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Only when Gods people heed God’s call can His presence is possible

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Only when Gods people heed God’s call can His presence is possible.

1 Samuel 3:1-21 (ESV)  After the time of Moses, the greatest of Yahweh’s prophets (Num. 12), there were numerous true prophets of the living God (one who is indicated in the phrase “a man of God,” in 1 Sam. 2:27). But Samuel was the first of a series of named and celebrated prophets formally appointed by God to speak His word to the people of Israel. The first part of ch. 3 records his call to the prophetic ministry.

1 Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word translated young man means “youth.” It was used of David when he slew Goliath and the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. Samuel was called at a time of extremely limited prophetic activity, probably because there were so few faithful Israelites who would listen.

2At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. Eli apparently was quartered in the court of the tabernacle, where cells were built for the priests who served the sanctuary.

3The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. The gold lampstand that was located in the holy place of the tabernacle (Ex. 27:20, 21; Lev. 24:2–4). The fact that it had not yet gone out indicates that Samuel’s call took place just before dawn. The Hebrew text may be rendered, “Samuel was lying down in the temple of Yahweh,” indicating that he slept as an attendant near the ark.

4Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, "Here I am!"5and ran to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call; lie down again." So he went and lay down.6And the Lord called again, "Samuel!" and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again."  7Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.8And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the young man.

      Three times Samuel mistook God’s voice for the voice of Eli. Samuel had been assisting Eli in serving the tabernacle, but he did not yet know the Lord in an intimate and personal way. He had never heard God’s voice. He had never received the word of the Lord by divine revelation.

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.

     Eli finally realized that God was speaking to Samuel and advised the young man what to do.

10And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant hears." the Lord came and stood: These words reflect Samuel’s very real sense of God’s presence.




    This appears to have been a theophany, a visible appearance of God, Speak … hears: Samuel voiced his readiness to receive God’s revelation. “Hears” (Heb. shama˒) means “to hear with interest” and can be translated “obey.” Samuel was listening for God’s word and was determined to obey it. The Hebrew word translated hears also means “to listen” or “to obey.”

    This important OT word appears over 1,100 times. It implies that the listener is giving his or her total attention to the one who is speaking. In some cases, the word connotes more than listening and indicates obedience to what has been said. Abraham was blessed not only for hearing, but for obeying God’s voice (Gen. 22:18, where the word is translated obeyed). In the present passage Samuel is listening for God’s word and is determined to obey it. This young man is an example of the kind of person God delights to use—What kind is that you ask? one who is always ready to receive His Word and follow it.

    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.  12On that day I will fulfill against Eli  all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.

    The judgment would extend from the death of Eli’s sons and continue until the whole prophecy given by the man of God (2:27–36) was fulfilled.

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.

   The message was given through the anonymous “man of God” (2:27–36).

I will punish: No descendants of Eli would serve as priest.

they made themselves vile: These were supposed to have been the esteemed priests of God, but they turned their privilege into disaster.

he did not restrain them: Here we learn of Eli’s personal failure as a father. The word translated restrain occurs only here in the Hebrew Bible. It suggests a rebuke that sets things right.

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."

    Eli and his sons were guilty of presumptuous sin, arrogant sin. For such a sin, there was no atoning sacrifice.

15Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord.

The doors of the house refers to the entrance of the court of the tabernacle. After the people settled in Canaan, the tabernacle was set up permanently at Shiloh, and a walled enclosure with doors replaced the curtains which once surrounded the sanctuary. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.

Vision: The term here applies to the message given to Samuel, since it came through divine revelation.

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."

The phrase God do so to you, and more also is an oath. Eli was saying, “May God do something terrible, and worse, if you don’t tell me the truth.”

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.

     Let Him do: Eli submitted to God and accepted God’s judgment. Even with all his failures as a father, Eli remained faithful to God."

19And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. the Lord was with him: This was the key to Samuel’s success as a prophet.

    He did as Jesus commanded us in Mat. 28, teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. God remained with him.

Let none of his words fall: All the prophecies God delivered through Samuel were fulfilled.

The question from the text ;Are only certain people “called” by God (1 Sam. 3:20)? The issue of “calling” tends to be confusing today. Sometimes people talk about their day-to-day work as if that alone were their callings. “I’m John. I’m a salesman,” or, “I’m Jane. I sell real estate.” Others believe that occupations such as the pastorate or missionary work are true “callings.” Separating ourselves like this falls short what the Bible means by “calling.”

The Reformation leader Martin Luther had a phrase that helps correct insufficient views of “calling.” He said that a person’s entire life was a “task set by God.” In whatever we do—work or play, eating or sleeping, worshiping or relaxing—we have a responsibility to honor God, for He is Lord of all of life. From a biblical point of view, “calling” describes all of the responsibilities of all believers to serve God with all of their lives: (BIBLE)

Every believer is called to belong to God

Deut. 7:6 "For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 

Acts 27:23 (ESV)  Paul, said stranded at sea, “For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship,” 

Every believer is called a child of God.

John 1:12 (ESV)  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 

Every believer is called to accept the work of Christ

Philip. 2:30 Paul to Timothy says Epaphroditus nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

Every believer is called to become like Christ.  Col 3

Every believer is called to serve God and other people. Matthew 18:4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Every believer is called to become a citizen of the new heaven and new earth. Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

20And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord.  21And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

The expression Dan to Beersheba denotes the whole territory of Israel, from its most northern to its most southern point. The Lord appeared again in Shiloh: The idea here is that God was present in the midst of His people, both to receive their worship and to speak through His prophet. Samuel’s call at Shiloh provided the basis for an on-going ministry.

The verse speaks to us today telling us it is only when Gods people heed God’s call His presence is possible. It does a people no good to have one among them who hears God’s call if God’s people do not heed it. 

It is only when Gods people heed God’s call that His presence is possible.

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