The Call of Samuel

Scripture Passage: 
1 Samuel 3:1-21

INTRODUCTION: After the record of the miraculous birth of Samuel in chapter one and the praiseful prayer of Hannah in chapter two (1 Samuel 2:1-10), we are introduced to the spiritual famine of this time – which is still the time of the judges. Eli’s sons make a mockery of the priesthood and the sacrifices by their wickedness. Yet, Eli will do nothing more than scold them. God sends a man of God to tell Eli that his house (or family line of priests) has been rejected by the Lord (1 Samuel 2:27-36). Thus, the scene is set for the call of Samuel. God has found a man through whom He can again work.

  1. GOD’S CALL TO SAMUEL (1 Samuel 3:1-10)
    1. The Time of God’s Call (1 Samuel 3:1-3)
      1. When Samuel ministered to the Lord (1 Samuel 3:1; 1 Samuel 2:11, 18)
        1. The work of the priests and Levites (Leviticus 7:35; Deuteronomy 21:5; 1 Chronicles 15:2; 1 Chronicles 23:13; 2 Chronicles 13:10; 2 Chronicles 29:11; Ezekiel 40:46; Ezekiel 43:19)
        2. The work of New Testament saints (Acts 13:2; cp. Acts 6:4)
      2. When God’s Word was precious (1 Samuel 3:1; Psalm 74:9; Amos 8:11)
      3. NOTE: “no open vision” (1 Samuel 3:1). This was a time of no direct revelation from God. The word vision refers to a word or revelation from God. This is the real meaning of the word in Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” If there is no word from God, the people will perish.
      4. When the eyes of Eli were dim (1 Samuel 3:2; 1 Samuel 4:15); a picture of Eli’s lack of spiritual perception
      5. Before the lamp of God went out (1 Samuel 3:3)
      6. NOTE: The lamp was “to burn always” (Exodus 27:20). However, it still had to be trimmed and lighted each morning and evening (Exodus 30:7-8), which means each lamp did not continuously burn without any interruption. It is obvious that in Eli’s day the lamp was allowed to burn out in the evening (1 Samuel 3:3). Perhaps this is symbolic of the apostasy of the age.
    2. The Patience of God’s Call (1 Samuel 3:4-8)
      1. The first call (1 Samuel 3:4-5; cp. 1 Kings 19:12-13)
      2. The second call (1 Samuel 3:6-7); NOTE: Samuel worshipped God, ministered to Him and received His favor (1 Samuel 1:28; 1 Samuel 2:11, 18, 26; 1 Samuel 3:1). But he did not know Him in a personal sense (1 Samuel 3:7) and he did not know what it was to receive the Word of God by revelation (see 1 Samuel 3:1; Numbers 12:6; Amos 3:7).
      3. The third call (1 Samuel 3:8); Eli finally perceives that it is of the Lord. His slow understanding is characteristic of the spiritual dearth of the day.
    3. The Acceptance of God’s Call (1 Samuel 3:9-10)
      1. Eli’s instructions (1 Samuel 3:9)
      2. Samuel’s obedience (1 Samuel 3:10; cp. Acts 9:6, 8)
  2. GOD’S MESSAGE TO SAMUEL (1 Samuel 3:11-14)
    1. A Fearful Message (1 Samuel 3:11; Habakkuk 1:5)
      1. The Lord is going to do a work in Israel.
      2. The work will cause the ears of every one that heareth to tingle.
    2. A Certain Message (1 Samuel 3:12)
      1. The judgment is against Eli and his house.
      2. The Lord will finish what He starts.
    3. A Message of Judgment (1 Samuel 3:13; 1 Samuel 2:29; Matthew 10:37)
      1. Eli’s house to be judged forever
      2. The cause of the judgment
        1. His sons made themselves vile (1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22).
        2. Eli restrained them not (1 Samuel 2:23-25, 27-29).
        3. NOTE: The judgment was not because of the wickedness of Eli’s sons. It came because Eli would not restrain them. In this, he honored his sons above the Lord (1 Samuel 2:29). They were under his charge and he could have stopped them. Therefore, he was responsible. We should take this as a warning to us as parents, pastors and others in leadership responsibility (Proverbs 29:15; 1 Timothy 3:4-5).
    4. An Eternal Message (1 Samuel 3:14); consider how this judgment plays out in Eli and his descendents.
      1. First generation – Eli (1 Samuel 4:18)
      2. Second generation – Hopni and Phinehas (1 Samuel 4:10-18)
      3. Third generation – Ichabod (1 Samuel 4:19-22)
      4. Fourth generation – Ahimelech, son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub (1 Samuel 14:3; 1 Samuel 22:9-19)
      5. Fifth generation – Abiathar (1 Samuel 22:20-23; 2 Samuel 20:25)
      6. Replacement of the line of Eli (1 Kings 1:5-7; 1 Kings 2:26-27, 35)
  3. SAMUEL’S REPORT TO ELI (1 Samuel 3:15-18)
    1. Samuel’s Response (1 Samuel 3:15)
      1. His faithfulness; he opened the doors of the house of God (Psalm 84:10; Malachi 1:10).
      2. His fear (Jeremiah 1:6-8; Daniel 4:19)
    2. Eli’s Demand (1 Samuel 3:16-17)
      1. Eli calls for Samuel (1 Samuel 3:16).
      2. Eli asks Samuel of the Lord’s message (1 Samuel 3:17).
    3. Samuel’s Obedience (1 Samuel 3:18a) – He “told him every whit, and hid nothing from him.”
    4. Eli’s Acceptance (1 Samuel 3:18b; cp. Isaiah 39:3-8)
      1. Eli acknowledges that it is of the Lord.
      2. Eli submits to the will of the Lord.
  4. GOD’S BLESSING UPON SAMUEL (1 Samuel 3:19-21)
    1. His Development (1 Samuel 3:19)
      1. His growth (cp. 1 Samuel 2:21)
        1. Samson (Judges 13:24)
        2. Jesus (Luke 2:40, 52)
      2. God’s presence
        1. Joseph (Genesis 39:2, 21-23)
        2. David (1 Samuel 18:14)
      3. His words (cp. 1 Samuel 3:21; Isaiah 44:26)
    2. His Reputation (1 Samuel 3:20; Ecclesiastes 7:1)
    3. His Relationship (1 Samuel 3:21; Jeremiah 9:23-24)
      1. The Lord appeared to Samuel.
      2. The Lord revealed Himself to Samuel.
      3. The Lord spoke His word to Samuel.

CONCLUSION: Samuel sought the Lord and was found of Him. Samuel begins this chapter ministering to the Lord (1 Samuel 3:1) but not knowing Him (1 Samuel 3:7). But, by the end of the chapter, God “revealed himself to Samuel” (1 Samuel 3:21). We also need to seek to know the Lord.

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 24:8

He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.