I’m reading from 1 Samuel today and I’ve come up with a few questions.
1. In 1 Sam 3:3 it says, “The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the Lord where the Ark of God was.”
First, what did they mean by “the lamp of God”? And was it something that was allowed to go out at night and be re-lit in the morning?
Second, if he was sleeping where the Ark of God was… Does this mean he was sleeping in the Holy of Holies? Or is it just saying that he was somewhere in the tent? Not that I personally have anything against sleeping snuggled up next to the tabernacle myself… 🙂 In fact, I often wish that Adoration chapels have little cots and that sleeping in the presence of God was not some frowned-upon event.
2. 1 Sam 3:14, “…the iniquity of the house of Eli will never be expiated by sacrifice or offering.”
This seems quite harsh. What does this mean for the hope of salvation for the sons of Eli? Is it possible to still hope that they had a last-minute conversion of heart at the point of death?
Also, this both makes me think seriously about the sins that I commit — I would never want God to say that of me — and be ever grateful that we have recourse to the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Later in the text, Samuel relays to Eli what God had said, and he replies, “He is the Lord; He will do what He deems right.”
What an amazing response! To give your fate over to God like that without whining or pleading? I think this is overlooked by so many people. I know I have read it many times without really understanding what it must have taken for Eli to respond in this way. For me, my priest has instructed me to pray for holy indifference, so that I can pray as Mary did, “Let it be done to me according to Your will.” In this, I can only hope and pray that I will one day be able to put my fate in the Lord’s hands so completely, with holy indifference and complete trust that His plan is the best for me. I know this intellectually, but emotionally, I still have my preferences.