Recovery of the Glory (continued)
Furthermore Samuel was willing to be taught. His first uttered prayer, the introduction to a long and fruitful life of intercession in the secret place, was just the childlike request: "Speak; for Thy servant heareth". The secret of a true ministry of intercession is to have an open ear to the Lord. The first utterance must come from Him, not from us; our speaking to Him can only have value when it is preceded by His first speaking to us. Great stress is laid on Samuel's growing up, itself an important spiritual matter; and as he grew it is stated that "the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel ..." It is not said that prayer became mighty in Shiloh, or that Samuel broke through to God in prayer. No, the emphasis is on God's side; He revealed Himself again, because He had found a young man who, in spite of his youth, was ready to be shown the will of the Lord, and to maintain his first attitude of the bended knee and the listening ear.
And as he grew old he still retained that sensitiveness to the Lord. He mistook Jesse's eldest son for the man to be appointed king; he went so far as to conclude, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him"; but he did not act rashly. God was able to check him, to correct him, and to show him how not to exercise natural judgment - "as man seeth" - but to receive Divine guidance. What a contrast to the blind and set old man, Eli! It is a great mercy, and an indispensable condition for a fruitful prayer life, that a man should always have his heart attuned to the voice of the Spirit.
Samuel's Heart Purity
The third great secret of Samuel's power in the secret place was the unblemished purity of his life. Did his mother know the corrupt influences to which he would be subject among Eli's sons? If she did, she must have been a woman of remarkable faith to commit her young lad to live in Shiloh in those evil days. Her faith was vindicated. It is quite evident that Samuel was never tainted by the evil all around him. It was a miracle, to keep pure in that atmosphere, and God did the miracle. There can be no power without purity.
Later on in his life, when Samuel was dealing with the matter of Saul's appointment as king, he was able to issue an open challenge concerning his procedure from his youth until this advanced time when he was old and gray-headed, and with one accord the people testified to his integrity. If it was a miracle that the boy Samuel should be kept pure, how much greater was the miracle of maintained purity of spirit, during years when he could very easily have made some personal profit out of his position. It was this which gave him his unique standing before men as well as before God - he could claim to be free from impurity in his daily walk.
Saul's reign brought him nothing but sorrow. Yet, just as he had meekly accepted being set aside at Saul's appointment, so he remained with an unoffended spirit through all the heartbreak of that unhappy reign. He reproved Saul, but he still mourned and prayed for him. He allowed no bitterness of spirit, nor did he of his own choice seek an alternative. He returned to his place of quiet at Ramah, to continue his ministry of intercession, until, by the urging of the Lord, he went to Bethlehem to anoint David.
These, then, were the features of God's man of prayer. Simplicity, Teachability and Purity. And this was the man who brought back the glory and reversed the verdict of 'Ichabod.'
(continued with # 47 - (Samuel Spanned the Gap)