Answering God's Call

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A Sad Time in Israel

God was rarely heard

In those days the word of God was rare and visions uncommon
no one was listening to God
no one was speaking for God
God was unable to reveal himself
the people were not obeying the law and the spiritual leaders were corrupt
They were going through all the motions of worship without the presence of God
Writer gives two pictures of the spiritual condition
Eli was almost blind, eyes were weak and dim
more than physical, it was spiritual, communication between God and man was broken
At this time, Eli, the high priest, was not a good spiritual leader (not hearing or seeing)
did not correct his sons who were to follow in his footsteps
sons were wicked scoundrels with no respect for God or their priestly duties
they were taking parts of the sacrifices that were not theirs to take and seducing women at the Temple entrance
Eli told them to stop but as high priest he should have put an end to it
1 Timothy 3:12 (NLT) — 12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well.
The condition of Eli’s family reflected the condition of the nation
The lamp of God had not gone out yet
the picture here is the lamp was dim
The lamp of God was a seven-branched golden candlestick that gave light to the holy place
Exodus 25 Moses is told how to make it
Exodus 27: 21 The lampstand will stand in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron and his sons must keep the lamps burning in the LORD’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for the people of Israel, and it must be observed from generation to generation.
This lamp was to be kept burning and now it was growing dim
The lamp was a symbol of the blindness of the spiritual leader to God’s Word and visions
The lamp also symbolized the light of God’s truth to the world that God’s high priest was barely able to see

The picture in 1 Samuel 3:1, 2 God’s light was going out

The light was dim but darkness will not prevail
God as spoken light into the darkness
the light was dim but God was still present, speaking and revealing Himself

Samuel Answers God’s call

An Attentive Ear

To answer God’s call you must be a in place to hear God’s call
Samuel was in a place for God to reveal Himself
He was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God
may sound like a strange place to sleep but speak to Samuel’s faithful and obedient nature
assisted Eli
(Chapter 2) served the Lord, wearing the priestly garment even through he was a boy
He was a gift from God and dedicated to God by his mother Hanna (promised God if He gave her a son she would give him back)
Even though Samuel had never heard the voice of God, he was living in such a way he could hear it
The Lord Spoke four times
First three times Samuel ran to Eli to see what he wanted
see obedient nature of Samuel - no indication of hesitation, heard his name a moved
The third time Samuel becomes aware of what is happening and instructs Samuel to answer “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”
The Lord comes the fourth time and calls out “Samuel, Samuel”
God knows your name
Never hear God say “Hey you” or speak of you as oh what’s his name
John 10: 3, 14 13 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 14“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,
John 1 Jesus knew Nathaniel before Philip brought him to Jesus, called him a true son of Israel, a man of integrity
Psalm 139 the Psalmist says that the Lord knows everything about us
where I sit, where I stand, where I go, what I think, what I’m going to say, everything I do
He knew Eli, Eli’s sons, Samuel and He knows you and me
He knows if we have an attentive ear to His voice. If we’re even in a place to hear
If the Word of God is rare, it’s not God’s fault.
The Lord still speaks, calling the names of those with ears to hear and a desire to obey

An Obedient Heart

Samuel’s words to Eli, “Here I am” reveals he had a spirit of a willing servant & willing to respond to an invitation to serve
Samuel obeyed Eli, went back to bed and waited for the voice to call again
When the Lord spoke, he responded “Speak, your servant is listening”
Reminds you of Mary’s obedience and response to Gabriel “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be done to me as you have said”
“Speak Lord, I’m listening”
How often do we miss the Word of the Lord because we’re speaking and not listening
Psalm 50:7 “O my people, listen as I speak. . . . I am God, your God!”
We cannot know the will of God until we listen to the Word of God
Sometimes we may not listen because we’re afraid of what we might hear
I don’t think Samuel was overjoyed with what he heard
believed that Samuel was still young, possible about 12, he’s told the Lord is going to do a shocking thing and remove the High priest and his family from office. Judgment
What does Samuel do with the information, the word from the Lord?
first, he’s afraid, who wouldn’t be
He still gets up and begins to carry out his duties, opening up the Tabernacle
He speaks for the Lord telling Eli all the Lord said
Having heard from God is no time for arrogance
He didn’t jump up and go tell everyone what he heard
In fact, he was afraid to even talk about it and he definitely didn’t want to tell Eli
You don’t hear God’s Word to keep it to yourself, especially a prophetic word
After Eli’s insistence, Samuel told him completely and fully the word of the Lord

A Godly Walk

Upon hearing the word of God from Samuel, Eli accepted the will of God
Eli’s acceptance essentially acknowledges Samuel’s role as a prophet
God had spoken to him directly
He had received God’s word
He faithfully delivered God’s word to Eli
The Lord was revealed to him, the Lord was with him and he spoke the word of the Lord reliable
Samuel grew up a confirmed prophet of the Lord, not only at Shiloh but in all Israel
The word of God was not so rare through Samuel
Is the Word of God rare through us? Do we reveal the word of God in our speech and actions?
Our walk is to be godly that the word of God will not be rare in our time
Our lives are to honor God. We were created for the Lord
we are free from sin but not free to do what we want to do
1 Corinthians 6:12 (NLT) — 12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.
Corinth had the mistaken idea that the spiritual & material or the body and spirit were separate
could do what they wanted with the body because it didn’t matter
what they chose to do was to practice sexual immorality
thought they could live how ever they wanted to like the sons of Eli
Paul tells them they are wrong, there is a reason they were created
food for the stomach and stomach for food
each was created for the other
one day they will both perish, be done away with
the body was created for the Lord
He cares about it
One day He will raise it from the dead
Our body is part of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit
created with a purpose and that purpose is a godly walk
Our purpose is to reveal Christ
We’re to live a come and see lifestyle
When Philip went to tell Nathaniel about Jesus, he didn’t argue and try to persuade him
It was “come and see”
Our lives need to be such that people “come and see” Jesus
I’m not suggesting that we’re living sexual immoral lives but are we living lives where the word of the Lord is rare and our walk is not godly. That’s what we have to be careful about
Is Jesus being revealed in your life?
The word of the Lord was not rare in Samuel’s life. It is not to be rare in ours
We were created for the Lord and we are to honor God, even with our body

What are our times like

Is the word of the Lord rare
Are we living like Eli and his sons or the Corinthian people?
Living like we want
Are we answering God’s call
Are you living close enough to God you have an attentive ear to His voice
Do you have an obedient heart
Is your walk godly?
You were created for the Lord, to reveal Him in how you live
May the word of God not be so rare in your life that others may come and see the Savior
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