After years of not being able to conceive, Hannah eventually gave birth to Samuel, whom she dedicated to the Lord, enabling him to begin his apprenticeship at the temple in Shiloh under the fading eyesight of Eli the Priest. He did well and was a credit to his parents, unlike Hophni and Phinehas, whose sinful behaviour as Priests disgraced their father Eli, as well as his God and consequently – “the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions” (v 1.) But all that was about to change ……….
One night when Samuel was lying down in the temple, the Lord called him on three occasions. Assuming that it was the voice of Eli he ran to the bedside of the elderly Priest.
Challenge – How often do you mistake the call of God for the call of man and run to Eli?
To be fair young Samuel did have an excuse – Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him” (v 7.) On the first two occasions Eli sent him back to bed, but on the third occasion his spiritual intuition told him that this was a “God moment” and that if he heard the voice again he was to say – “speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Not only did Samuel hear the voice, he also saw the Lord, who gave him a message for Eli confirming something that he already knew via a prophetic word that his family would be wiped out due to Eli’s unwillingness or inability to deal with the dreadful sins of his offspring.
Challenge – When we see our children doing something that is clearly wrong, do we confront them, or “brush it under the carpet?”
What does Samuel in this story have to teach us about faith?
1 – Faith is Received.
It was God who took the initiative, called Samuel, and with a little help from Eli, gave him the faith to respond.
Saving faith is received (2 Peter 1 v 1) when God makes himself known and causes us to respond by drawing us to himself (John 6 v 44.) Such faith is imparted by God through his word (Romans 10 v 17.)
2 – Faith is Relational.
As Samuel continued to mature he knew the Lord’s presence in his life and he grew relationally with God as – “he revealed himself to Samuel through his word” (v 21.)
Having been saved by faith we are also called to live by faith (Habakkuk 2 v 4.) By faith we are to relationally live in God’s perpetual presence, spending time in his word, because this is the prime way that he has chosen to speak.
Theme: “Have you heard the call?”
Reading: Hebrews 11 v 32 & 1 Samuel 3 v 1 – 21
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Marion Brenchley