1 Samuel 3:10-21 - God’s Message to Samuel

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Last week we looked at how:

A.   The Boy Samuel Ministered to the Lord (v.1a).

1.      Your Service Is To God, Not To Man, Don’t Be A Man Pleaser (Galatians 1:10): If my goal is to be a man pleaser then I will be tempted to compromise.  Making the lord the object of my ministry will prevent me from compromising.     

2.      Our First Response Is To Please God (2Cor.5:9-11)

B.    The Word of the Lord was Rare in Those Days (v.1b)

       1.    Where There Is No Vision, The People Perish (Proverbs 29:18)—This refers to the prophetic vision, revelation which comes as the word of God.

       2.    The Result of the Word of God Being Neglected (Judges 2:1-19)

       3.    Everyone did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25)

C.    Samuel is Unable to Recognize God’s Voice (v.2-4)

1.         God’s First Words to Samuel

2.         Samuel Does not recognize God’s Voice (v.5-9).

3.         How are you going to respond to God’s Calling?

4.         Isaiah’s Response (Isaiah 6:1-8); Paul’s Response (Acts 9:1-6)

1)        Rejection leads to withdraw of the means of grace (Acts 13:46)

2)        Judgment (Hebrews 2:1-3); (Proverbs 29:1; Matthew 22:3-7)

A.     God’s Message to Samuel (3:10-14)

1.       Samuel Responds Just as Eli Had Told Him (v.10)

a)        The Lord Came And Stood And Called As At Other Times (v.10a)—I believe that Samuel actually heard the voice of God audibly.  And because it says the “Lord came and stood”, maybe this was a unique appearing of the Lord to Samuel, perhaps in the Person of Jesus before Bethlehem. 

b)        Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears (v.10)Eli gave wise counsel Samuel (v.9).
Eli tells Samuel to:

1)        Make Himself Available For God To Speak (go lie down) —

(a)      It is not you ability but your availability that God wants.  All your abilities are from God, therefore we must never take credit for them (Exodus 31:3,6)               

(b)      Many times God speaks to us as we are lying down in our bed.  Before you go to sleep, pray to Him & ask Him to speak to you & meditate within your heart (Ps.4:4; 42:8; 46:10; 63:5-8). 

2)        Respond To The Word Of God (Speak, LORD) —

(a)      Matthew 3:1–2 the unsaved need to respond to the Gospel (2Thess.2:9-12)

(b)      John 11:28–29 when Jesus called for Mary she quickly arose and went to Him

(c)      Genesis 19:16 Lot lingered behind…

1.         Too much of Lot’s heart was in Sodom, so he was not anxious to leave the city. This lack of urgency to do the things of God is a common sign of compromise and a backslidden condition. 

2.         Lot is in the worst of all possible places. He has too much of the world to be happy in the LORD, and too much of the LORD to be happy in the world.

3)        Humble Himself Before God And His Word (Your servant hears).

(a)      Isaiah 66:2 Fear the Word of God—we must not despise the Word of God (Porv.13:13).

 How Are You Going To Respond To Call of God Saul’s Response (Acts 6:1-7)?

2.       God’s Message Of Judgment On Eli And His House (v.11-14). 

a)        Then the Lord said to Samuel (v.11) — God is literally speaking to Samuel here & He is going to tell him what He is going to do.  This reminds me of when God was going to destroy Sodom & Gomorrah, God said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?” (Gen.18:17-21);

(a)                                   Psalm.25:14 says, “the secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him” 

(b)      James 2:23 says that “Abraham was a friend of God.” 

(c)      Exodus 33:11 “the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”  

(d)      John 15:12-15 Jesus calls us friends

b)        I will Do Something In Israel… both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle (v.11) — God is going to give young Samuel stunning information. In other places in the Old Testament, tingling ears are a sign of that an especially severe judgment (2 Kings 21:12, Jeremiah 19:3). And, if both ears are tingling, it must be really shocking news!  

c)         I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house (v.12) — Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?  Is seems to me that God is not for Eli & his house.  I must be like Joshua in the end of his ministry when he said, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (24:15). 

d)        For I have told him that I will judge his house forever (v.13)

1)        God Has Spoken Earlier Concerning Eli’s House Through The Word Of The Man Of God (1 Samuel 2:27-34).

(a)      Eli let his son’s get away with all of their wickedness.  Rather than obeying God and dealing harshly with his sons, he just let them go. 

1.         Now they had better fear, because they have fallen into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31).

2.         In Luke 12:4-5 Jesus says, “My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!

(b)      This word, given to young Samuel, is a word to confirm the previous message from God.  God says in (v.13) that “I have told him.” 

2)        God Has Told Us Many Warnings In Scripture: we must not be deceived in thinking that what God says He wont do to me (1Cor.6:9; 15:33 “Seventh Heaven”; Gal.6:7; James 1:13-16).

e)         For the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile (v.13)

1)        Eli knows of this iniquity, not only by his own observation, but because God has made it known to him by the message of the man of God. The iniquity is not directly his own, it is the sins of his sons, which Eli failed to confront and restrain.

f)          And he did not restrain them (v.13)  

1)        The Necessity of Disciplining Children.  Eli’s responsibility to restrain his sons was not only because he was their father (1Tim.3:5).  These were adult sons, no longer under Eli’s authority as sons as they were when they were younger. Eli’s main responsibility to restrain his sons was as their “boss,” because he was the high priest, and his sons were priests under his authority and supervision. 

g)        The iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever (v.14)

1)        What a terrible judgment! God is saying, “It’s too late. Now, the opportunity for repentance is past.  The judgment is sealed.” 

(a)      Some People Wake Up Too Late (Heb.12:14-17).  He bitterly regretted, but he did not repent.  

(b)      Probably, the judgment declared by the man of God in 1 Samuel 2:27-36 was a warning, inviting repentance.  Because there was no repentance, God confirmed the word of judgment through Samuel. Or, perhaps Eli had been pleading that God might withhold His judgment, and this is God’s answer to that pleading. 

2)        Do we ever come to a place where our sin cannot be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever?

(a)      Old Testament Passage (Num.15:30-36).  This man boldly, daringly, deliberately sinned against & in spite of Divine Authority. This man did not have a fear of God.   

(b)      New Testament (Hebrews 10:26).  This passage is not written to the unbeliever who wilfully sins. It is written to the person who has received the knowledge of the truth and wilfully sins.  Even those who hold to Eternal Security recognize the seriousness of this warning to all who profess Christ as Lord.

The Meaning Seems To Be This: It Does Not Matter What A Person Professes.

1.         He may say that he has trusted Christ as his Lord and Savior...

2.         He may have received the knowledge of the truth...

3.         He may have turned away from the world and to Christ just as the seed thrown upon the rocky soil...

4.         ...but if he chooses to return to the world (2 Peter 2:20-22) and to live a life of sin, there is no sacrifice that can forgive his sins. Not even the sacrifice of Christ can forgive his sins.

What The Passage Is Saying Is This: the death and sacrifice of Jesus Christ has no effect upon a person who continues to sin and sin (wilfully sinning)...

3.       Samuel Tells Eli the Message From God (v.15-18). 

a)        Samuel lay down until morning (v.15) — Of course, he didn’t sleep at all! Young Samuel, laying on his bed, ears tingling at the message from God, wondering how he could ever tell Eli such a powerful word of judgment (Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision). 

b)        Opened the doors of the house of the LORD (v.15): Presumably, this was one of Samuel’s duties as a servant at the tabernacle. 

c)         Samuel, my son (v.16)! Eli had not been a good boss, or a good parent, to Hophni and Phinehas. But Samuel was given to him as a “second chance,” and Eli did a better job of raising Samuel then he did with his sons by birth. 

d)        What is the thing that the LORD has said to you (v.17)? Eli had an idea of what the message of God to Samuel was. Kindly, he takes the initiative and asks Samuel, knowing it would be difficult for the young man to tell him. 

1)        “He suspected that God had threatened severe judgments, for he knew that his house was very bad; and he wished to know what God had spoken.” (Clarke) 

2)        Eli made it clear to Samuel he had the responsibility to bring the message, even if it was bad news. With a threat like God do so to you, and more also, Samuel would be suitably motivated to tell Eli everything. 

e)         Then Samuel told him everything (v.18).

1)        How hard it is to bring a message of judgment! There may be a few, with hard hearts (like Jonah) who are happy to announce God’s judgment, but most find it difficult. Yet, it is always the responsibility of God’s messenger to bring everything God says, not just the “easy” words. 

2)        It is a dangerous thing, both for the messenger and the hearers, when the messenger fails to tell everything

(a)      God says. In the prophets, God says those who only bring a “good” or “happy” message seduce God’s people: Because they have seduced My people, saying, “Peace!” when there is no peace (Ezekiel 13:10). God also says the messenger who doesn’t say everything God says doesn’t help his listeners: They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, “Peace, peace!” When there is no peace.  (Jeremiah 6:14)

3)        Paul could say of his own ministry, Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:26-27) Can the modern messenger of God say the same thing? If he cannot, he risks being guilty of the lives of others. 

4)        Quote From Spurgeon: “I cannot bear to be cast away for ever from the presence of God; yet this woe will be unto me if I preach not the gospel, and do not declare the whole counsel of God. The result of sin and unbelief in others will fall on us if we do not warn them. O sirs, if we are unfaithful, God will deal with us at the day of judgment, as he will deal with the wicked; this is an awful outlook for us. May we never dare to tone down the more severe parts of the story, and flatter men in their sins; for if we do this, God will mete out to us a portion with the condemned!”  

f)          It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him (v.18)

1)        It Is Hard To Know If Eli’s Response Here Is Godly, Or Fatalistic.

(a)      If Godly then his heart knows there is nothing which can stop God’s judgment.  If it is not of God it will come to nothing, but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you be found to fight against God (Acts 5:38-39).

(b)      But if he is missing another opportunity to repent, and get things right, and instead having the fatalistic, “whatever” kind of heart, his response is ungodly. Only God knows where Eli’s heart was in this matter. 

(c)      We Should Always Submit To God’s Rod Of Correction.

B.     Samuel Matures And Is Established As A Prophet (v.19-21).

1.       Samuel Grows, Maturing Physically And Spiritually (v.19-20).

a)        The LORD was with him (v.19): Is there anything better than this? To have, and to know you have, the LORD with you? For the Christian, we can know we have God with us: If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

1)        The Lord Was With Joseph As Well (Genesis 39:2,21,23)

b)        Let none of his words fall to the ground (v.19): This means all of Samuel’s prophecies came to pass, and were known to be true words from God. Therefore, all Israel . . . knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD.

1)        Since the days of Moses (some four hundred years before the time of Samuel) there have not been many prophets in Israel, and certainly no great prophets. Now, at this important time in Israel’s history, God raises up Samuel as a prophet.

2)        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) spiritually influenced the nation. 

3)        Through the book of judges, when God raised up a judge, he led the nation mostly through political and military influence. Samuel, as a judge, mainly led the nation by his spiritual influence. 

(a)      An Influence is described as invisible force in one’s personality that causes others to act

c)         From Dan to Beersheba (v.20) is a way of saying “from northernmost Israel to southernmost Israel.” It carries a similar idea as saying in the United States, “from New York to California.”

2.       The Word Of The Lord Comes To Samuel (v.21).

a)        The LORD appeared again in Shiloh: When did the LORD first appear in Shiloh? We know He appeared to Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:10. Now, in some undescribed way, the LORD appears again. 

b)        As the LORD appeared again, how did He reveal Himself? The LORD revealed Himself . . . by the word of the LORD. God reveals Himself by His word. Whenever God is moving, He will reveal Himself by the word of the LORD.

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