Samuel – A Lifetime Serving God

Lesson 6: “The Voice in the Night” I Samuel 3


“Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy.” I Samuel 3:8


When God stopped speaking

·        Last week we discussed Eli's great failure. He failed to discipline his sons, and he failed to respect the holiness of God's sacrifices (2:29). But under his care, "Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord". What Eli failed to do with his own sons, he made sure he didn't repeat with Samuel.

·        But there are consequences for sin, and letting our love and respect for God grow lukewarm. The first verse of Chapter 3 tells us the word of the Lord was rare in those days. If we push God away, we shouldn't be surprised if God doesn't seem as close as He once was.


Yet God always speaks to those who hear Him

·        Samuel is probably in his early teens now. He is in the tabernacle, within hearing distance of Eli, who is growing old, and Eli's health is not what it once was.

·        Don't overlook the lamp. The Law (Lev. 24:3,4; Exod. 30:7,8) tells us the lamp was to be tended all night. 3:3 tells us the lamp was probably then allowed to go out as morning came. But notice how the dimming light reflects how the light of God's word has also dimmed

·        Samuel hears a voice (3:4). Why doesn't Eli hear? Why doesn't Samuel know who it is?

·        By the third time the voice calls, Eli realizes who it is. It must have been terribly sad moment for Eli to realize God was not speaking to him. But just as Eli's raising of Samuel was honoring of God, Eli handles this moment with a mature grace.


An awesome message

·        Eli tells Samuel to go back, and to answer the Lord (3:9) Now, look at what God's message to Samuel was. It was not 'well done, boy, good job, appreciate your hard work'. The Lord has a serious pronouncement, and reiterates His judgment against the household of Eli.

·        What effect do you think this had on young Eli? What was the message behind the words?


A bittersweet experience

·        Samuel was understandably reluctant to tell Eli what had happened (3:15). But Eli probably already knew what it was about. He wanted to hear it from Samuel, Eli didn’t run from it.

·        Eli took full responsibility for his actions (3:18). Another good lesson for Samuel.

·        God's discipline is to be taken seriously (Psalms 119:120)

·        The torch has been passed. From now on, Samuel is God's man. And all Israel knows it (3:20)

4 Principles


#1) Though we "reap what we sow", God has unique ways to give us a second chance

#2) We must never allow ourselves to blame God or anyone else for our failures

#3) We must never fail to accept the fact that we may need to allow someone else to do what we can't

#4) God wants to speak clearly and regularly to all of us through the Holy Scriptures


For next week, read I Samuel 4