Every superhero has an origin story.
Samuel may not exact be a superhero with a cape and a Batmobile, but he is the first hero of our tale. And is quite extraordinary, as this passage tells us. It’s important to note the first and last statements of the chapter.
And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision…
And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
There’s something special about Samuel. God reveals himself to Samuel. Not to Eli. Nor Eli’s sons, the priests. Consider that.
When was the last time you revealed yourself? What’s required for that to happen? Revealing yourself is personal. It means trust. It means connection. You reveal yourself to someone you want to hang out with.
It’s like God is saying to Samuel, “I like you. Can we play together?”
And this is the story of how that happened. Remember the poem in chapter 2. Eli and his sons are being brought down. Samuel is being lifted up. Interesting that it mentions Eli’s eyesight is fading. Perhaps it’s fading as a result of his desensitivity to his sons’ corruption?
As we go into chapter 4, the scope of the story widens beyond the shrine at Shiloh with Samuel and Eli now to the entire nation and a looming threat. We’re introduced to the Philistines, who will be the prime bad guys for the rest of the book. It’s their antagonism that prompts various crises throughout these stories.
There’s a scene near the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where these members of the government are trying to recruit Indiana Jones to find the ark of the covenant. According to them, the army that possesses the ark is invincible. That’s kinda the idea that the Israelites get here.
But the Israelites soon find out what happens when you treat the presence of God as either a good luck charm or a weapon. It’s just never a good idea.
What about you? What do you see?