A Voice in the
Wilderness

site navigation

free newsletter

" He did not know the Lord "

"Now Samuel did not yet know Jehovah, nor was the Word of Jehovah yet revealed to him" (1Sam3:7)

What is the context of this verse? The familiar story of the little 'boy' Samuel, at night, sleeping next to the Ark of the covenant. (vs3) Wasn't only the high priest to be there, once a year? Well, this is what the passage says: "...where the ark of God was, where Samuel was lying down"

Samuel, as a boy, had been given back to God by his mother. She had been barren; and so when God answered her prayers to give her a child, she 'returned' the child, Samuel, to God's service. Samuel was working around the tabernacle, helping Eli the high priest. One of his chores was to "open the doors of the house of Jehovah" in the morning. (vs15)

It is God's intention to make of Samuel a prophet; the prophet who will eventually anoint David. Is not the one who anoints, greater than the one who is anointed? Just a little tidbit to chew on, there. We look at David, and read God's prophecies to/about him, and understand that David was the prophetic 'father' of the Messianic lineage. But who anointed David? As such, while we often think of Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel as having been 'great' prophets, which they were (and Daniel was even called "greatly beloved" Dan9:23,10:11,19), we often forget about Samuel. But at one point, for even as great as Samuel was to become, this passage says that he didn't 'yet' -know- the Lord.

Does this mean that, if he had died, he would not have gone to Heaven? Well, being of Godly parents, as Paul explains to us, he was "holy". (1Co7:14)

He was serving in God's tabernacle. What else was he doing? Whatever the case, he was not banned from sleeping next to the ark. He was next to the sacrifices, day-in, day-out. He learned every ritual that was ever performed, from the sacrifices for vows, sacrifices for cleansing of leprosy, circumcisions, bitter water of jealosy, etc. Somebody observing him in service would have assumed he knew the Lord.

But he did not know the Lord. That's what the passage tells us.

There's a great -many- 'christians' who do not know the Lord. In fact, -most- "christians" do not know the Lord. First of all, most [c]hristians are not true [C]hristians. They have come "some other way" (Jn10:1) But also, of those who are [C]hristians, having "remissions of sins" through repentance (Lk24:47), there are many like Samuel. They are in God's temple, serving God, doing ministry, going through all the rituals, going through all the motions... BUT THEY DO NOT KNOW the LORD.

As I explain from time to time, there is nothing I ever assert with strength, that I have not either been there, done it, experienced it or witnessed it. Of the matter of this lesson I have first-hand experience.

I was 'saved' at the age of five: that is, I prayed to receive Jesus "into my heart" as my Savior. This I did willingly (I was not coerced) in the faith of a 5-year old, not understanding complex doctrine. (What child does? Mt18:3-4) At the time I didn't know that 50 years later I would be questioning whether my father was even saved. But I can look back upon my life, and I -know- that I was saved, because the Holy Spirit was at work in my life. And like Samuel, I grew up -in- the 'ministry', as a missionary's kid, and then a pastor's kid. I also -did- everything that typically comprises ministry. Practically every form of music ministry... I've done it; and also preached, taught, did radio ministry, directed VBS and church Nativity programs. I've been in little tiny 10-15 person congregations, as well as done music in front of over 10,000 people in stadium-like settings. If I ever moved and found a new church, it did not take long at all for the Spirit to witness through me that I belonged to the Lord, and I would get roped into service of whatever nature.

But something was to happen to show me that, comparatively... I DID NOT KNOW THE LORD. If you've read my testimony, you know how I married an unequal yoke. After 15 years, she up-and-left one day; having prepared her departure to be sure I would feel the full 'guilt' for -her- departure. I -was- guilty, but not of what she was spreading the lies to everyone she knew. I was guilty, in that even though I had felt a tug that she was not a believer, I didn't listen to the Holy Spirit. I was guilty, in that I had allowed the world into my life. I was guilty, in that I had allowed myself to be persuaded to follow into the -ways- of apostasy. So, the Lord -met- me that night, and I saw 'clearly' many things. And by the time that night was complete with the Lord showing me a picture of myself as if in a mirror, and my confessions, in my spirit I also -knew- that, -NOW-, I was "ready" for service. Even though my whole life up to that point had been one in "ministry", I was only 'now' actually "ready". I was cleansed.

And the weeks/months that followed, I also -knew- the Lord. As He was teaching me things, there was another year that I did some more -traditional- 'ministry' service. But then after a couple of years, when I had fully "come out of" Babylon (Rev18:4) the Lord 'called' me to begin this ministry. And ever since VW has been going, I have not once done any of those old-style 'ministry' -things-.

There was a man, years prior, whose meeting I attended. In fact, I helped out with accompaniment with his music. But as he was speaking, he was narrating this one particular day he had... How he was driving to such-n-such place, and then "the Lord said to turn off this road", and this and that, and "the Lord said to do...blah, blah, blah". I had never before heard a present-day person speak in such a manner. And it was of a totally different spirit from the charismatics who would pontificate, "The Lord told me to tell you! I have a word!" But this was a calm, matter-of-fact recounting of what was obviously 'truth'. It was the -nature- of what his life consisted.

You know, we read in the Bible how God would speak to people, and tell them things. If the passage didn't indicate that the person had seen a dream or vision, the question would be: "how?" did God speak to them? Did they hear a 'voice'. How? Through my early life I was like that. I was intrigued by those Biblical accounts of God "speaking" to someone. Even had discussions with others, as we would 'speculate' as to 'what' that was.

We DID NOT KNOW THE LORD.

It's like writing to the president: Dear Mr. President, %White House, Washington, DC. Perhaps a reply even comes, from So-n-so, secretary to the President: "On behalf of the president, I reply to your letter". So the person excitedly calls all their friends, "I got a letter from the president!" Perhaps they even frame it, so they can show it to all their friends, like my grandmother did when I was a kid. But they DO NOT KNOW the president.

A person might even study all -about- the president, learning every little factoid there is to know. But still, any reply comes: "on behalf of" the president....

Even, the Whitehouse switchboard operator may not KNOW the president. For any of you who have seen the movie "Air Force One", where the president's family and other officals have been taken hostage in mid-air, Harrison Ford (acting the part of the president) has slipped out of the escape pod before it was ejected, and he is now seeking about how to thwart the terrorists and rescue the hostages, and calls the Whitehouse with a cellphone; get's the switchboard operator and proclaims, "This is the president, transfer me to...blah, blah, blah" And the switchboard operator takes issue with him, as though it is a 'prank' call, "YaRight! and I'm the queen of England!" (or something to that effect) He tells her to check some specification that only the president and certain others would know about, and she then suddenly realizes it's -really- him, and patches him through. She did NOT KNOW him such as to recognize his voice.

There's many Christians who know 'specifications', but they do not know the Shepherd's 'voice'. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (Jn10:27)

There are a lot of people who have "prayed -the- prayer" but have never met the Lord. Many have walked the aisle, and prayed to receive Jesus, but have never talked to God, nor heard His voice. There are many people who read the Bible and pray, but never get direction from the Lord. Many people hold to "the faith", but in their heart it is like looking down a long tunnel, and they cannot see the other end; all they know is "specifications" of the Christian life. Even though they speak of "faith", for them it -is- a "blind" faith, because they do not know the -reality- of the Most High. For as much as they might wish to psyche themselves up emotionally to simulate a 'spiritual' experience, coming away from a meeting at church and 'feeling' all warm-n-fuzzy inside, when they get home, in their room, in 'secret', the TRUTH is that God is not in their little room with them, because IN TRUTH, they do NOT "know" the Lord.

When somebody who truly -does- know the Lord speaks of "the Lord told me", they don't understand it, because they have never heard His voice; they think, 'Yeah right! Who does he think he is? Does he think he has a special pipeline to God?' (You see, the line between those who are truly saved, and those who are not, can be fuzzy to distinguish, when a person does not know the Lord) They have never been confronted by the Angel of the Lord with the flaming sword, such that their donkey collapses under them. They have never been blind, sitting by the side of the road calling out, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" to then have the invitation, "The Master is calling for you." They've never been lurking around to -truly- find out who Jesus is, to have Him call to them, "Zacchaeus, come down from the tree...where you are hiding...I want to come to your house and get acquainted" They have never heard the knocking at the door, "Let me in...I want to have fellowship with you" (Rev3:20)

They don't understand Rom8:16, because they have never had the "witness" of the Holy Spirit; because in the case of those who are not saved, they do NOT have the Holy Spirit. (Rom8:9) From experience I can attest that a True Believer -can- know the Spirit's 'witness' in their own heart, life and ministry, even though they do not yet know the Lord. But most don't even have the Spirit's 'witness' in their lives. They may have had some emotional highs from time to time, and thought it was something 'spirit-UAL'...but then, when they come down off that high, and they feel agitated, they do not know the 'presence' of the Lord in their soul, the 'calm' that He brings, even if things around them are in turmoil.

They have never met the 'president' face-to-face, shaken hands, gone for a walk, met for lunch, come over for BBQ cook-out, played a round of golf together, spent a week-end at the cabin together going fishing, etc. They have only stood in line, filled out the forms, and gotten the certificate in the mail.

There was a man whom Jesus comes up to and asks: "Do you believe into the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I may believe into Him? And Jesus said to him, You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you. And he said, Lord, I believe! And he did homage to Him." (Jn9:35-38) At that moment, he -knew- the Lord. Prior to that, he had mud applied to his eyes, was told to go wash, gets his sight, and then after confrontation with the temple rulers where he testifies about the Lord and proclaims Him 'Lord', gets excommunicated. He has stepped out in faith, and even suffered persecution for the Lord. But he had not yet 'met' the Lord. He did not yet 'know' the Lord.

"If you seek Him, He will be found by you" (2Ch15:2) Jesus said, "Seek, and you will find" (Mt7:7)

But in every example in Scripture, what we see is: God -seeking- out man. Job was challenging: "But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue with the Mighty God." (Job13:3) Let's talk man-to-man. So then God comes down and presents Himself to Job, and says, "..gird up your loins like a man...and you declare unto Me..." (Job38:3, 40:7) And when Job finally 'meets' God, what does he do? Whimpers away: "I have put my hand to my mouth" (40:4) and: "I despise myself, and have repented in dust and ashes." (42:6)

If it were up to us, well: "all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way" (Is53:6) Adam, when he heard God approaching to visit, runs and hides; and God calls out: "Where are you?" (Gen3:9) God displays Himself to Moses from the burning bush, and when Moses turns aside to look, it is -God- who calls out to Moses to take off his sandles, "the place where you are standing is holy ground." (Ex3:5)

We cannot come to Jesus, except God "draws" us to Him. (Jn6:44) When there is face-to-face fellowship with God, it is God who says, "I, Jehovah, reveal Myself..." (Nu12:6)

I don't know... perhaps not 'all' Believers are meant to have this kind of relationship with the Lord? After all, in this last passage God is talking about how He calls His 'prophets'... His forthtellers, His preachers. However, I have known some 'ordinary' people (non-ministers) who testify of this same sort of KNOWING of the Lord.

I don't know what other believers have with the Lord. I can only testify to "what great things the Lord has done for me" (Mk5:19) I cannot "judge another's servant" (Rom14:4) After I 'met' the Lord; or rather, was met 'by' Him; the occasion was as dramatic as though it had been a 'salvation' experience. Thus, I spent quite a bit of time remembering back throughout my life to sort it all out: Had I not really been saved all those years? But concluded, remembering all the many times of the Holy Spirit's "witness" with my spirit over the years, that I indeed -had- been saved. But by comparison, I DID NOT KNOW the Lord all those years. I knew the Word, I knew doctrine, and my heart yearned to serve Him 'more' than I was. That is surely not the witness of an unsaved person. And the persecution I received from the apostasy was certainly unfitting, if I wasn't saved all those years.

Thus, should you, dear Believing reader, 'know' the Lord? Paul's prayer was, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death," (Ph3:10) Have you submitted to the 'fellowship' of His sufferings? Are you conformed to His death? Unless you do, you likely won't. Most who call themselves "christian" today are too busy chasing after the world: its wealth, its entertainment, its enticements, its lusts. Have you desired, like Paul, "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss because of Christ. But no, rather, I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, that I may gain Christ" (Php3:7-8) ??

Has the Lord tried to get your attention? What have you been looking for in God's voice? Have you recognized His voice when you heard it, and responded? In your knowledge of the Lord are you looking for something Great and Fantastic? Are you busy -PRAYING- 'to' Him...jabbering off at the mouth? Or have you been to the place of Cleansing, Purifying, Lamentation and Weeping, with Shame and Humility? (Ja4:8-10)

Elijah had just finished a 'Great' campaign. At his command there had been drought for over three years. Then in a mighty display of grandeur he had been the instrument of God's fire consuming a water-drenched sacrifice, where he had also prayed that the people would know "that I am Your servant" (1Ki18:36) But now the 'great' prophet is despondent. Lord, I've been very zealous for You, but now they want to kill me. They don't appreciate me and my zeal for them on Your behalf. God sends some more 'great' things: wind, earthquake and fire. But nothing. Then, the "whisper of a small voice". (1Ki19:12) -THAT- is where Elijah and God had some face-to-face time.

I dare say there's a lot of well-intentioned folk out there, who love the Lord sincerely; but their Christianity consists of living their lives and talking -to- God. They are like Martha, bustling around, bothered with many 'things' (Lk10:41); making a lot of clanging noises (1Co13:1) with the pots and pans: See everybody? See what I'm doing! How 'busy' I am for the Lord!

The 'preacher' gives this exhortation: "Do not be rash with your mouth, and do not let your heart be hasty to say a word before God. For God is in Heaven, and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few" (Ec5:2)

How did Samuel meet the Lord? The Lord calls to him, "Samuel, Samuel!"

Samuel's response: "Speak, for your servant is listening"

Amen!

Q/A -Not know the Lord?


Return to: Articles