1 Samuel 3:1-10
And the child Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.…
From Moses to Samuel, a period of several hundred years, there was no prophet regularly appointed; particular revelations were made to individuals; but there was no acknowledged prophet. The natural consequence was, that such intimations of the Divine will, as were then given, made a deeper impression: they were more highly valued and more eagerly sought for, than when the gift of prophecy, in after ages, became more common. Such is the perverseness of man; blessings of every description are estimated, not according to their excellence, but their rarity; not according to the ease, but the difficulty, with which they are to be obtained. And further, when in possession of a blessing, we are often utterly insensible of its value; we abuse it in thoughtless excess, and are ready to squander it away; but the moment it is departed, we discover our blindness and folly. Meat and drink and raiment, the air we breathe, the sun and the shower, excite no spirit of gratitude, and by many are scarcely received and remembered as blessings; but in the days of famine and pestilence, amidst the warfare and desolation of raging element, these benefits and mercies are painfully acknowledged, and ardently desired. And thus it is of domestic happiness and comfort: the value of home is frequently not appreciated until it is forsaken and lost; the worth of a friend is sometimes but lightly considered, till he "goes hence and is no more sees." These observations are also illustrative of the feeling and conduct of men, in regard to their spiritual privileges and blessings. We are apt to express a wonder at the obstinate indifference of the people of Israel to their religious advantages and instructions; we are astonished, that they could forget their miraculous deliverances by the hand of Moses, and the manifold revelations vouchsafed through him for their knowledge and guidance: yet in truth, the history of Israel is but too faithful a picture of the people of God in other times and other countries; by no means excluding our own. Before the age of printing, when the copies of the sacred word were comparatively few, the Christian, who was so happy as to possess one, commonly regarded it as a treasure. The value set upon the word of God, its preciousness in the heart of man, is not proportioned to the frequency and the fulness of its communication. It is in almost every dwelling, but not in every dwelling esteemed and loved. The Bible is grievously neglected both by rich and poor. From this lamentable neglect of the word of God, we may readily account for the want of religious principle, for the decay of religious character, for the overspreading of corruption and vice, so notorious in the Christian world. Let us suppose that it should please God, for the heedlessness of this nation, to deprive us of the privilege and blessing of the Bible; and to declare, that the neglected ministry of His word should be continued no longer: we should undoubtedly regard this as the direst calamity which could possibly befall us. Then let us be consistent; and whilst we do enjoy this invaluable favour of heaven, let it be cherished and improved. Let the Gospel, instead of being less precious to us, on account of its universal publication, and its facility of attainment, be therefore prized the more.
(J. Slade, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.