2020 was an especially disorienting year. It was difficult to discern truth from error, reality from fiction, and where to be confident and where to show circumspection. The good news is that we are not the first or only people to experience this. When we open the book of 1 Samuel, Israel is in a very similar situation. This week we are reminded that even though we live in a world with varying shades of gray, God does not leave his people without a clear witness to the truth, and is faithful to provide his word, which is a light in the darkness.
SCRIPTURE: 1 Samuel 3:1–10, 19–21
 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.
 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place.  The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
 Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!”  and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.
 And the LORD called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.”  Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy.  Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
 And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”
 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.  And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD.  And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
CONFESSION OF SIN
In the book of James we read: 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
James recognizes our tendency to ignore God’s word. Even we profess to honor God’s word, we often ignore it in our practice. Take some time to consider the ways in which you have ignored God’s word in your life.
SONG OF REFLECTION
Speak O Lord as we come to You
To receive the food of Your holy word
Take Your truth plant it deep in us
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith
Speak O Lord and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory
Teach us Lord full obedience
Holy reverence true humility
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity
Cause our faith to rise
Cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority
Words of power that can never fail
Let their truth prevail over unbelief
Speak O Lord and renew our minds
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us
Speak O Lord till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory