“In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.” – 1 Samuel 3:1
“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” – Proverbs 29:18
The word of the Lord. That’s Jesus. When Jesus isn’t around, there’s no vision. And, where there is no vision the people cast off restraint, or perish.
This stood out to me this morning as I read the first seven chapters of 1 Samuel. A distinction was drawn between Samuel and Eli and his sons. Samuel was wholly dedicated to Lord while Eli and his sons were serving themselves. The word of the Lord may have been rare in those days, but Samuel had him. Eli and his sons did not.
One sign of this was Eli, the judge of Israel, went blind. He had no vision because he did not have the word of the Lord. But, Samuel slept near the ark of God and heard God speaking. He heard the word of the Lord and had prophetic vision. Samuel heard Jesus, then saw the truth. This is true for us to day – first we have to hear them we can see. We hear Jesus and his words then he enlightens us with the truth.
A second sign was that Eli’s sons were treating the offerings of the people to God as if they were their own. They weren’t following God’s commands and were taking whatever portion of the offerings they wanted. They had no vision and they had cast off restraint. Even though Eli knew, he did nothing to stop it. In fact, the text seems to say that Eli ate of the offerings too. Instead of ministering to the people and mediating God’s presence to them, they were taking advantage of the people via their position. Samuel on the other hand heard the Lord and he received a clear revelation of the situation. The Lord told Samuel, “And I declare to him [Eli] that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.”
What was the end result? Eli and his sons were punished just as God said. But, for Samuel, “The Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 3:21)
You could say Samuel continued to see God by hearing Jesus.