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1 Samuel 3:1-10

Eli and Samuel


Speaker 1: Amen. Thank you for that. Take your Bibles if you have them and turn to the book of First Samuel. First. Samuel, chapter three is where we're going to be tonight. Before I have you stand, I have a strange request to make of you. This may not be the most pastor thing to say, but. We're only like 15 likes away from passing the First Baptist Church of Collinsville. So you haven't like the church page. Please go home and like it. Or if you have your phone, pull it out now. And like the church page, because I'd really like to ask them. Anyways, that was my strange, you know, request. If Brother Tim ends up here in this, I'm sorry, but, you know, whatever, so. So I can share, you know, leave a comment. So those things don't matter. They kind of do help. I mean, it does actually help our our audience to to spread beyond just our group. If you have an Instagram, we have an Instagram go like the Instagram page. The Facebook page is growing. The Instagram page doesn't ever grow. So anyways, we're trying. But those first three, if you're there, go ahead and stand with me if you would. First thing you'll chapter three, verse number one. This is a really good passage of scripture for us to be looking at today, this week. All right. So you Bible says and the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli and the word of the Lord was precious in those days. There was no open vision, and it came to pass. At that time when Eli was laid down in his place and his eyes began to wax dim that he could not see an heir. The lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord where the Ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep. The Lord called Samuel. He answered, Here am I. And he ran onto Eli and said, Here am I. For thou call it to me, is that I called not down again. He went, Lay down. The Lord called yet again. Samuel. Samuel Rose and went to Eli and said, Hear him, I without this call me answered. I called, not my son. Lie down again. Samuel did not yet know the Lord. Neither was the Word of the Lord yet revealed unto Him. The Lord called on Samuel, called Samuel again the third time, and he rose and went to Eli and said, Hear, am I for thou didn't call me. Eli perceive that the Lord had called the child. Therefore, Eli said in the Samuel, Go lie down and it shall be if he call the Thou shalt say, Speak Lord for thy servant, hear it. So Samuel went lay down in his place. The Lord came and stood and called as at other times. Samuel. Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak for thy servant. Hear it. Let's pray, Heavenly Father. Think for this day. Thank you for the folks that are here. Many of them have either worked all day today and then come to church or have been here at VBS and or many of them are tired. I pray that you very richly bless them for being a part of the service here this evening. Be with the children, the nursery, as well as the teens up in the youth group. Lord, I just pray that all throughout the building you would be honored and glorified by everything that is said and done in Jesus name. I pray. Amen. Thank you. May be seated. All right. So first, Samuel three is situated within kind of a transitionary period in Israel's history. It's the very end of the time of the judges. In fact, Samuel will be the last of the judges. And Israel has been in the promised land for about 300 years. So even though they're still kind of a young country, they're there, you know, almost 100 years older than the United States of America. So, I mean, if you think about our history and everything that has transpired in American history and then add on another, you know, 50 years they've been in the land for a long time. But cycle after cycle of rebellion and judgment has put the country, the nation of Israel, behind where you would expect a 300 year old country. Well, should be. I'm sure most of us have probably either worked on a project or undertaken a task or just tried to live life. And it seems like at times we don't make the progress that we think we should be making. Have you ever looked at yourself and say, Why am I not further ahead? I thought by this point I would be here, but instead I find myself back here. It had to have been very frustrating to be an Israelite in these days because there doesn't seem to be a lot of progress, there doesn't seem to be a lot of growth. Things don't seem to be going your way. You've got a man named Eli who is the high priest. And we read a little bit about Eli here. He's towards the very end of his life. He is not not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He's not the brightest crayon in the box. It's just he is. Well, it's tough. He's just he's struggling just to get through each day, much less be the spiritual leader that Israel needs him to be. Foreign enemies have always been a constant threat for Israel from the time that they entered the land to today, the country, the nation of Israel, has always had to be on guard. And so for a country that has to live in a constant state of readiness, the the Israelites at this time have to be disappointed in the consistently poor behavior of their leaders. The current leaders of their nation are failing the people just on every level. They are failing the people. You probably can maybe sympathize with them a little bit as you pay. 460 a gallon for gas in Oklahoma. I mean, this is the haven, right? This is where you come to not have to pay $4 a gallon. And here we are doing it. Think you look at the Israelites and obviously they're frustrated with with Eli, with the rest of the leadership. And the Israelites can't even really look and say, oh, well, at least the next generation seems to be a little bit better, because then you've got Eli's sons. They are a couple of wicked bozos or wicked and they're dumb. I mean, it's just it's not a good combination. So there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. If anything, it only looks like things are going to get worse. But little do you know as the common Israelite. God has a plan for your nation's future. It's something you can't see and don't know about. But God is working out the details behind the scenes. And if you could see what God was doing, you would have much more reason to hope. You would have much more reason to be encouraged in the fact that your God is not sleeping. He is not falling off the job. He is still very active and in control. Even when human leaders seem to be out of control. And if, of course, you listen to what I read, you probably have an idea of what I'm talking about when I say God's got a plan going on. It's this little boy named Samuel. How many people do you think knew who Samuel was? Well, we knew his mom knew who he was. I always love reading that part about how she made him a little coat every year and she brought him his little jacket. And can't you just see Samuel running out to see his mom and she's got the code? She's so excited to see him. His mom knew who she was. I guarantee you, Eli knew who he was. Samuel, from a very young age, was a special child. You remember the story of how he was born. His birth was prophesied to his mother. She had previously been barren. She came to the tabernacle praying for a son. And it was actually Eli who saw her and thought, this lady, she's been hit in the bottle. She's a little inebriated. But no, she was just a woman with a broken heart pouring out her soul to God. And Eli said, You will have the son that you're praying for. Of course. Then his mom gave him back to the Lord, and he began to serve at the Tabernacle from a very young age. And Samuel's life, for all of us, even today, serves as an enduring example of how God can work in a person's life, even from a very young age, even in verse number one of our chapter, if you look back there, you'll see that Samuel is busy doing what he can for the Lord says in the child. Samuel ministered unto the Lord Minister, of course, means to serve. Samuel is serving the Lord, I believe, by serving the High Priest. Eli I mean, what could a boy like Samuel do for the Lord? How old is Samuel at this point? You know, the eight. The 13 is not that old. I is. He's mentioned here as being a child. So what can a child or a young person do for God? Well, you and I should never discount the effect that a child or a young person can have in service to the Lord. There have been revivals that have that have swept across whole countries that started in the children's ministries of local churches. Samuel would have helped, no doubt, to prepare the sacrifices. It would have helped to clean up the tabernacle after the services. The tabernacle, of course, by this time, is over 300 years old. There's a lot of maintenance and upkeep that needs to be done. Samuel could have helped with those things. He would have helped by running errands for Eli. Eli? The Bible tells us here. His eyes began to wax dim that he could not see. No doubt Samuel would be close to Eli's side. And if he needed something, he'd say, Samuel, go get this for me. Samuel would take off and go and do that. He may not have thought that the things he was doing, the things he was doing were super significant. But in the eyes of God, Samuel's behavior in Samuel's service was significant. I'm glad we got a lot of kids in here. I hope you kids are listening, because this this message is just as much for you as it is for anybody else in here today. You may not think that the things you can do for your church or for God matter a whole lot. But they matter a lot. You've been here for VBS. You've watched as kids brought their pennies up here to the front to give to a missionary that they've maybe never even met. Maybe never will even see. And you think, well, that doesn't matter. They're just doing that for the competition or sake can they can beat the girls, which didn't happen today, by the way. But it does matter. It is significant. Our 10th, ten, 11 and 12 year olds are up in the up in the youth room each morning writing letters to our missionaries. And you said, well, that that that doesn't make a big difference. It does make a big difference. Though they may sound small and insignificant in God's eyes, these acts of service were not small, nor were they insignificant to the Lord. It does make you wonder, though, if Samuel was known to God, if Samuel was important to God, how many people walked past Samuel on a regular basis and never even gave him a second thought? You know Matthew either. Do you mind? You want to come up here? Come up here for a second. Come, come, come, come, come. How old are you, Matthew? He's five years old. Six. Okay. When did you turn? Six? Marcelo. So it's new. It's a new thing for him, this six year old thing. All right. So here's here's Matthew and and pretend pretend you're you're like Samuel. Okay? And so here he is. Maybe he is standing at the door of the tabernacle and he's just going to hold the the flap open so that everybody can go in. Can you just hold the flap? There you go. That looks good. Yeah. All right. Good job. Hold that flap. All right. And people are walking in, and they're all excited about being there for the worship time or to offer their sacrifices. And they just, like Rush right past Samuel and don't even think about it. You think that might have happened to him a few times? Yeah. Probably. Or maybe. Maybe. How about this? Oh, let's see. Here. Maybe Samuel is standing there and there's some adults, you know, and they they just, you know, a big meal, Mediterranean food, you know, their breath is feeling a little stinky. So they they pull out some gum and they stick the government in their mouth and they just take the paper and they throw it down. They walk off and little Samuel sees it, and Samuel goes over and he picks up the paper. And he throws it away. And that person's already 50 yards down the road. They have no idea that little Samuel just did that, not because somebody was going to see him, but for the Lord. And Samuel's thinking in his mind, This is God's house, and I want to keep God's house nice. Do you think there might have been some times that people didn't even say thank you to him? Yeah, probably, yeah. But he just kept doing it. Thank you, Matthew. You did a good job. I'll take my trash stink. Give. Give Matthew a hand. As Israel slipped further and further away from the Lord. Samuel was growing closer and closer to the Lord. James, 48, tells us that if we will draw an eye to God, he will draw nigh to us. And though Samuel was a little boy. He was consistently in his life drawing closer and closer to the Lord. And this is exactly what was taking place with James four eight says was happening in Samuel's life. And so even though we might be guilty of belittling a child's devotion, God does not. God does not belittle the spirituality of a child. In fact, God holds up the spirituality of children, the devotion of children, and says, if you adults don't become like this child, then you can't enter into the kingdom of heaven. In this passage, we see how God's plans begin to take shape to use this little boy named Samuel. Things had gotten so bad under Eli. Everything else in the country is falling apart. But in Samuel's little room there, on his little corner of the tent. God was doing something pretty amazing. God at this time had stopped almost all communication with his people. The Bible says that the Word of the Lord was precious in those days. That means it was scarce. It says there was no open vision. The state of affairs spiritually among the people of Israel was in a very sad state. People at this time depended on their spiritual leaders to go to God on their behalf. If you were the average Jew, then you could not enter into the holy of Holies the way that Eli could. It wasn't your fault that Eli and his sons were so corrupt. Of course, you know that that's not the way things work today. We don't rely on any man to go to God on our behalf today. Each and every one of us can get a hold of God whenever we need to speak to him. Which makes it very sad to think that for many people, many people living in our day, they are choosing to live a life where God's word is scarce to them. It doesn't have to be that way. The people of Israel didn't have much of a choice when their spiritual leaders were corrupt and wicked. But you and I do have a choice. Too many times we make God's word scarce to us through our lack of devotion to God. So God had been silent for some time, but that silence was about to be broken. And God is going to speak not to Eli and not to one of his sons. Instead, God is going to call out in the night to Samuel. Bible tells us that Samuel had laid himself down to sleep. Inverse number three when God called Samuel in verse number four and Samuel hears the voice and he says, Here are my. Now. I don't know about you, but I've been woken up by voices before. Usually they're little voices. Daddy. Daddy. What? I have to go to the bathroom. Just go. Why do you have to wake me up for that? Wouldn't you like to know what God's voice sounded like? When Samuel was woken up by God's voice. God's voice calling your name. That had to be pretty amazing. But you know, for Samuel. It sounded a lot like Eli. Which is interesting to me. Samuel heard the voice of God and he thought, You know what? This sounds like a masculine voice. Sounds like a mature voice. This must be Eli calling me from the other room. Samuel's response to this call is also interesting. Verse Summer five. What is the. Third word. And he ran onto Eli. Okay. So Samuel gets woken up. He says, Here am. He looks around. There's nobody in the room. Anything. So it must be Eli. So he yawns and he struts and he gets up and takes a little drink of water, and then he just kind of meanders down the hall. Says, Yo, Eli. Do you want to call me? Did you wake me up? What did you want? That is not the picture we see of Samuel, is it? No. Bible says that Samuel wakes up. He says, Here am I. Nobody's there. And so verse number five, he ran unto Eli and said, Here, mine, for thou call it me. I think this is great. I like it when my kids come running, when I call their names. Don't you appreciate that as well? One thing I don't like is when I say, Hey, so-and-so. And they say from the other room, What? Just come and I'll tell you. Can you not picture Samuel in his pajamas running through the priest's house to find out what Eli wanted? Samuel was ready and willing to help. I believe that's why God called to him. I've always thought that this was perhaps in the middle of the night and that Samuel is waking Eli up each time he goes to him. But the Bible never really says that he was waking him up. It says that Eli was laid down in his place and he could not see. But it doesn't say he was asleep. So maybe all of this is happening early in the evening. Or maybe since Eli is kind of a rotten guy and his kids are always out causing trouble. Maybe Eli is staying up late at night because he's feeling all of the guilt and conviction for the current state of his life. Maybe he's having a hard time sleeping. And maybe Samuel was pretty accustomed to the priest staying up late at night and seeing his light on in his room. But anyways, Samuel goes and he stands before Eli. He presents himself in response to the call. And of course, Eli not having called him. Must have been pretty surprised. I mean, here comes this little boy. I hear things like. See that? Why are you in my room? Well, you called me. No. I didn't call you. And of course, if you've got kids in or you've had kids stay in your house, you're just wondering, okay, is this boy having bad dreams? Is he imagining things or does he just not want to go to bed? You know, he's trying to come up with any excuse to stay up later. Kids would never do that, would they? No, of course not. Eli tells me to go lay back down, go to sleep. Samuel obeys the priest and goes back to bed. Both of them must have thought that was a strange situation. You know, Eli's like this Samuel kid. He's a real great big help. But that was weird. He just came in here a little worried about that kid. Samuel goes back to bed, and he's thinking like I swore Eli called me. I mean, I was dead asleep. Something woke me up. Samuel is back down, he begins to drift off, back to sleep, when all of a sudden he is awakened up, awakened again, and someone is calling his name again. He listened intently. Tried to make connections with whose voice this sounded like. All he could think of was this sounded a lot like Eli. So he ran back as he had before. But again, Eli says it was not me. I didn't call you. Go back to bed. Now, of course, you know the story. You know, that's three times the Lord calls to Samuel. And when the third time comes and Samuel gets up and goes to Eli, I look in a verse memory. You'll notice in verse number eight, it doesn't say that he arose and ran to Eli. It just zeros and went to Eli. I think things are getting a little old here. He goes to Eli, he presents himself, and the Bible tells us that Samuel did not know the voice of the Lord. He hadn't recognized it before. He'd never heard God speak to him before. The Word of God was scarce at this time. All He knows is somebody is calling his name. This time, though. Eli starts to catch on to what is happening. Happening. This is kind of sad because I believe that one time Eli knew what it was like to hear from God. At one time, Eli was acquainted with the sound of God's voice, but it had been a long time. And though Eli would never personally hear from God again, he does realize that God must be calling Samuel. And in the midst of the evil and corruption that had engulfed Eli's house and most of Israel, God was speaking again, this time to a little boy named Samuel. Eli instructs the boy to go back to bed again. First woman says, Go lie down. This shall be if you called me. Thou shalt stay. Speak, Lord for thy servant. Hear it. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Imagine Samuel's heart racing as he goes back to bed. I mean, I was just told and listen, the voice you're hearing is the voice of God. If he calls you again. Present yourself to him. As his, sir. Oh, man. A little boy's definitely not going back to sleep now. I mean, God has been speaking to him. God's been calling out to him in his room. It wasn't Eli. This whole time he thought it was Eli. But now it's God. Is the Lord that is speaking and Samuel goes back to bed. He has to be wondering. Is it really? God, that's calling me. I've already hung up on him three times. Would he really call again? And if I do present myself for service. What is he going to say? What's he going to ask me to do? I mean, 300 years of Jewish history. He's got all the judges to think about. You know, maybe he's thinking about Gideon. If I tell God I'm here for his service, is he going to tell me to lead a whole bunch of men against the enemies of Israel with nothing but a torch and a pitcher in my hands? I mean, is that what he's going to tell me to do? Maybe he's going to tell me to go to go out like a like Ehud with a sword to stab a big guy in the stomach. Maybe he's going to tell me to, you know, to be like Joshua and Caleb in and go and take over some new land. What is God going to tell me to do if I say yes to him? Well, sure enough. First Number ten, the Lord came, stood and called as at other times. And it interesting, the Bible says that God came and stood. Who's there in that room with Samuel? Cause, Samuel. Samuel. Samuel. Answer speak. But I served here. There's a lot packed into that little statement that we don't have the time to get all out, basically saying, Lord, whatever you want me to do, I'm listening and I will do it. God hasn't even told him yet. But he's already saying, Lord, I'm your servant. I will obey whatever you ask of me. This was not new. You realize Samuel was already serving the Lord however he could. Samuel was already doing whatever he could to be a help and a service to God. There may have been small things. God has a way of taking people who are faithful in small things, giving them bigger things. God begins to tell Samuel about his plans to deal with the injustice that everyone was aware of. And though it had seemed like Eli and his sons would never be dealt with, God was going to deal with them. And though it seemed like wickedness and corruption were unstoppable, God was about to put a stop to it. The common people of Israel are just normal. Joe and Sue lived in in Judah. It just seemed like all they had heard for years and years and years was just bad news after bad news after bad news. God reveals to a small boy. Everything's about to change. And of course, the next morning, Eli and Samuel both get up. Eli asks Samuel to tell him all that God had revealed to him. And this is a test of Samuel's faithfulness. Obviously, he must have had some affinity for Eli. If you were to read the passage, you'll see that things are not going to go well for Eli. And so this is a test to see whether or not Samuel will faithfully relay God's message, even if it brings bad news to someone. Samuel tells Eli exactly what God said. I want you to. Look. Dan Iversen, May 18. Very end of the verse. So it is. This is Eli talking to Samuel after learning his his family is going to be cut off from Israel. He says it is the Lord. Let him do what seem at him. Good. Now that might sound. Like a spiritual response. But it's not. When God called Samuel, would Samuel say. Speak Lord for those serving here. There is an obedience, there is an openness. There is a willingness to change. Eli has just received this this message of judgment from God. And his response is basically or it's going to do with the Lord's going to do. There's no remorse. There's no repentance. There's no change of heart. Eli is basically done in that statement. What he's done as a parent just thrown up his hands and said, it's too late. Too far gone. There's nothing else I can do. Sad. This marks the. The relative end. To Eli's ministry. Look, if you will, the first time in 19. So since Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and they let none of His words fall to the ground. In all, Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord, and the Lord appeared again in Shiloh for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the Word of the Lord. See what marked the end for Eli turned out to be just the beginning for Samuel. Samuel continued to grow in the Lord. The people of Israel that had been so beat down by the wickedness of their day began to draw hope and strength from this young prophet named Samuel. I was thinking about this. You know, little boys that serve God don't stay little boys forever. Samuel grew with the Lord. And all of a sudden Israel began to hear about this prophet of God that was living in Shiloh. And the Bible says that God began speaking to his people again by this young man. And it had an effect on the people from the far north all the way to the far south. The whole country was affected by the relationship that Samuel had with God. It all started with a little boy that was willing to serve God and answer him. This was just the next. Lesson in this series that we that we set out on. How appropriate is it for us to be talking about this particular topic during the week of Vacation Bible School? I mean, this, this, this, this, this idea that there is no age limit on serving God. We say that about seniors who never retire from service to God, never retire from your relationship with God. It's a lifelong endeavor. Until the moment that we we leave this earth and our faith becomes sight. Just like there is no age limit on the older end. There's really no age limit on the younger and either. You don't have to wait until you hit a certain mark before you can become useful to the Lord. You'll have to wait until you pass a certain age limit before God says, okay, now I can use you. So you and you and I, we are seemingly inundated with bad news, wickedness and corruption on a daily basis. Perhaps for you, it seems like it just never ends. Every time you turn on the TV, there's more bad news. Every time you get online to check the news, there's more bad news. There seems to be no bright spots anywhere we look. Maybe that's because we're looking in the wrong places. I mean, really, is TV our source of encouragement? Is the Internet, our source of encouragement. Maybe we need to stop looking in the places that the world looks for encouragement and strength and hope. Maybe we need to start looking where God is looking. Somehow, God, in the midst of all the corruption and wickedness and evil of Israel, God found a little boy named Samuel. God knew where to look. Of course, God never didn't have Samuel in his eyes. But when you see what I'm saying, here he is, tucked up in the corner, holding the door open for the tabernacle. Nobody else sees him or knows him, but God knew him. God saw what he was doing. Could it be that there are some young Samuels or maybe whatever the girl version of Samuel would be? Samantha's. Here in this church that we can draw encouragement from. Could there be some Samuels that are showing up every morning, the vacation Bible School, hanging out in the gym, playing games, saying versus playing zonk, you know, like what is zonk? Sounds weird. It is. Not really. Could it be that there's some Samuels here this week? Among the 300 kids that are coming in this building every day. Could we maybe witness God moving in the lives of some young men and women and find encouragement in the fact that God hasn't stopped working? It's real easy, depending on what you're allowing to influence you to think. That God's just done. And a lot of people get there. Good people, church people, preachers get there. They just think that God is done. Just. Just waiting for the Rapture, because God ain't doing anything else around here. God, just take me home because there's nothing good going on around here. It's not true. You're looking at the wrong things. If you want to be encouraged. The Children's Ministry at the Baptist Tabernacle is a great place to start. Go hang out with those kids for a while, they'll encourage you. See. This is one of the best places for people. Even children hear God calling to them. I know people have different stories. This is just my story. You know, I didn't. Experience God's calling into the ministry. At home. I didn't experience it at work. I experienced it in church. It was when I was in church hearing the preaching of God's word that I thought the Holy Spirit calling me to do the same thing. It was when I went to camp. And I was I was separated from some of the the the the influences that had been affecting me specifically some of the, the guys I was working with. I got away from all those things. I didn't have a cell phone. So, you know, whatever. I didn't get away from that. But the preaching. Got a hold of my heart. God spoke to me. For a while, I was unwilling to say, Speak Lord for thy servant here. Instead, it was more like then. And then. Then and then. Then. Wasn't willing. God had to keep calling. We can and should have hope for the future. We can watch God work in the lives of these kids. We can draw strength from the knowledge that he is not silent. He is simply looking for willing servants like Samuel. And the children here. Could be some of the ones that he's going to call next. Maybe you're an adult. Maybe you're a child that's here tonight. Could you be like Samuel this evening? Could you be a willing servant of God? Maybe God hasn't called you, you know, to be like a prophet or to go be a missionary or to be, you know, a Christian schoolteacher or a youth pastor or something like that. Maybe God hasn't called you to do any of those things yet. But would you be willing to hold the door open at the Tabernacle? Would you be willing to do what you can do with where God has placed you now? Will you respond favorably when God calls your name? There are no age limits to serving God. You're five years old. You're eight years old. Whether you're a teenager, whether you're an adult or a senior adult, there are no age limits when it comes to serving the Lord. Samuel is a great example of that for us tonight. Let's break. Their father. Thank you for this day. Thank you, Lord. Encouragement that we can receive from knowing and seeing you work. In the lives of people of all ages. Or I pray that you would continue to use your Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts and to guide us in the direction you'd have us to go. Lord, help there to be more people who would respond and say Yes to your leading God. I pray that you would call children and teenagers out of our church. Lord, to to serve you in a full time capacity. Or to serve you, Lord, wherever you would plant them. God, I pray that you would give us many more Samuel's today. Lord, we love you. We thank you for the way you've blessed us, for the way that you're working a lot to help us to be encouraged tonight. For us in Jesus name, I ask these things. Amen

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