Article for January 14, 2024
1 Samuel 3:1 1The young man Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.
A time for silence, a span of time where worship started to fade away. So, the world forgets who God is and what He has done, so the world erodes. We have always lived between one disaster and the next. When disaster hits, we run to God, when we have escaped the disaster, we pat ourselves on the back. We want life to be perfect on earth by our own doing, but life is not perfect despite our misguided efforts. Life in the kingdom of God is perfect despite mankind. Because God is the one who is in control.
The word of the Lord at this time was rare, we see this very course of history repeated in our time. The word of our Lord is even becoming rare in our churches who claim to believe in God. Some of our churches have become a Jesus cult not teaching Jesus, but teaching worldly morals that go against the word of God.
The world does not provide us with a true prophet. However, we have a true prophet among us. This prophet is not a person of this world it is in fact the complete word of God we call the Holy Bible. This is the only prophet we need for it tells us the truth though many don’t want to hear the truth, the truth is what sets us free.
The Hebrew nation at this time, is moving away from the judges selected by God to prophets selected and sent by God. Eli appears to be the last Judge, and Samuel appears to be the first prophet depending on how you understand the theology of the time. Some might even say that Samuel was the last judge and the first prophet both, as he takes over in the place of Eli. Either way, Samuel is going to be called by God to speak for God.
1 Samuel 3:8b–9” 8bThen Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the young man. 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So, Samuel went and lay down in his place.
God calls Samuel three times, but it is not Samuel who realizes that it is God who is calling. Rather the unfavorable Eli realizes that God is calling Samuel. Eli tells Samuel again to go lay down and listen if God should call you one more time. Eli then coaches Samuel by giving a means to greet God and let God know that he is listening to God speak.
As a pastor is bound by God’s message, so to was Samuel. However, like most of us, it takes a few times for us to realize it is God speaking to us. Just listen, be calm, and test what is given to you with the word that God has given us all. But remember, the message that God gives us to pass on is not always the message others might want to hear.
1 Samuel 3:10–11 10And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 11Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.
This time the Lord came and stood calling Samuel for the fourth time. Samuel speaks the words Eli coached him to say and the Lord gives an account of the actions that will soon take place. Eli who had two sons (Hophni and Phinehas) of ill repute was going to get what he earned by letting God’s word fade from the people and for not reprimanding his two sons.
Eli, who is in his nineties, grew dim in his eyes as well as his faith and spirit. Eli also did not try and stop Hophni and Phinehas from blaspheming God to all the people of Israel. Samuel listened to God as God told Samuel what God was going to do to Eli and His sons.
1 Samuel 3:12–14 12On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13And I declare to 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 atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
In the book of Exodus God gives us a warning, for those who hate Him, they, and their descendants to the third and fourth generations will be punished. This is not an idle warning. God says He will do this, and He most certainly will and has.
Notice that Eli cannot atone for his iniquity, his sins are grievous, there is no forgiveness for hating God. Hating God is hating the Holy Spirit and therefore blaspheming God is blaspheming the Holy Spirit. I think there is a difference between hate and ignorance, for most who worry about blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Most of us suffer from ignorance and that is something that can be changed, overcome, and can be atoned for.
1 Samuel 3:16–18 16But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17And Eli 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. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.”
Be careful what you ask for, or don’t ask if you do not want to know the answer. But if you ask, like Eli, know that what God says and what God does is good. So be ready to receive the truth of God’s word whether you want to hear it or not. Samuel has to tell Eli what God says and he can’t sweeten the words or butter them to ease Eli’s pains.
What God says is what we should speak. No matter who we are speaking to wants to hear it or not, we should always speak God’s word in truth. However, do not speak in a self-righteous matter. We must approach each other in humbleness and kindness to help one another see the hope of repentance, forgiveness, and how Jesus leads us to salvation for all sinners. We are all sinners, we all need to repent, we all need forgiveness, and we all need Jesus Christ’s offer of salvation.
We know that we are not good enough to receive salvation without being clothed in the forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus died for our sins and for the sins of those whom you share the good news with. It is the blood of Jesus that gives us the promise of forgiveness and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead that gives us sure hope of everlasting life. We can believe this and live. Amen.
Written by Pastor Curtis A. May.