1 Samuel 3:1-18 The More We Agree, The More He Speaks
1 Samuel 3:1-18
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. 2 It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), 3 and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was, 4 that the Lord called Samuel; and he said, “ Here I am.” 5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 The Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. 8 So the Lord called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening. ’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” 11 The Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 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. 14 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.” 15 So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17 He said, “What is the word that He spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the words that He spoke to you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “ It is the Lord; let Him do what seems good to Him.
Here, we see the initiation of young Samuel into the priestly and prophetic ministry. God had began to reach out and commune directly with Samuel as God would to any prophet. Notice that God would speak directly to young Samuel, but for Eli, He would only speak through a third person. Hence, God spoke at length to Samuel concerning what He would do to Eli and his house because of their sin.
For issues that are in agreement with God, He speaks directly. For issues that are in disaccord, He speaks through others. Therefore, the more our life’s direction and values system are aligned with Him, the more He would commune with us face to face.
- “And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.” – In the days of the Old Testament before the Holy Spirit is sent to indwell believers, God communicates with his people through priests and the men of God. However, God rarely speaks to His people during the time of Eli as high priest because the priests are immoral and wicked men. In those few occasions when God speaks are words of warning and consequences for their sin as Samuel witnessed first hand, God’s holiness as well as His mercies.
- “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.” – Young Samuel could not recognize the voice of God despite repeated calls thinking that was Eli calling him. Eli, being more experienced supposed that it was God beckoning Samuel, asked him to respond to God when he hears Him calling again.
- “… because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them.” – God told young Samuel what He is about to do to Eli and his house. It is God’s way of preparing Samuel to take over the priesthood from Eli. God also wanted Samuel to witness the way He dealt with Eli, which forms an early foundation for his priestly and prophetic mantle. God demonstrates His mercies by not immediately releasing His judgment on Eli and His sons but patiently waited for them to repent.
- “So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord; let Him do what seems good to Him.” – Samuel told Eli all that God has revealed to him. Surprisingly, Eli’s response lacks contrition because he refuses to punish them and remove his sons from their positions.
- It is impossible to pass up on hearing God’s voice because of the lack of experience. God will keep calling and beckoning until you respond to Him. Although for some, it may take a little longer; it is really the posture of the heart that determines if God is going to speak. He desires to commune with those that desire to do all that is in His heart and soul. If you want to hear God’s voice, be less hung up about your needs and be more concerned about what is in His heart. Man’s natural or spiritual maturity is no consideration when it comes to God’s readiness to speak. Although Samuel is still very young, God spoke to him about things that will make both ears of everyone who hears it tingle. It is something in Samuel’s soul that makes Him want to confide in Samuel. The more a person’s thoughts and life direction is in line with Him, the more He would commune with him face to face.
- God is merciful, before He judges, He speaks solemnly in multiple occasions and through multiple channels. Before God judges the sinner, He makes known His judgment and gives ample warning so that the sinner may contemplate his sins and turn back from them. God uses third parties to speak because one has stopped being receptive to Him. Therefore, one must take heed with each successive warning, comes increasing severity and imminence of God’s judgment.
- One must never for a moment think that God’s patience is a sign of His condonance. God’s mercies are much greater and higher than what one can imagine. However, we must never think that He will wait indefinitely for sinners to repent. Some supposed that God’s longsuffering is a sign of God’s condonance of their sin. After the man of God pronounced judgment on Eli, God made another attempt to speak through Samuel. God’s mercies and patience is revealed in that He did not immediately put to death his two sons. God is in fact waiting for Eli to repent and do what is lawfully required concerning his sons.
- If God rarely speaks, then it could be the pastor’s condonance of his own sins or sins of his congregation. When God speaks, He speaks clearly through His word; the truth that imparts the life giving Spirit regenerating the heart. In the church that God frequently visits, the lives of people will conform to the virtues of Christ with numerous manifestations of power and deliverance. The messages will be centered on how believers could accomplish their calling and attain God’s glory.
- Discipline yourself to call on God and commune with Him daily. In sensing what is in His heart and mind, we understand God’s agenda for us today.
- Make a list of what God has been telling you through numerous occasions and channels. You may be surprise that you have blind spots that God has been trying to get through to you.
- Are there habitual sins present in your life where God has stopped prompting you about? Be determined to cut off sin, as God’s silence does not equal condonance.
Dear Lord, cause me to be sensitive to your voice and what people have been telling me. Help me to understand the severity of some of my actions and decisions. Strengthen me to cut off sin from my life so that I could live abundantly and do your will. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.