The story of the call of Samuel (1 Samuel 3) has long fascinated biblical interpreters. The young boy is “ministering to the Lord” under the guidance of Eli, one who through long neglect has difficulty discerning the voice of God. The boy can hear a voice, but needs Eli’s wisdom to know that it is the Lord and how to respond. To Eli’s credit, when Samuel tells him what God has “spoken concerning his house,” he recognizes the prophetic word as it comes to Samuel.
Today is a momentous day in our land as we inaugurate the first African American president, and we sense the seismic shift occurring. Our capital is jammed today, literally throbbing with persons desiring to witness history, to welcome a voice of inspiration and hope. There will be rapt attention to the inauguration speech as persons listen for direction for a troubled time.
While Baptists surely prize the separation of church and state that conviction does not mean that we do not have active, prayerful interest in political leadership. My prayer for President Barack Obama is that he will listen, first of all to God, then to the wisdom that is voiced by many others. An earlier voice he has attended to is that of