A Voice in the
Wilderness

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Re: For of such is the Kingdom of God

"Allow the little children to come to Me, and forbid them not. For of
such is the kingdom of God." (Lk18:16)

A most fascinating little tidbit came to my attention in my regular
reading through the Scriptures. Samuel is brought to live with Eli
after he is barely old enough to leave home. He has just been 'weaned'.
(1Sam1:23) In other words, he is -just- barely old enough that he no
longer needs to suckle, but can eat regular food. It is emphasized,
"And the child was young." (vs24) He is given back to the Lord. (We
won't at this time consider Hannah's barrenness, and the Lord's gift in
answer to her prayer; how Samuel came to be given to the Lord.)

This little tyke is living in the tabernacle of God, and is beginning
to grow up around God's service. Where does he sleep? Notice: "And
Samuel was lying down in the temple of Jehovah, where the ark of God
rested." (1Sam3:3)

Now let me tell you, I have looked at this verse up one way and down 
the other, to make sure I'm understanding what it says, that "where the
ark..rested" means what it seems to say; and am coming to one amazing
conclusion...

Where was the Ark kept?  Where did it reside ("rest/was")?  In the Holy
of Holies, behind the veil. We don't need to look up these passages, do
we? This is common knowledge to anyone with even a scan amount of
reading in the O.T. or Hebrews.  And -who- could go where the Ark was?
Only the high priest, with blood. (Heb9:7) What was the result of
unauthorized people touching or looking into the Ark or coming without
blood and being ritually properly purified?  Death.  (1Sam6:19,
1Ch13:9-10)  In fact, when the priesthood became so corrupted, a 
tradition is said to have been implemented: When the high priest went 
into the Holy of Holies, they tied a rope around his ankle so that if 
due to impurity the Lord struck him dead while he was there, others 
could pull his body back out, without having to go in, themselves, and 
risk being struck down.

Now, if Samuel is sleeping "where" the Ark was, and the Ark was in the
Holy of Holies, that means Samuel was sleeping in the Holy of Holies.
But... he's not a high priest! He's not even -any- priest!

As I contemplated this, I thought on the simplicity of children. Jesus
said that "unless you convert and become as the little children, not at
all can you enter into the kingdom of Heaven." (Mt18:3)

Now, let's not confuse this with that little Scripture passage that is 
sooo misapplied by New Age modernists and other 'global village' 
agendizers...  "and a child shall lead them". (Is11:6) That verse, in 
context, is talking about the coming Millennium of peace, where nature 
will be reverted back to it's predeluvian innocence where animals are, 
again, peaceful; and the animals that are presently dangerous (like 
lions) are now docile, such that a "child shall lead them"...as 
children do their pets in play.  That verse is not teaching that adults 
should let children run rough-shod, that adults should learn from 
children's "wisdom", as they (parents) are continually chided to 
"listen to" their children; as the smart-mouth teens are depicted 
talking to their parents, "you don't need to keep harrassing us...we 
know what's right and wrong...just learn to trust us".  Because 
Scripture is quite clear that parents are to raise up their children in 
Godly fear. (Pr22:6, Eph6:4, Deu6:7, etc) Children are to "HEAR your 
father's instruction..." (Pr1:8, 4:1, etc) Because, typically,
"foolishness is bound up in the heart" of the child. (Pr22:15) That
passage is saying that during the Millennium, children will be
'leading' formerly fierce and wild 'animals' that have 'now' become
docile... NOT their 'elders'.

So anyway... consider how young children are. It matters not the rank
or importance of a person; if a child takes a liking to that person,
they will crawl up into their lap, and are not bothered by 'proper'
protocols adults have devised. If a child gets tired, they will just as
easily curl up in a cupboard shelf and drop off to sleep, as to bother
with finding their bed. One of the endearing things about the Kennedy
White House was little John, Jr., as a little tyke, playing under the
President's Desk in the Oval Office.

Even God's creation in its innocence is in God's direct 'presence'.
"Even the sparrow has found a house, and the swallow a nest for
herself, where she may lay her young, on Your altars, O Jehovah of
hosts, my King and my God." (Ps84:3)

So, there's the wee tyke 'Sammy', sleeping in the Holy of Holies. Is he
perhaps curled up, snuggled up (as little children do) to the table or
stand upon which the Ark rests?  Or was the Ark resting on the ground?
Was Samuel curled right up to the Ark itself?  Sleeping in God's
'presence'..?

And notice what happens: "And Jehovah called Samuel". (vs4) He calls
again, "Samuel!" (vs6) And finally, "Samuel, Samuel!" (vs10)

Notice that Samuel is not 'afraid' of God. He goes running to Eli at
first, thinking it's Eli calling to him. God communicates with the
little boy in a manner that little Sammy could understand.

In this case, God is calling Samuel to be His prophet to Israel, as He
said He would. "And He said, Now hear My words, If your prophet is of
Jehovah, I shall make Myself known to him in an appearance; I will 
speak to him in a dream." (Nu12:6) And this little wee-tyke of a boy 
was known in Israel as "established to be a prophet of Jehovah" as he 
continued and grew up.  (1Sam3:20)

Notice that Samuel in his innocence sleeps in God's presence, where
people generally were not allowed. And he is called to be a prophet. It
happened to Samuel as the psalmist would say some years later, "As for
me, it is good for me to draw near to God; I have made my refuge in the 
Lord Jehovah, to declare all Your works." (Ps73:28)  "I will both lie
down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Jehovah, make me dwell in
safety." (Ps4:8)

What is the condition of the sinner? "All we like sheep have gone
astray." (Is53:6a)  It is not God's desire for there to be a division
between Himself and man. "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to
you." (Jas4:8) But what is the manner in which we can draw near to God?

"Who shall go up into the hill of Jehovah? And who shall stand in His
holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who has not
lifted up his soul to guile, and has not sworn in deceit.  He shall
lift up the blessing from Jehovah, and righteousness from the God of
his salvation.  This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek
Your face, O God of Jacob. Selah.  (Ps24:3-6)

Yes, we know that we are born in sin. (Ps51:5) While a child is sinful,
there is an "innocence" to childhood that Jesus uses as an object
lesson. A "simplicity" by which we must come to Christ. (2Cor11:3) A
'sincerity' of heart. We need to purge out the "old leaven" and come
into God's presence in "sincerity and truth". (1Cor5:8)

In Samuel's case, his innocence allowed him to sleep safely in God's 
presence, in a place that was out-of-bounds for most people. And out of 
this position God called Him to be a prophet.

How does that simplicity translate to adults who wish to approach God?
Coming to God is not a complex issue. When all the complex doctrines of
Justification, Redemption, Propitiation, Foreknowledge, Atonement, etc.
are reduced down to the simplest form of Faith "of the heart" (Rom2:29)
when a person is crying out (repenting) to God for forgiveness, it
boils down to, "..whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be
saved.." (Joel2:32, Rom10:13) "God be merciful to me, the sinner"
(Lk18:13)

And He promises, "their sins and their iniquities I will remember no
more." (Heb10:17)

Amen!

He did not know the Lord