencing his spiritual growth. Samuel had to grow spiritually from the young boy who, at first, did not recognize the voice of the Lord into the spiritual leader that God would use to anoint and council kings. God used Samuel to anoint and provide counsel to Saul. Later, Samuel would anoint David to be king of Israel.
Samuel became the spiritual leader for the nation of Israel from Dan to Beersheba (from the northernmost Israel to the southernmost Israel). Samuel is known as Israel’s last judge and first prophet. God used Samuel as he transitioned Israel from a nation ruled by God to a nation ruled by kings. This was a transitional time for the nation and God needed strong leaders, with strong relationships with Him, to lead the nation through this challenging time.
Have you met people that you could tell were Christians just by the way they spoke and their actions? They didn’t have to tell you that they were living a life dedicated to serving God… because you could see it. You could see the characteristics of God in their daily lives and you could see the fruit that surrounded them. There was a peace about them and they brought peace and joy to any environment that they enter into. Conversely, there are those that you encounter that profess to be Christians, that look nothing like Jesus. Their fruit is scarce at best and they cultivate strife and devision in any situation where they inject themselves.
A person only begins to look like Jesus by spending time with Jesus. A person begins to look like Jesus when they are willing to put aside their own desires and allow God to use them as His instrument. This requires a willingness to examine oneself and search out the characteristics that conflict with the image of Christ… then allow God to purify us of these blemishes in our Christian character. As John the Baptist so clearly explained it to his disciples… “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
The person who looks like Jesus has spent hours praying the prayer of the tax collector: “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13) and crying out Isaiah’s plea “Here am I. Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8). These are the characteristics of the heart of the Christian, the “little Christs”, that have a longing to please their Father without regard for themselves… even to the point of death.
Jesus explained to the disciples that “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). God’s people recognize the words of God and are drawn to those that speak His words. A natural hunger exists in the Christian for the counsel of God’s word. As God grows leaders, He draws followers to these leaders. In doing so, God assembles, organizes, and trains His spiritual army on the earthly battlefield.
The United States is going through a transitional time that is very much the result of spiritual battles. Godly men and women are needed as leaders in this transitional time. Leaders like Samuel that have grown under the discipling of the Lord and are willing to deliver messages containing the most difficult truths will be used to guide our nation through these difficult times. Whether the audience is one or one thousand, each of us (like Samuel) must be willing to speak God’s Word boldly and unapologetically to those that God places before us.
Spend time with Lord in prayer and study of His Word. Ground yourself in His truth. Extend His love and mercy to those around you. Become accustomed to receiving from God and pouring into those that He places around you. Grow in Him and He will establish you among His people. Consider the words of David to the children of Israel… “be careful to seek out all the commandments of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land, and leave it as an inheritance for your children after you forever.” (1 Chronicles 28:8b)
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You. (Psalm 143:8)