“And Samuel was lying down in the house of Yahweh, where the ark of Yahweh was, then Yahweh (the Lord) called Samuel.”
While I recognize that Samuel was most likely in the temple because he had a job to perform – perhaps, the trimming of the lamp, ensuring the light burned until morning with sufficient oil, etc. – while it was his duty, it also seems as if it was his preferred resting place. Verse 9 says “He was in his place”. Samuel was diligent long before he was commissioned or called, before he got his first word of prophecy he chose to live in the presence of Yahweh. It is important to be diligent in our service. Every disciple must take this road of just being faithful without knowing exactly why, or without an ulterior motive of being recognized or ordained to an office. The secret to diligence is trust – trusting the plan of Yahweh for our lives and recognizing that “where I am, is where I need to be in this moment”. If we do this, then we will work and grow where we are, until the time comes for us to be transposed (where transformation and positioning collides) into the next level of service and our calling. Being constant positions us to hear and, just as importantly, know where to direct our response when we are called. Samuel was not just in the temple somewhere; he was in the holy place, near to where the Ark of Yahweh (God) was. (I am sure he wondered and imagined the place beyond the veil – the holy of holies – and what it was like).
Note that for Israel, the Ark of Yahweh was their most precious possession. In the following chapters, the story is told of the Ark being taken into battle; it promised victory, and represented the power and presence of Yahweh. Remember it was specifically designed and consecrated so that only the priests or other designated person, with divine permission could handle it. In fact, it was upon hearing of the Ark being taken by the Philistines that Eli fell over and died (1Samuel 4:18); later, in 1 Samuel 5, when the philistines took the Ark and placed it into their temple beside their diety, dagon was on his face the next morning and when they set it up again, their idol was smashed to pieces. It is a fearsome and yet awesome place to be – the presence of Yahweh.
When Father Yahweh told Moses to build the temple and the Ark of His presence, he wanted to create an opportunity and sanctify a place where he could be among His people continuously. In Exodus 25:1-9, He gave Moses very detailed and specific instructions on how to build the temple; the details of the materials to be used and the items to be made and consecrated are spelled out in painstaking details and were to be followed to the last letter. He said in Exodus 25:8: Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them. One transliteration of the word “dwell” is to settle: to set up residence, to make one’s home. In Exodus 35:20-29 He specifies the gifts they should bring and in chapter 40:1-33, he oversees the interior decoration, the placement of every single item in the temple. Finally in Exodus 40:34-35, the scripture describes Yahweh’s pleasure with the work done “according to the pattern” by His Cloud (the Shekinah – Yahweh’s visible presence (AMP)) coming – covering and filling the tent of meeting. The presence was so overpowering that the temple was literally surrounded and saturated with Him. Can you imagine such a magnificent sight? Imagine being in the presence of a cloud so thick and palpable, so full of power that all you can do is bow, fall prostrate before Him, as one dead (Revelation 1:17).
Samuel reverenced the presence of Yahweh. He enjoyed making his bed there; he conducted himself, even at a young age, with respect and honor to the Elohim (God) of Israel, daily. We have taken to the notion that we must only get into the presence of Yahweh when we are looking for a blessing or a gift. But I encourage you to live in the presence of Yahweh. If we want to fulfill His call on our life, plan to set up residence in His presence and do not be a visitor: Live there. In fact, just as he wants to settle and make a home in our temples – adorned and decorated by His Son’s love and grace, he also desires that we become ‘at home’ in his presence.
We all know the difference between visiting a friend or family and returning home to ‘our house’. How familiar it feels, the comfort we get from being free to be our honest selves. In fact, some of us start stripping ourselves of our layers when we walk into our homes after a long day away. We take off coats and scarves, place our pocketbooks down, remove shoes and for the ladies, all the makeup must go. I believe that the equivalent happens when we walk into the home of His presence? As I think about it, I see Him immediately taking from us the stuff we pick up on the outskirts of His presence, He strips us down and sees us as we are, as He made us, unpretentious and open. Barefaced and bare feet – is how He welcomes us – think of Moses being told to remove His shoes and the writer of Hebrews telling us to come boldly into the presence of our Father. As the expression goes, there is no place like home! His presence should be a place we look forward to, to find respite from the unavoidable distractions and interactions. We should always seek to go inward and find the seat of His presence, where there is an abundance of favor prepared and ready for us.
This is how Samuel lived and spent his time, and the bible says “then Yahweh (God) called Samuel.”