We are often willing to do anything to be able to grow and to be appreciated before men, but we do not pay attention how we grow before God. Whereas, the right growth is, first and foremost, have to happen first before God and then before men.
Various problems that happened in the church and ministry are caused by people who quickly grow before men, without getting through the process of growth before God.
Hophni and Phinehas were the examples (I Sam. 2:12-17). They quickly occupied the position as priests in the church because they were the children of the High Priest.
They grew so fast in service, but as a result they didn’t heed God and rule in His house.
The sons of Eli were scoundrels. They paid no attention to the LORD or to the regulations concerning what the priests could demand from the people (I Sam. 2:12-13a TEV).
Divine order was out of the house of God as the leader in charge didn’t get through a growth process as it should.
Samuel was the opposite example, he was growing as it should, so that when he served, there was a divine order in the house of the Lord.
These were the growth phases that Samuel exprienced, and should be experienced by us as well:
1. Being a servant before God.
“In the meantime the boy Samuel continued to serve the LORD, wearing a sacred linen apron” (I Sam. 2:18 TEV).
This was the first phase that was experienced by Samuel. He did not immediately become a minister before men, but became a servant before God. Samuel served the Lord first, it did mean he gave and did whatever was needed, requested, and wanted by God.
If God wanted to be worshiped, he would worship him. If God asked Samuel to do something, he would do it, even when God needed a leader, a priest, and a prophet, to function in Israel, Samuel gave himself to meet the needs of God, which was why Samuel accepted triple position, namely a priest, a king, and a prophet.
2. Grow before God.
“The boy Samuel grew up in the service of the LORD” (I Sam. 2:21 TEV).
By becoming a servant before God, Samuel began to know God and His heart, plans and desires. Thus he began to grow before God. One cannot grow properly before he becomes a servant to God.
3. Gaining favor before God.
“The boy Samuel continued to grow and to gain favor both with the LORD and with men” (I Sam. 2:26 TEV).
Samuel continued to serve and grow before God, that’s why God’s favor began to fall on his life. There were a variety of divine work that began working in and through him. Up to this point, the people around him began to see God’s work in his life, so they liked it too.
4. Being recognized before God.
As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him and made come true everything that Samuel said (I Sam. 3:19 TEV).
Samuel continued to grow and gain favor before God, and he was recognized by God as His own that could be used for every good deed.
“But the solid foundation that God has laid cannot be shaken; and on it are written these words: “The Lord knows those who are his” and “Whoever says that he belongs to the Lord must turn away from wrongdoing.” In a large house there are dishes and bowls of all kinds: some are made of silver and gold, others of wood and clay; some are for special occasions, others for ordinary use. If anyone makes himself clean from all those evil things, he will be used for special purposes, because he is dedicated and useful to his Master, ready to be used for every good deed” (II Tim. 2:19-21 TEV).
That’s why God poured His grace and inclusion in Samuel’s life, then He gave and fulfilled His promises as well. God only wants to make a covenant with whom He has known before Him.
5. Being recognized before men.
“So all the people of Israel, from one end of the country to the other, knew that Samuel was indeed a prophet of the LORD” (I Sam. 3:20 TEV).
After God recognized Samuel, the Lord began to publish Samuel as His own, so because of the Lord, all Israel also began to recognize Samuel. As God recognized Samuel, so people recognized him as well. Samuel was recognized because the grace that worked in and through him, not because of humanly publication.
6. Being a servant of the Lord before men.
“The LORD continued to reveal himself at Shiloh, where he had appeared to Samuel and had spoken to him. And when Samuel spoke, all Israel listened” (I Sam. 3:21).
Once recognized, Samuel began to become a servant of God before men. He did not become the servant of men, but became a servant of God before men. A servant of God’s duty before men is this: to manifest and convey His Word.
7. Acknowledged as the representation of God before men.
“And when Samuel spoke, all Israel listened” (I Sam. 3:21b TEV).
Up to this point Samuel was acknowledged as the representation of God before men. That’s why his words were considered as the words of God, so they were listened to and followed throughout Israel.
Grow before God should be our first priority if we want to experience what Samuel experience, that is, undergoing the same growth process as him.
Also read: Divine Pattern in the Work Place.