Bible Society of South Africa

When the word becomes a rarity – 7 June 2022

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

The LORD Appears to Samuel

1In those days, when the boy Samuel was serving the LORD under the direction of Eli, there were very few messages from the LORD, and visions from him were quite rare.

1 Samuel 3:1GNBOpen in Bible reader

One can hardly believe that there was a time when the word of God was scarce. One could envision a shortage of motor-car parts or foodstuffs or washing powder, but it is almost unthinkable that there could be a shortage of messages from God. When Samuel was still a boy, we know he had a vision of God calling to him in the night. During this vision, God gave him some messages. A vision like that was always accompanied by the spoken word and that is why our verse refers to the scarcity of both messages and visions.

The reason for this was to be found with the priest Eli and his two sons who were also priests. It was their responsibility to see that the worship of God was not neglected, that the sacrifices were brought before the Lord and all the rituals that were part of their religion were performed. We read that Eli was usually at the temple, but as Solomon only built the temple much later, this must have been the building where the ark of the covenant was kept, something very sacred to the Jews. The two sons of Eli sinned against God and committed many things that were wrong. Although Eli talked to them about these wrongs, he did nothing to stop them. Eli was even accused of keeping the best of the sacrifices for himself, and so the worship of God was neglected and his messages became very scarce indeed.

When we look at our own world, it often seems that in spite of a proliferation of Bibles, the true word of God is also quite rare. One only needs to read the newspapers regularly to see that war, corruption, immorality, materialism or whatever vice you can name, is visible in the fabric of our world. Church services are held every Sunday where ministers, pastors and priests regularly preach the word of God, but the word is not always heard. People are so busy with things of their own that they do not hear God’s messages. The time has come for all of us to say once more, “Back to the Word.” You and I are now the priests of the New Covenant and it is up to us to ensure that his word does not become scarce in our time.

Prayer: Lord, please use us in your service so that your word will not become a rarity in our country. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.11
Find us on