I Samuel 3:1-21

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Text: I Samuel 3

THE CALL OF SAMUEL

INTRODUCTION:

There are a number of calls which involve us as believers.

1. There is a call to salvation.

Romans 1:7 - (7) To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. There is a call to live for the Lord.

Romans 12:1-2 - (1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

These first two calls are true of all believers.

3. There is a call to full-time Christian service. While all believers have been called to salvation and while all believers have been called to live for the Lord, not all believers have been called to full-time service.

Naturally the questions arises how a person is able to tell if he has been called into the ministry. In this message as we consider I Samuel 3 , I would like to consider the call of God as it came to Samuel. By examining the call of Samuel we want to see what we can learn about God's call to service. There are other matters to be considered in the call of God to Christian service such as qualification or disqualification, matters which we will not be considering in this message. For example, what if my wife were to begin to think that God had called her to be a pastor? Would this mean that God had called her to be a pastor? No, inasmuch as it is unscriptural for a woman to be a pastor, it would not matter how sincerely she thought that God had called her to be a pastor. God hasn't called her. She does not meet the qualification of being the husband of one wife.

A corollary question is whether it is possible for a believer to miss God's call or to mistake God's call.

Briefly we should comment that God's call is God's problem. If God is going to call you into His service, He is responsible to make this known to you, the believer. He cannot hold you responsible for what He fails to do. Of course, God will not fail in any way. We recognize that, if He calls, He is perfectly capable of making this call known and that He will in fact make it known. If God calls you into His service, nothing else will really satisfy you. So, if you can really be happy and satisfied doing something else, it would not appear that the Lord has called you into His service.

Secondly, we recognize that our response to the call of God is our problem. If He calls, we must respond to this call.

Proverbs 3:5-6 - (5) Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

The trusting, the leaning not unto my own understanding, and the acknowledging the Lord in all my ways are my responsibilities. The directing of my paths is God's stated responsibility.

Psalms 32:8 - I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

I. SAMUEL WAS ALREADY ACTIVE IN THE LORD'S SERVICE - 3:1A

I Samuel 3:1 a - And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. . . .

Similarly, Saul (also known as the Apostle Paul) and Barnabas were actively serving the Lord when they were called.

Acts 13:1-2 - (1) Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. (2) As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

What are we to conclude?

We are to conclude that we are to be serving God right where we are in and through the local church realizing that, if God wants us to make a move, He is able to make it abundantly clear.

II. SAMUEL PROVED FAITHFUL IN LITTLE; HE WAS ENTRUSTED WITH MUCH MORE - 3:1A

I Samuel 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. . . . .

Luke 16:10 - He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

III. IN SAMUEL'S DAY THE WORD OF GOD WAS PRECIOUS (i.e. RARE); WE HAVE AN ADVANTAGE IN THAT WE HAVE THE ENTIRE WORD OF GOD - 3:1B

I Samuel 3:1 b - . . . And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

Precious = rare

There was no open vision means that visions were infrequent, that there were not many visions, or that there was no widespread revelation.

IV. GOD GOT SAMUEL'S ATTENTION - 3:2-3

I Samuel 3:2-3 - (2) 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 [i.e. his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see]; (3) And ere [i.e. before] 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.

V. GOD'S CALL WAS MISUNDERSTOOD AT FIRST - 3:4-5

I Samuel 3:4-5 - (4) That the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. (5) And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.

VI. GOD'S CALL WAS REPEATED A SECOND TIME - 3:6-7

I Samuel 3:6-7 - (6) And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. (7) Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.

VII. GOD MADE THE CALL UNDERSTOOD THE THIRD TIME - 3:8

I Samuel 3:8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.

VIII. GOD MAKES US WILLING TO LISTEN - 3:9

I Samuel 3:9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

IX. GOD CALLED SAMUEL THE FOURTH TIME AND SAMUEL LISTENED - 3:10

I Samuel 3:10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

Don't expect God to speak to you in an audible voice like He did with Samuel. Expect rather that He will work in your heart to will and do of His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13 - For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Romans 12:1-2 - 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We note that -

X. GOD'S CALL WAS PRIVATE AND PERSONAL - 3:10

I Samuel 3:10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

We also note that -

XI. GOD'S CALL WAS SPECIFIC - 3:10

I Samuel 3:10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

God's call may be very general at first, but it will become more and move specific as time goes on.

I started out with the thought of what I wanted to do in my life. The first thing I considered was being a medical doctor. Why is that?, you ask. Because it appeared to me that doctors made a lot of money. After a few days, I changed my mind because doctors had to go to school for so many years; and this didn't appeal to me.

So, I considered becoming a lawyer because lawyers also make a lot of money; and they don't have to go to school for quite so long.

After a few days, I decided that money wasn't the most important thing in life. Life was short in comparison with all of eternity. It occurred to me that I needed to be serving the Lord with my life.

But where? and in what capacity? About the same time I learned of five missionaries who had been martyred by the Auca Indians in Ecuador. I thought God might be directing me to be a Bible translator. For several years I pursued this thought including becoming a Greek major in college. In my sophomore year in college, God redirected my thinking toward the pastoral ministry and, using the language skills He directed me to acquire, made an expository preacher out of me. Never, however, when I graduated from college did I anticipate teaching in a Bible college or writing New Testament commentaries; but God directed me to do so; and now in what may well turn out to be the final ministry in my life, God has enabled me to pastor a wonderful congregation where I can feed this flock to my heart's content. I love my people and I love what I am doing; and I wouldn't change anything except that I would like to be able to reach more children and young people for the Lord.

Finally, we note that -

XII. GOD LEFT SAMUEL WITH NO QUESTION THAT HE HAD BEEN CALLED - 3:10

I Samuel 3:10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

From the time I was 16 or 17 years old, there has never been any doubt in my mind that God has called me into His service; and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

XIII. GOD'S MESSAGE TO SAMUEL - 3:11-14

I Samuel 3:11-14 - (11) And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. (12) In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. (13) For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. (14) And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.

Reading between the lines, we see that -

XIV. GOD DID NOT TELL SAMUEL EVERYTHING AT ONE TIME - 3:11-14

None of us in God's service have ever had a complete picture of where God is going to direct us for the rest of our lives. We know God's will for the past and for the present, but we don't know specifically what's coming in the future.

XV. SAMUEL WAS FAITHFUL IN DELIVERING GOD'S MESSAGE - 3:15-18

I Samuel 3:15-18 - (15) And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision. (16) Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I. (17) And he said, What is the thing that the Lord hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee. (18) And Samuel told him every whit [i.e. everything], and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good.

XVI. GOD PREPARED SAMUEL FOR THE APPOINTED TASK - 3:19

I Samuel 3:19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground [i.e. He took the LORD's words seriously].

XVII. SAMUEL'S CALL WAS RECOGNIZED BY OTHERS - 3:20

I Samuel 3:20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.

XVIII. THE LORD CONTINUED TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO SAMUEL - 3:21

I Samuel 3:21 And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

The LORD will continue to reveal Himself to us as we study the Bible. Through God the Holy Spirit, He will teach us more and more about Himself.

This is one of the reasons it is so important that we make a lifelong study of the Bible and conform every aspect of our lives to its teaching.

CONCLUSION:

So what do we conclude?

We should conclude that we ought to be serving God where we are, that we should be serving Him in and through the local church.

We should further conclude that, if He wants us in full-time Christian service or even to make a move, He is perfectly capable of getting our attention and getting this message across to us.

Stay faithful, live for the Lord, serve the Lord in the local church, and realize that the next move is up to the Lord.

Master the Word of God. You can't get too much Bible.