1 Samuel 3:1 - 4:1a
3 The boy Samuel served the Lord under the direction of Eli. In those days the Lord didn’t give many messages to his people. He didn’t give them many visions. 2 One night Eli was lying down in his usual place. His eyes were becoming so weak he couldn’t see very well. 3 Samuel was lying down in the Lord’s house. That’s where the ark of God was kept. The lamp of God was still burning. 4 The Lord called out to Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 He ran over to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called out to me.” But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. 6 Again the Lord called out, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli. He said, “Here I am. You called out to me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.” 7 Samuel didn’t know the Lord yet. That’s because the Lord still hadn’t given him a message. 8 The Lord called out for the third time. He said, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli. He said, “Here I am. You called out to me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down. If someone calls out to you again, say, ‘Speak, Lord. I’m listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 The Lord came and stood there. He called out, just as he had done the other times. He said, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel replied, “Speak. I’m listening.” 11 The Lord said to Samuel, “Pay attention! I am about to do something terrible in Israel. It will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will do everything to Eli and his family that I said I would. I will finish what I have started. 13 I told Eli I would punish his family forever. He knew his sons were sinning. He knew they were saying bad things about me. In spite of that, he did not stop them. 14 So I made a promise to the family of Eli. I said, ‘The sins of Eli’s family will never be paid for by bringing sacrifices or offerings.’ ” 15 Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the Lord’s house. He was afraid to tell Eli about the vision he had received. 16 But Eli called out to him. He said, “Samuel, my son.” Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 17 “What did the Lord say to you?” Eli asked. “Don’t hide from me anything he told you. If you do, may God punish you greatly.” 18 So Samuel told him everything. He didn’t hide anything from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord. Let him do what he thinks is best.” 19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him. He made everything Samuel said come true. 20 So all the Israelites recognized that Samuel really was a prophet of the Lord. Everyone from Dan all the way to Beersheba knew it. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh. There he made himself known to Samuel through the messages he gave him. 4 And Samuel gave those messages to all the Israelites.
There are a two major themes in this amazing passage. One is hearing God’s voice and the other is the importance of Fathers and their kids.
It seems Eli wasn’t a very good priest or a good Father. His sons were running wild and doing disgraceful things and “messages from The Lord were very rare and visions were uncommon” v1. The reason behind Samuel’s late night call from God was to inform Samuel that God had had enough of Eli and his sons. What a terrible message to have to convey to Eli.
Here’s the real question …Am I behaving like a good Father and “priest” to my children? Bringing them up to know, love, listen to and obey the God that loves them so much? Am I making raising my family in God my highest priority – higher than my own selfish desires and agendas? How hard do I pray for them? Am I listening to my Father in heaven as intently as I am able, to hear from Him on their behalf? To pass on words of guidance and instruction? Or will someone else receive a vision about me – to pass on a terrible message that I haven’t done the job as well as I should have?
O Lord, thank you for this devastating wake up call – help me not be a Father and Priest like Eli. Please help me listen to You, pray my heart out for my family and raise them to know and follow you. In Jesus name I ask. Amen
Written by Boudy VanNoppen