A Submissive Child, God Calls Samuel
Book of I Samuel Chapter 3
When we left off last week we saw that Eli had lost favor with God. We also saw that Samuel was gaining favor with the Lord.
It is stated that as Samuel grew he was in favor both with the Lord and also with men.
It is at this time in Samuel’s life God made Himself known. The Lord revealed Himself in different ways to Samuel and his fame and his influence increased throughout the land as people realized that Samuel had been divinely called to be a prophet.
So let’s begin:
*****1Sa 3:1 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.
Samuel was still a child.
The Hebrew word "naar" used here means that Samuel was not yet a teenager.
Hebrew children were taught in stages. At the age of five they were ready for the Scriptures and they began with the book of Leviticus.
At the age of 10 they were ready to study all of God’s Word.
At the age of 13 they were expected to uphold the commandments of God. This included the 10 Commandments while beginning to learn the other 603 commandments.
At the age of 15 they were expected to show wisdom in God’s Word and make sound judgments.
At the age of 18 they could marry.
At the age of 20 they were expected to seek an occupation to provide for themselves.
At the age of 30 they could go into the ministry and were expected to do so.
At the age of 40 they were expected to go about the ministry without supervision.
And at the age of 50 they were considered to be wise enough to counsel others.
Samuel was probably at least 12 years old at this time.
But without a doubt our age should never be a factor in our service to the Lord!
We are never too young and certainly never too old to serve the Lord Jesus Christ!
There will be no honor from the Father in Heaven unless we serve the Son:
Joh 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
That phrase "no open vision" along with "the Word of the Lord was precious in those days" indicates that God had not given any direct revelation to His people as He had in former times.
Since Moses, there had not been a Prophet!
That word "precious" means that many desired the Word of God but they were not receiving it!
There was a great need for a true prophet of God!
*****1Sa 3:2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
1Sa 3:3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;
1Sa 3:4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
We know that when the Temple was built that there were chambers where theTemple priest could sleep.
And it is most probable at this time it Shiloh, since the Tabernacle was not moving from place to place, that a place had been built for the high priest and those that worked at the Tabernacle perhaps even under the same roof.
Wherever Eli was sleeping, Samuel had his own bed very close because of the near blindness of Eli.
No doubt Eli called on Samuel many times during the night.
The Lamp of God was a seven branched golden candlestick that stood in the Holy place before the Veil. (Note Rev. 1:20)
Eli was so old that, he had his place near this Candlestick.
It was the only source of light in that place and the priests were ordered to keep it burning.
Exo 27:20 And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.
These lamps were to trimmed, filled with oil, and lit at twilight every single night and they were to remain burning until morning.
To allow this lamp go out showed laziness and to put it out showed disobedience and contempt for the Word of God.
But this also shows us the place that Eli and Samuel slept were very near this Candlestick.
And the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel’s answer was not intended to declare the place where he was sleeping.
Samuel’s answer shows us his readiness and his cheerfulness to do anything that was required of him.
*****1Sa 3:5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
1Sa 3:6 And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
1Sa 3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.
We know that Samuel answered the first call but he did not understand who was calling.
And he ran to Eli. It is always important that we understand who is calling and what we are being asked to do!
Salvation and the Lord’s service are too important to be misunderstood and taken wrongfully.
Samuel also misunderstood the second call.
We can see that Samuel did not know the Lord at this time. Even the third call by the Lord was still misunderstood but Samuel was certain that he was being called by some one.
*****1Sa 3:8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.
1Sa 3:9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Our lesson here is that we may not always recognize the call of God at first!
Think back to the first time you came under conviction, did you really know it was the Holy Ghost?
Eli never scolded Samuel and did finally give him the right instructions.
God deserves an answer every time He calls!
We cannot be like Jonah and try to run away from God. We will certainly learn some of the same lessons Jonah had to learn, the hard way!
There is another great lesson we will learn in these passages.
"God will never be without someone to teach the truth of the Gospel no matter what preachers who have strayed from the truth are teaching!"
*****1Sa 3:10 "And the LORD came", and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
When we see where a name is spoken twice, especially by the Lord, then the message is very important and the action is coming very soon.
It happened to Moses at the burning bush:
Exo 3:4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
It happened to Abraham when he was about to slay Isaac:
Gen 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
We see Jesus speak to Jerusalem:
Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
And the calling of the Apostle Paul:
Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
And also the Apostle Peter:
Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
Samuel understood and replied that he was listening and we must always listen patiently to the Lord when He calls.
Every message of the Lord is important and sometimes requires our "immediate" attention!
*****1Sa 3:11 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
1Sa 3:12 In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.
1Sa 3:13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
1Sa 3:14 And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.
God’s message to Samuel was a message of "Judgment"!
It was inexcusable for the sons of Eli to behave as they had!
It had been Eli’s duty to force them to behave in God’s House!
Their crimes were crimes punishable by death according to God’s commandments and it was Eli’s duty to have them executed them and all of Israel knew these things.
But Eli honored his sons more than the Word of God!
So, God said His judgment would shock this nation of Israel!
God said this judgment would be so intense that the ears of every citizen in Israel would tingle!
God had already told Eli that he and his sons had forfeited their right to the priests’ office.
Brother Johnny explained that last week in chapter 2.
In our next chapter we will see Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas will all die the on same day.
And later, when Saul is king, he slew Ahimelech, who was the grandson of Phinehas.
And even later, Abiathar was removed by Solomon who was the last of the priesthood of the family of Eli.
From that point on it was the family of Zadok. This would fulfill the promise God had made to Moses about "another Phinehas" the son of Eleazar, the third born son of Aaron, which was the true line of the High Priest of Israel.
Num 25:12 Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:
Num 25:13 And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.
But not only would this happen to the family of Eli, the Ark of God would fall into the hands of the Philistines and would not be totally recovered to it’s place, until the time of King David.
And also we know that Shiloh was completely destroyed:
The Bible says:
Jer 7:11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.
Jer 7:12 But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see "what I did to it" for the wickedness of my people Israel.
God was serious then about the things that went on in the House of God!
And God is serious now about what goes on in the House of God!
Notice those words "that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged"
God did not forgive Eli nor those of his family!
And God will not always forgive those that try to rule in the House of God!
It’s God’s House and He will rule by His Own Word or that house will cease to exist as a house of God and become Satan’s house! (Note Rev 3:20)
*****1Sa 3:15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.
We do not know how much Samuel understood of the things of Eli and his sons but Samuel did not get anymore sleep that night.
Eli was like a father to Samuel and he did not want to tell Eli what the Lord had said.
But we should remember these words to Jeremiah who was also called as a child:
Jer 1:6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
Jer 1:7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
Jer 1:8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
Can God talk to children and they understand Him? Sure He can!
*****1Sa 3:16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.
1Sa 3:17 And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.
1Sa 3:18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.
Samuel did not want to tell Eli what God had said. This was out of respect for Eli but Eli did not show the same respect for this 12 year old but actually had to threaten him.
A true Prophet of God takes no pleasure in delivering a message of judgment!
But the truth is always still the truth!
Eli insisted that Samuel swear that he would tell everything and even told him that the Lord would bring the same judgment upon him if he did not.
Samuel understood what Eli was saying and told him everything the Lord had said.
*****1Sa 3:19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
Three things here:
1) Samuel grew, in other words he increased in manhood.
2) It was the Lord who became Samuel’s teacher and not Eli, filling him with grace and holiness.
3) And Whatever this young prophet said, God fulfilled it and the words of Samuel were received "as coming from the Lord".
The Bible says:
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
We must not forget that Samuel was also a priest of the family of Kohath a son of Levi.
So we see that it was Samuel that brought reform to the priestly order:
1Ch 9:22 All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David "and Samuel" the seer did ordain in their set office.
*****1Sa 3:20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.
Israel may have not been unified politically at this time but all of Israel were unified in the knowledge that Samuel was the voice of God!
Dan was the most northern border and Beersheba was the most southern border.
*****1Sa 3:21 And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
In Chapter 4 we will read of the war with the Philistines but just before this takes place we read that the Lord appears again to Samuel.
In the Book of John we read these words:
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
I believe that none other than the Lord was with Samuel this night in Shiloh.
Again God can take one man and bring change to Israel.
And God has taken one man "Jesus" and has changed this world we live in!
Samuel was about to have "a new beginning" even at such a young age!
Eli’s sons showed nothing but contempt to the house of God, the sacrifice, and the women of the church, but worst of all toward the Lord.
They were greedy, immoral and worthless sons of Belial!
Next week we will see God’s judgment on the house of Eli.
But, we must also remember these words of Peter:
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
1Pe 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
We owe it to the Lord to know how to act in the House of God!