1 Samuel 3
-As the young boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before the elderly Eli, whose eyesight by now was growing dim, there was a spiritual famine in the presence of the tabernacle. The word from the LORD was rare in those days, nearly 400 years since the miracles of the departure from Egypt and the Jordan crossing into the Promised Land. “Visions were infrequent (1 Samuel 1 3:1-2).” One night as Eli was lying down for the night just before the lamp of God went out and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was, the LORD began to call on His special servant, Samuel. The first call was undiscerned by the young boy, and he ran to Eli thinking it was him that was speaking. Eli told him he had been mistaken, and that he had not called him. This happened again as the LORD called Samuel’s name. So again Samuel arose and went to Eli thinking for sure this time his master had called him. But, Eli repeated that he had not called him. As of yet, he did not perceive what was going on, and Samuel had not yet known the Voice of the Living God. But, when it happened a third time, Eli discerned what was going on and instructed his young minister to say, “Speak, LORD (Yahweh), for Your servant is listening.” Therefore, Samuel went back to his place of sleep and rested. The Voice came a fourth time and stood before him and called as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” This time Samuel responded to the Voice of God as his mentor had instructed, “Speak, for Your servant is listening (1 Samuel 3:3-10).”
-The LORD said to Samuel, His young new prophet, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. Therefore, I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever (1 Samuel 3:11-14).” This must have petrified the young boy. He lay down until morning, and then he rose up to open the doors to the house of the LORD as usual. He was afraid to tell Eli what he had seen and heard. But, in his wisdom, Eli started the conversation by calling on the young boy to relate all that God had spoken to him. He warned him to tell all and not to hide anything, for this was the word of the LORD. He pronounced a curse on him of all, and even more, that had been spoken by God if anything was left out from the message. He wanted to know the entirety of the prophetic word. So Samuel obeyed and told him everything. He hid nothing from his master and mentor. To Eli’s credit, he responded in resignation, “It is the LORD; let Him do what seems good to Him.” “Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail.” Everywhere in Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, all knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD. The radiance of the LORD was back in Shiloh by revelation of His word (1 Samuel 3:15-21).
-*Application* We also live in a time where the actual word from the LORD is rare. We are enduring a spiritual famine. We need real vision from the Almighty according to His Word and an obedient response like we see here in the passage. So many do not know how to actually hear the Voice of the LORD. We are in a sad state of apathy and ignorance to the things of God all too often. It should never be like this in the age of the Holy Spirit’s presence inside His true children. Too many times we have grieved and quenched the Spirit of the Living God in our own hearts (Ephesians 4:30, 1 Thessalonians 5:19). Pay attention; hear His Voice. Be open; He will speak. Then obey.
-Eli gives us some more application to process here. His response to God’s discipline and correction is admirable. Instead of pride and excuses, he humbly submitted because he realized that he had done wrong. His affections and priorities were tainting his ministry big time. We need to respond in this same way when the Holy Spirit disciplines and corrects us.
Verse to Memorize: 1 Samuel 3:19