God Calls Samuel
1 Samuel 3
1The boy Samuel served the LORD under Eli. In those days the LORD did
not speak directly to people very often; there were very few visions.
2Eli’s eyes were so weak he was almost blind. One night he was lying in bed.
3Samuel was also in bed in the LORD’S house, where the Ark of the Agreement
was. God’s lamp was still burning.
4Then the LORD called Samuel, and Samuel answered, “I am here!” 5He ran
to Eli and said, “I am here. You called me.”
But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” So Samuel went back to bed.
6The LORD called again, “Samuel!”
Samuel again went to Eli and said, “I am here. You called me.”
Again Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.”
7Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the LORD had not spoken directly
to him yet.
8The LORD called Samuel for the third time. Samuel got up and went to Eli
and said, “I am here. You called me.”
Then Eli realized the LORD was calling the boy. 9So he told Samuel, “Go to
bed. If he calls you again, say, ‘Speak, LORD. I am your servant and I am
listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in bed.
10The LORD came and stood there and called as he had before, “Samuel,
Samuel said, “Speak, LORD. I am your servant and I am listening.”
11The LORD said to Samuel, “Watch, I am going to do something in Israel
that will shock those who hear about it. 12At that time I will do to Eli and his
family everything I promised, from beginning to end. 13I told Eli I would punish
his family always, because he knew his sons were evil. They acted without
honor, but he did not stop them. 14So I swore to Eli’s family, ‘Your guilt will
never be removed by sacrifice or offering.’”
15Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of
the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli about the vision, 16but Eli called to him,
“Samuel, my son!”
Samuel answered, “I am here.”
17Eli asked, “What did the LORD say to you? Don’t hide it from me. May
God punish you terribly if you hide from me anything he said to you.” 18So
Samuel told Eli everything and did not hide anything from him. Then Eli said,
“He is the LORD. Let him do what he thinks is best.”
19The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up; he did not let any of Samuel’s
messages fail to come true. 20Then all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, knew
Samuel was a true prophet of the LORD. 21And the LORD continued to show
himself at Shiloh, and he showed himself to Samuel through his word.
The Holy Bible, New Century Version
Contempt, arrogance, and disobedience marked Eli's sons. Eli dealt with them poorly himself. These major factors contributed to the bleak spiritual climate during Samuel's childhood. For three centuries no prophet had spoken God's Word until Samuel was chosen.
God honors and wants to use people, such as Samuel, who honor him. But those who flagrantly disobey, such as Eli's sons, God will judge.
It is not only the greatness of the blessings promised by Jesus that encourages us in His service. Their security encourages us too. The young man turned away from Christ because he was unwilling to part with his possessions [see Matthew 19:16-30], but it is an irony of the story that he turned from possessions that were certain to possessions that were at best uncertain. Maybe he lost those possessions before the year was out. Maybe his gold was stolen. His land could have been taken. As in the prodigal's case, his friends could have grown cold and abandoned him.
This point can be made even stronger. God often allows the ungodly to amass great wealth-to their destruction. But if you are one with whom God is dealing and if you put the pursuit of riches (or anything else) before service to Christ, God may take away those riches (and other things) until you turn to Him.
Some years ago Donald Grey Barnhouse was counseling a young woman on the sidewalk in front of Tenth Presbyterian Church following an evening service. She said she was a Christian and that she wanted to follow Christ. But she wanted to be famous too. She wanted to pursue a stage career in New York. "After I have made it in the theater, I'll follow Christ completely;' she said.
Barnhouse took a key out of his pocket and scratched a mark on a postal box standing on the corner. "That is what God will let you do;' he said.”God will let you scratch the surface of success. He will let you get close enough to the top to know what it is, but He will never let you have it, because He will never let one of His children have anything rather than Himself."
Years later he met the girl again, and she confessed that this had indeed been her life story. She had dabbled in the stage. Once her picture had been in a national magazine. But she had never quite made it. She told Barnhouse, "I can't tell you how many times in my discouragement I have closed my eyes and seen you scratching on that postal box with your key. God let me scratch the edges, but He gave me nothing in place of Himself."
How different for those who deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Jesus. Their path begins with denial but ends in fulfillment, and the blessings given cannot be snatched away.
(From Christ's Call to Discipleship by James M. Boice)
What is your attitude when it comes to success? Is reaching the pinnacle your real god? Ask God to show you what has first place in your heart. Pray today, with first place given to God.
Arrogance - Judges 8:1-3; 2 Samuel 17:11-13 2 Chronicles 26:16; Psalm 10:11; Acts 12:23; Ephesians 2:11-13.