Samuel Hears God
1 Samuel 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 is a young boy…maybe in his teens. Samuel had been “lent” to the Lord from Hannah, his mother….for the ministry the Lord had showed her. “…And he worshipped the Lord there.” (1 Samuel 1:28)
He stayed with Eli, and learned God’s word of the law. He knew the beauty of the Lord’s Tabernacle, and understood the duties Eli performed.
He was Eli’s helper; and when Eli (who was the high priest), went into the Holy Place to maintain the oil in the Lampstand, which had to be kept filled during the night,…..Samuel went with him.
Samuel slept by the Lampstand, to notice the lights flickering.
This was a sad time in Israel….the people did not know the Word of the Lord: their laws and their meaning….it was “precious”…..very rarely talked of in families and among people.
Also there was no “open vision” (Proverbs 29:18)…..the purpose and plan for Israel, under God, was also not universally known….only a few remembered that God was to be their King.
Only a few remembered that they were to be separate tribes, yet brothers in kindness.
(I want to mention something here,….about training our children in the Word of God.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
“Train” here means to initiate and discipline. To bring into and teach.
My son had a rebellious time when he was in his teens….not terrible stuff….but he turned away from God, for a while. He was brought back, by God speaking to him, getting his attention concerning his life ahead.
God’s Word sheds light….and I believe we need to show our children what we think of His Word….how much we believe it….that is an impression they will never get around…though they certainly may try.)
Samuel was not of the priestly family….yet God had seen beforehand the perverseness and rebellion of Eli’s sons…..and provided a substitute, in Samuel, to speak to Israel about God.
But first….Samuel would have to hear, for himself, the Word of the Lord.
God was going to speak to him….and give him a task….would he obey?
1 Samuel 3:2-4 “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;
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;
That the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.”
This sounds good….
1 Samuel 3:5 “And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou callest me. And he said, I called not, lie down again, and he went away and lay down.”
Samuel had not heard the Lord before, and mistakenly thought that Eli had called him….so he ran over to him and asked him what he needed.
Eli, half asleep, said….”I didn’t call you, go back to sleep.”
This happened two more times: “And the Lord called yet again, Samuel.” (Verse 6)
Now Samuel was hearing…..but not hearing the Lord, yet. He kept thinking Eli was calling him….and each time, in diligence, Samuel went to see what Eli wanted.
Twice Eli, told him to do back to sleep….but the third time:
1 Samuel 3:8-9 “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.
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.”
(I was praying once about “teach all nations/ make disciples” [Matthew 28:18-20]. And the Lord showed me these verses…..Eli pointing Samuel to hear and answer the Lord.
The Lord showed me……If we can bring those we pray for and teach, to hear the Lord for themselves….and answer Him with obedience; we have fulfilled our commission.)
1 Samuel 3:10-11a “And the Lord, came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel.
Then Samuel answered, Speak; for Thy servant heareth.
And the Lord said unto Samuel,…..”
The fourth time, the Lord calls Samuel….this time standing beside the Lampstand….He said “Samuel, Samuel”.
He repeated his name, for there was an urgency now that Samuel knew it was the Lord was speaking to him.
Samuel says…..as Eli told him….”Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth”.
And the Lord told Samuel that He was going to do away with the priesthood that was in charge, including Eli….for the sin Eli refused to deal with, in his sons.
It would be a wake-up call to the nation, now…….but, later, He would make an end to the judgement on the priesthood……”when I begin, I will also make an end.”
In the interim, Samuel would minister to the nation, turning them back to know God, and His claims upon them…for each other; and other nations.
In the morning, after hearing this….Samuel got up and went about his chores; opening the doors; but he said nothing to Eli.
Eli sees Samuel’s quietness, tells him,……to speak plainly to him:
1 Samuel 3:18 “And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he (Eli) said, It is the Lord: let Him do what seemeth Him good.”
And Samuel told him everything that the Lord had said. He loved Eli, but spoke God’s Word,….faithfully.
(Eli submitted to the Lord’s Word, through Samuel.
Actually, Eli had been a good man,….but a bad father to his son’s. He had tried to correct them,….slightly. But as the high priest, he should have taken them out of the priesthood, for their sin against the nation.
And for their trespass against the Lord, ….they should have been stoned. 1Samuel 2:17, 24-25; Leviticus 24:16)
Samuel’s faithfulness was blessed.
1 Samuel 3:19, 21 “And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the Word of the Lord.”
The Lord again was speaking to the nation,….through Samuel. He was telling them what God wanted of them, as His people. (How important for us, as Christians, to keep in constant touch with Him, and His will for now.)
We, too, can hear the Lord calling and speaking to us….sometimes through others, and sometimes personally through His Word to us.
This is what He wants for us…..to hear Him, and know His Will, Word, and the way we should go. It is always personal….the Lord knew Samuel’s name….He knows ours, as well..
John 10:3 “To Him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear His Voice; and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.”
When we hear Him, we should say: “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth”…….and then be faithful to what He has said to us.