Post By: Chris Brown, Co-Senior Pastor and Teaching Pastor, North Coast Church
The last bit of candlelight cast long shadows across the cobblestone floor, while the artistry of brass and gold reflected the rhythmic movement of the flame. It was the darkest hours of night, and outside the only slight movement was from the corner of the shade canopy when a random breeze would creep through camp. It was in that hour that the whisper came. The call was faint, yet deliberate enough to wake him from his sleep. He lay frozen in silence somewhere between the land of dreams and reality trying to figure out where the voice had originated. A church at night can be a scary place for anyone, but sleeping in one when your name is whispered down the corridors is a completely different story. The young man jumped to his feet and ran to the old priest to see why he had called, only to find that the whisper hadn’t come from him at all.
In a way that only the Bible can, the lens of scripture has taken us into the first five verses of first Samuel chapter three, and yet the scariest part of the story is still two verses away. In the midst of God calling Samuel in the temple, there lays one of the most chilling statements in the Bible. And if we aren’t careful, it could be our story. Surrounded in the text by suspense and mystery, verse seven simply states that “Samuel did not know the Lord, the Word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him”. What? Are you kidding me? How did I miss that for so many years? Or better yet, how are we still missing that today?
Remember the context of the story. These events are taking place in the very epicenter of all things spiritual. The boy is sleeping in the Temple of God, next to the ark of God, and his roommate is God’s high priest of the chosen nation of Israel. Can you really find a more spiritual location than that? On top of all this, Samuel’s daily routine is to take care of the temple, and to help with all of the religious services and sacrifices that would happen there. Are you starting to see why verse seven is such a shocker? How can someone be in that place, at that time, surrounded by those things, and not yet know the Word of the Lord? But then again, how can we?
There is a chilling warning here for those of us who busy ourselves on a daily basis with the things of God, the people of God, the work of God…and yet can still completely miss the Word of God. We can easily get caught up in so much hurry, busyness, and noise that we fail to hear that deliberate whisper of Yahweh yearning for relationship. All too often, we rely on our own gifts, rather than on the Giver.
Let me ask you a simple question: If the Holy Spirit left your ministry today, how long would it take for you to find out?
A pastor, passionate about developing communication skills in young leaders, who has the unique ability to bring biblical passages to life through narrative storytelling. As a 2013 Summit Faculty, Chris will share insights on a biblical leader in a way that is both fresh and compelling. Follow him on Twitter: @_chris_brown