1 Samuel 3

The Call

Samuel grew in favor with God and man but remained uncorrupted by the influences around him. God was working in Samuel through his daily routine and under the care of Eli. A word from the Lord was rare in those days, and visions were infrequent. Samuel had not experienced personal revelation from the Lord until one night when Samuel and Eli, who is elderly and almost blind, had retired for the night. The fading light of the lamp of God from within the Holy Place gave only a small amount of illumination to Samuel's quarters. From the darkness, Samuel heard the voice of God three times but mistook it for the voice of Eli. Three times he hurried to the side of his elderly mentor until finally, Eli recognized that God was calling the boy. He instructed his protege to respond to any further calls by saying, "Speak, Lord, for your servant hears." When God called to Samuel the fourth time, Samuel responds as Eli had instructed him. 

Difficult News

Samuel suddenly finds himself hearing from the Lord. Samuel is informed about what Eli had been told some time earlier. God would act in such a way that the ears of all who heard of it tingle. The family of the old priest would fall under divine judgment because his sons had made themselves contemptible and Eli had failed to discipline them. The Lord further declares that no sacrifice would atone for the sins they had committed. Samuel received this difficult word and lay down until the morning. He went about his usual responsibilities while trying to avoid a confrontation with Eli. Samuel was afraid of hurting his beloved mentor should he be forced to divulge what he had learned during the night. Finally, Eli sent for the boy and put him under a divine curse if he withheld any part of the message. Samuel told him everything and Eli accepted the disconcerting news with godly resignation. He knew that God had revealed his will to Samuel, and he believed that God would do what was right. Eli resigned himself to accept the verdict of God.

The Evidence Of Grace

God was with Samuel, and the Lord let none of his words go unfulfilled. Samuel's reputation spread throughout the land, and because his prophecies were being fulfilled, the people recognized that he was confirmed as a prophet. God continued to appear at Shiloh to Samuel. The Lord was visiting his people consistently, and Samuel was his prophet. 

Thing To Consider:

  • Is it rare for you to hear from the Lord? Why do you think that is?
  • How does God speak to us today?
  • What do you think Eli's poor sight points to metaphorically?
  • What can we learn from the way Samuel responds in his assignments and attentiveness?
  • It takes Eli several times to discern what is going on. How do you think Eli felt about God calling to Samuel instead of him?
  • God declares that there could be no atonement for their sin. Why do you think God responded this way?
  • In what ways did Samuel grow?
  • How does God confirm authority today?