When did Roman Emperors know the game was up? When their fiefdoms crumbled. But, before that, the Christian Church gave warnings. That’s its role; to be a prophetic voice above the slurry of politics.
Today, the western world needs prophets for Christ. Since populist leaders are making happen humanity’s least laudable dreams. Others are too weak to enact their electorates’ better ambitions, hopes, and vision.
How are we to be prophetic in this dystopian political wilderness? I am preparing to preach on the calling of Samuel at the moment. The parallels are striking. Shiloh is being defiled by the behavior of Eli’s self-serving and abusive sons. Eli himself is tired to the point of impotence. So, God called a fresh voice to speak above the morass. He called one with the youthful courage to proclaim the truth. He called on a powerless innocent to follow the result of saying, ‘Speak Lord, your servant listens’. The outcome was Samuel and his people rediscovering life in all in communal fulness.
May the Church go and do likewise.
1 Samuel 3:1-10
New International Version (NIV)
The Lord Calls Samuel
3 The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
8 A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”