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Serving The Lord Faithfully     1 Sam. 3:1-10, 15-4:1a     Sept. 14, 2008


       I used to read this story about God’s call to Samuel to my daughters when they were little girls. It was my oldest daughter’s favorite Bible story. A few years later I heard a sermon at the convention that clarified why the “word of the Lord was rare.” It was rare because of negligence, indifference and wrong priorities. God said to Eli you, “honor your sons more than Me,” (1 Sam. 2:29 NKJV). He was not Serving The Lord Faithfully.


1.   Serving The Lord Faithfully And . . Consciously. 3:1-8

       A.   Consciously Serving Includes . . Recognizing A Call From God. 3:1-4

            1. The boy Samuel served the Lord in Eli's presence. In those days the word of the Lord was rare and prophetic visions were not widespread. 2 One day Eli, whose eyesight was failing, was lying in his room.  3 Before the lamp of God had gone out, Samuel was lying down in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was located. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel, and he answered, "Here I am."


       B.   Consciously Serving Includes . . Responding To A Call From God. 3:5-6

            5 He ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." "I didn't call," Eli replied. "Go and lie
    down." So he went and lay down. 6 Once again the Lord called, "Samuel!" Samuel got up, went to
     Eli, and said, "Here I am; you called me." "I didn't call, my son," he replied. "Go and lie down."


       C.   Consciously Serving Includes . . Revealing A Call From God. 3:7-8

            7 Now Samuel had not yet experienced the Lord, because the word of the Lord had not ye

    been revealed to him. 8 Once again, for the third time, the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to
     Eli, and said, "Here I am; you called me." Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the boy.

       Samuel did not recognize God’s call because; as the text says, “he had not experienced the Lord.”
How old do you need to be to experience the Lord? I would say it differs from child to child. When a child hears a call he must respond positively. Samuel’s response indicates a tender and obedient heart and Eli responded kindly. Finally Eli understood God’s call to Samuel and told him to answer accordingly. A persistent voice may very well be a call from the Lord. I would rather respond believing God was calling and be wrong than miss an opportunity to serve the Lord.


2.   Serving The Lord Faithfully With . . Clarification. 3:9-10

       A.   Clarification In How To . . Respond To The Call. 3:9

9 He told Samuel, "Go and lie down. If He calls you, say, 'Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.


       B.   Clarification In Obedience To . . Reconcile the Call. 3:10

10 The Lord came, stood there, and called as before, "Samuel, Samuel!" Samuel responded, "Speak, for Your servant is listening."

       Whether we regularly hear from God or rarely hear we need to respond if we sense He is calling. If we respond like Eli told Samuel we will express our desire and willingness to hear the voice of the Lord. It is interesting to note the text tells us God stood near Samuel and called. This erases any suggestion of it being a dream. This was an actual experience for a novice who was to become a great man of God. The reconciliation and clarification of God’s call came as Samuel in obedience said, “speak for your servant is listening.” Some rarely hear God because they are not listening, or not close enough to hear.


3.   Serving The Lord Faithfully With . . Courage. 3:15-18

       A.   Courage To . . Communicate The Lord’s Message. 3:15-17

15 Samuel lay down until the morning; then he opened the doors of the Lord's house. He was

        afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, "Samuel, my son." "Here I am,"

        answered Samuel. 17 "What was the message He gave you?" Eli asked. "Don't hide it from me.
         May God punish you and do so severely if you hide anything from me that He told you."


       B.   Courage To . . Confirm The Lord’s Message. 3:18

18 So Samuel told him everything and did not hide anything from him. Eli responded, "He is the Lord. He will do what He thinks is good."

       Because the message called for judgment against Eli and his disobedient sons Samuel’s fear at first caused him to think he would not tell Eli. He wanted to hear, and threatened Samuel. The courage to communicate came to Samuel and he told all. This paints an unusual picture as the old man of God had to asked a young boy what God said. It confirmed how God’s hand now rested upon Samuel. Eli was not, Serving The Lord Faithfully and God moved away from him and placed His anointing upon Samuel. Eli confirmed by saying, “He is the Lord, He will do what He thinks is good,”


4.   Serving The Lord Faithfully With . . Confidence. 3:19-4:1a

       A.   Confident In The . . Presence Given By The Lord. 3:19-20

                19 Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let nothing he said prove false.  20 All Israel
         from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a confirmed prophet of the Lord.


       B.   Confident In The . . Prominence Given By The Lord. 3:21-4:1a

            21 The Lord continued to appear in Shiloh, because there He revealed Himself to Samuel by   

        His word.    4 And Samuel's words came to all Israel.

       If you believe God is present and see the confirmation of that belief it will produced confidence.         Then if you know God causes your words to prosper and the people acknowledge the words coming
     from the Lord, confidence will increase. This young prophet became prominent as the spokesman
     for God all over Israel. The people recognized he was Serving The Lord Faithfully . Amen? Amen!