What are you talking about?” you might be asking. Do you remember the story in the Old Testament where the little boy Samuel learned to hear God’s voice for the first time? The passage clearly says little “Samuel was lying down in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was located.” (1 Samuel 3:3).
This was the Tent of Meeting—the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. According to a Jewish Rabbi friend of mine, “the Temple had priests and Levites that were constantly sleeping there. There was a 24 hour watch–not because of thieves, but out of respect for God. There was an area of the Temple where they did sleep. This is abundantly clear from Jewish sources that discuss the tabernacle/temple.”
Peace Near the Ark
So apparently it was Eli’s turn to keep watch, and he kept the little boy with him at all times. He did not leave him at home with his wife while he tended “adult” activities. He was truly mentoring this child in every way, leaving none of his spiritual education to slothful chance. In all ways, “The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli.”(1 Samuel 3:1)
Where exactly those sleeping places were, we don’t know. What we do know is the Most Holy Place was where the Ark of the Covenant sat with God’s very presence—His glory—rested on the Mercy Seat. It was hidden behind a heavy veil. Imagine the peaceful sleep one would get sleeping in the presence of the Most High.
And it was in this place—in the atmosphere of the glory—he began to hear the voice of God in a time when it was rare, and visions were rare. But Samuel heard his voice when no one else did or could. The voice got clearer and clearer, and God began to download strategic prophetic words into the heart and mind of a mere child. This tells us once again that children are capable of the deep things of God and it is to our shame if we do not diligently teach them to hear and follow his voice.
With the busy-ness of life, and with all the activities children can get wrapped up into so quickly, are you making time in your daily routine where your child can sleep near the ark? Is there a time when you as a family just stop the madness and rest in His presence and listen for His voice? How else will your child ever learn what God’s voice sounds like?
In the Old Testament, they had to go to a building called a Temple to be in God’s presence. But now through Christ, we are the very Temple of God. Does your child know that? If he never learns to hear God’s voice, then how will he ever receive the strategic plans of God for his life?