1743.) 1 Samuel 3

“The Infant Samuel,” by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1776  (Musee Fabre, Montpellier, France)

1 Samuel 3   (NRSV)

Samuel’s Calling and Prophetic Activity

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

2At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3the 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. 4Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!”

1 Timothy 4:12 (New International Version)

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Josephus writes that Samuel was 12 years old when the Lord appeared to him.  We read in Luke 2: 41-52 that Jesus was 12 years old when he astonished the religious leaders in the Temple with his wisdom. 

This is a beautiful way to respond to God’s Word. It isn’t that God does not know where we are, but it tells God and it reminds us we are simply before Him as servants, asking what He wants us to do. Samuel is among several others who also said, “Here I am” when the LORD spoke to them: Abraham (Genesis 22:1), Jacob (Genesis 46:2), Moses (Exodus 3:4), Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8), and Ananias (Acts 9:10).

–David Guzik

5and 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.

6The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.”

But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.”

7Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.”

Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’”

“The first duty of love is to listen.”
— Paul Tillich

So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

“It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Speak to Me, Lord”

Christian artist Dave Lubben, from Fargo, North Dakota, wanted to be a rock star.  But the Lord met him and now he is a worship pastor.

I want to be, where you are.
I want to know, who you are.
So when you call my name,
I’ll say to you “here I am.”
I’m listening Lord, speak to me.

I want to see, how you see.
Change my heart Lord, and make me holy.
If there’s anything in my life,
That doesn’t honor you tonight.
I’m listening Lord, speak to me.
Speak to me…

I want to be, where you are.
I want to know Lord, who you are.
So when you call my name,
I’ll say to you “here I am.”
I’m listening Lord, speak to me.

I want to see, how you see.
Change my heart Lord, and make me holy.
If there’s anything in my life,
That doesn’t honor you tonight.
I’m listening Lord, speak to me.
Speak to me…

_________________________

If this is a story for children in Sunday School, stop here!  The things God tells Samuel and the fulfillment of God’s words in the next chapter are very sad and hard to hear.

11Then the Lord said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. 12On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.”

Do we ever come to a place where our sin cannot be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever? Only if we reject the sacrifice of Jesus for our sin. As Hebrews 10:26 says, if we reject the work of Jesus for us, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.

–David Guzik

15Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.”

He said, “Here I am.”

17Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.”

18So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, “It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.”

19As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground (that is, the Lord accomplished everything He said). 20And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba (that is, from the most northern town in the nation to the most southern town = everybody) knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord. 21The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

Since the days of Moses (some 400 years before the time of Samuel) there were not many prophets in Israel, and certainly no great prophets. At this important time in Israel’s history, God raised up Samuel as a prophet. Coming in this place in Israel’s history, Samuel is rightly seen as Israel’s last judge and first prophet. Samuel bridges the gap between the time of the judges, and the time of the monarchy when prophets (such as Nathan, Elijah, and Isaiah) influenced the nation.

–David Guzik

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Reynolds.    http://www.wikiart.org/en/joshua-reynolds/the-infant-samuel?utm_source=returned&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=referral
Hole.      http://www.truthbook.com/images/site_images/William_Hole_Jesus_Amidst_The_Doctors_In_The_Temple_400.jpg
stop sign.    http://www.myparkingsign.com/img/src/yellow_and_red_stop_sign.gif
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