1The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. 6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8 A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’” 15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.” Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 17 “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.” 19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word. (1 Samuel 3)
Theme: If not You, then Who?
We will conclude our Group Bible Study today. So far, we have dealt with the Call and the Confusion. Today we address Confirmation & Challenge.
From the passage above we see that with Eli’s help, Samuel’s confusion is ultimately eliminated and God speaks to him directly. In verses 11 – 21, God confirms His grand mission and it doesn’t look good for Eli and his household. Samuel gets confirmation that he will be a key actor in God’s mission and very early in his ministry he faces a major challenge where Eli is concerned. Samuel demonstrates courage and delivers a difficult message to his mentor.
- Considering the work Samuel is being called to do, why is it important that he met this early challenge?
- What lessons do we observe regarding obedience and God’s preparation of his servants?
Thanks to everyone who has been commenting! Your comments make a big difference.
February 19, 2021 at 4:29 am
All God wants is our “Yes.” God speaks to us in different ways about our calling and purpose. The choice is up to us to listen and move forward.
May God Continue to Bless and keep you all. 🙏
February 19, 2021 at 6:32 am
I find this question difficult but I agree with Lauren.
God just wants us to obey his Commandments.
February 19, 2021 at 7:39 am
I’m not sure why Samuel met this challenge early. Maybe it’s to teach us a lesson so many years later that when God gives us a job to do, even if it is a very difficult one, or one we may not want to do, we should do what Samuel did and say, “Yes, Lord”, and just do it.
Samuel’s obedience should be taken as a guide to us.
February 19, 2021 at 10:11 am
Since Samuel at this stage of his life did not really know the Lord, I think that this was a test the Lord was giving him to see if he would be obedient and not be reticent in telling Eli what the Lord had told him about his sons and his household. The Lord wants us to stand firm in our faith and be obedient to HIM.
February 19, 2021 at 11:57 am
To me there is a lot going on here. God is starting to reveal Himself to Samuel, who we are told did not know the Lord yet, nor had His word been revealed to Him. Shame on Eli no? So God speaks directly to Samuel, and shares with him some choice words for Eli. Yet scripture does not make clear (at least explicitly) that God told Samuel to deliver the message to Eli. Samuel we are told was afraid to, but does, in response to Eli’s request (or demand really). Samuel is obedient to Eli, his earthly master, that much we know. And with that begins Samuel’s journey of getting to know the Lord, who has now managed to spur Eli on to sharing about Him (verse 18).
I see God reaching Samuel where He is, where he has been learning about ritual but apparently not about the Who and the why behind all of it, despite being the High Priest’s personal assistant! I see God kick-starting personal revelation of Himself in Samuel’s life. And I see Samuel responding in childlike innocence, and learning that God is absolutely sovereign, and trustworthy. God is at work!
February 19, 2021 at 3:37 pm
I think meeting the early challenge was important to learn to have courage to deliver God’s message even when harsh. Samuel knew Eli very well and Eli meant him well and was his mentor. So that may have helped Samuel in his ” baby steps” to developing courage.
Possible lessons to learn are even when we don’t understand a situation, even when what we have to do seems difficult, we need to trust and obey God, to deliver His message exactly as we are told. To be God’s servant.
February 20, 2021 at 2:21 am
It is important for Samuel to be challenged for him to understand that he plays a key role in God’s mission.
The lesson we observe regarding obedience while serving God is that we serve or we do things not to please people or ourselves but to please God and give Him all the glory.
February 20, 2021 at 3:45 am
As his prophetic ministry unfolded and developed in later years, Samuel would sometimes have to deliver unpleasant/harsh messages from God to the nation of Israel so this was his rough initiation.
The lessons re: obedience are that it may not be easy to avail ourselves to do God’s will when we feel afraid/unworthy/incompetent but we can; God will empower us to boldly confront situations even if we are apprehensive; the people we sometimes have to challenge or “confront” might be those who are closest to us, before we can be effective to the wider community or even a nation, and finally, God reveals Himself to us through His Word to equip us.
February 20, 2021 at 8:41 am
I am very inclined to respond to God like Samuel responded and subsequently acted out. It is unwise to clearly hear the voice of God and then choose to not listen to its directives. However, there are times when we do not know if a prompting is from God, oneself or family who care deeply for us.