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 … Then the Lord called Samuel.

1 Samuel 3:1, 1 Samuel 3:4

The chaos at the end of Judges, when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25) and there was an absence of effective leadership, indicated the spiritual darkness at that time among God’s people. And what caused this darkness? Faithful proclamation of the word of God was becoming increasingly rare. Yet such silence is not reserved to that one era. Throughout the generations, the people of God have experienced periods of this silence and darkness.

But God is a God of clarity and of grace—and so He has never left people without His word. So it was that, despite the faithlessness of the people during the time of the judges, God was preparing to bring His words to them through “the boy Samuel.”

God always ensures that, one way or another, His people can hear His word; and today in the West we can never claim that His word is “rare.” It is our privilege to have easy access to God’s word in the Scriptures. Only in the last few centuries has a minister been able to say to the congregation, “Please take your Bible and turn to…” because prior to the printing press, few people had a Bible to turn to, nor could they have read it themselves if they had had one. In the 18th century, when John Newton was addressing his congregation, he noted, “I account it my honour and happiness that I preach to a free people, who have the Bible in their hands.”[1] And there are still many places in the world where Bibles are removed and destroyed and must be smuggled in. To receive even a portion of the Scriptures means a tremendous amount to many of our brothers and sisters in such countries.

Yet while many of us have the honor and privilege of owning a Bible, we nevertheless live in effective silence, allowing the word of God to become increasingly rare in our lives. Is the Bible truly present in your daily life and in your place of worship—that is, not only physically present but also audibly proclaimed and intently listened to? What matters is not simply owning a Bible, or even merely reading and knowing it, but living by it and loving the one to whom it points: the Lord Jesus.

Alec Motyer writes, “Have we got a Bible still in our hands? Let us prize it, read it and commit precious truths to heart and mind. It is not an inalienable possession; it may not be ours forever.”[2] Let these words challenge you to seek out God’s word and treasure it so that you may walk in the light of hearing from God, about His Son, by the work of His Spirit.

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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.