Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:1-4:1a
I. Sometimes God speaks rarely.
A. We see God spoke rarely in Israel when Samuel was a boy in 1 Sam. 3:1. But we move in this chapter from a nation where the word of God was rare to a place where the word of God reached all Israel in 1 Sam. 4:1. The high priest Eli could not see physically (vs. 2). But he could not see spiritually either. Eli was blind to God and His ways. Israel had a terrible spiritual leader in Eli. Eli had brought darkness to the nation. But at that moment God was raising up the boy Samuel who had a heart for God to lead His people. The light was not out (vs. 3).
B. Why was God’s Word so rare when Samuel was a boy? The absence of the Word of God was a sign of the judgment of God. God had withdrawn the light of His word because the people of Israel preferred to walk in darkness and disobedience to God. Amos 8:11: “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” The absence of God’s word would signal the loss of God’s presence.
II. God speaks through prophets.
A. Over and over again in vs. 4-10 God speaks to Samuel in an audible voice. The word call or called is used 11 times in these verses. Samuel hears someone calling him. He assumes it is Eli. But it turns out that it is God calling. At this time God was calling Samuel to be His prophet. Samuel would be the first prophet to Israel since Moses. The first word God wanted Samuel to speak was a hard word. Samuel was just a boy at this time (vs. 1). God wanted Samuel to speak a word of judgment to someone Samuel loved very much: Eli (vs. 12).
B. There was not going to be an opportunity for repentance or forgiveness for Eli and his family. God’s judgment was unavoidable. Eli’s sons were going to die. Are there unforgiveable sins for God? The answer that the Bible provides is that there is only one sin that is unforgiveable. If you reject the sacrifice that God has offered for your sins, there will be no forgiveness of your sins. If you reject the sacrifice of Jesus today, your sins will be unforgiven by God. Eli and his sons had sins that could not be atoned for (vs. 14) because they had taken the sacrifices and offerings that God had provided for them at the tabernacle to be light and trivial things.
III. God speaks through His Word.
A. After Samuel spoke a word of judgment to Eli, Samuel then spoke God’s Word to all Israel. “And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground (vs. 19).” As a prophet, Samuel’s words to Israel were God’s words. They had the authority and the truth of God behind them. So, everything Samuel said from God came true. In this season of national crisis, Israel finally had a leader with a heart for God. God was going to be worshiped properly by this leader Samuel and by the people who listened to his words. Jesus brings us the word of God today. Hebrews 1:1-2: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
Listen to the Word of God and pass it on to others. Sources:
The book of 1 Samuel
Commentaries on 1 Samuel by Robert Bergen, Dale Davis, Tim Chester, and Ronald Youngblood