1 Samuel 2:12-4:1a Serving The Lord Faithfully

          SERVING THE LORD FAITHFULLY
    1 Samuel 2:12-4:1a        September 14 2008

    Hannah kept her word and delivered Samuel to Shiloh to
serve the Lord. Although Shiloh was the site of the Lord’s
sanctuary, it was a less than ideal place in which to rear a
young boy. Eli presided over Israel’s religious community
there but had turned over many of his daily duties as priest
to his sons , Hophni and Phinehas. they used their positions
for personal gain rather than for service to God.
    The corruption of the priests at Shiloh involved blatant
disregard for God’s laws and godly practices. Rather than
accepting the designated portions of meat from sacrificial
animals. These men took by force whatever cut they desired,
including portions stipulated by law as God’s portion.
    Elkanah and Hannah visited their son Samuel on their
annual Pilgrimage to Shilon. His mother made him a new robe
each year. When she presented it to him, the priest Eli would
bless the couple. more over, the Lord also blessed Hannah; and
she gave birth to five additional children.
    Samuel developed a strong faith in God. The abuses of Eli’s
two sons like wise multiplied . Lacking respect and reverence
for the Lord, they committed gross sexual immorality. The
biblical text is unclear if the two priests used their status to
seduce women completing certain vows or if the women had
regular responsibilities at the place of worship. Either way, Eli
soon learned of their behavior and warned them of divine
retribution.
    Soon thereafter a unnamed prophet appeared at Shiloh and
pronounced judgment on Eli and his house. After reciting the
divine origin of the priesthood , the prophet declared the end of
Eli’s family as priests. He asserted both sons would die violently
on the same day. In their place God would raise up a faithful
priest.
    The prophet’s words were later confirmed by divine
revelation to Samuel. The revelation inaugurated the prophetic
ministry of Samuel.

    1. Be Alert for New Opportunities (1 Sam. 3:1-6)

1Sam. 3:1   The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli.
In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not
many visions. 3:2   One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so
weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.
 3:3   The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying
down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.  3:4 
 Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.”3:5  
And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli
said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay
down. 3:6   Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up
and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” My son,”
Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

    Boy Samuel . (1 Sam. 2:11,18). Samuel is now no longer a
little child (1 Sam.2:21,26). The Jewish historian Josephus
places his age at 12 years; he may have been older. The word
of the Lord was rare . ( Proverbs 29:18; Am 8:11). During the
entire period of the judges, apart from the prophet of (1 SAm.
2:27-36), we are told of only two prophets (Jdg 4:4; 6:8) and of
five revelations (Jdg 2:1-3; 6:11-23; 7:2-11; 10:11-14; 13:3-21).
Possibly 2Ch 15:3 also refers to this period. Visions . (Ge 15:1).
The lamp of God had not yet gone out. The reference is to the
golden lamp stand , which stood opposite the table of the bread of
the Presence (Ex 25:31-40) in the Holy Place. It was still night,
but the early morning hours were approaching when the flame
grew dim or went out  Ex 27:20-21; 30:7-8; Lev 24:3-4; 2Ch 13:11;
Pr 31:18). For the lamp to be permitted to go out before morning
was a violation of the Pentateuchal regulations. Temple .
(1 Sam. 1:9). Eli said . Eli’s failure to recognize at once that the
Lord had called Samuel may be indicative of his own unfamiliarity
with the Lord.

    2. Clarify Divine Instructions (1 Sam. 3:7-10)

1Sam. 3:7   Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of
the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 3:8   The LORD called
Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said,
“Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was
calling the boy. 3:9   So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if
he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So
Samuel went and lay down in his place.  3:10   The LORD came and
stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then
Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

     Did not yet know the lord . In the sense of having a direct
experience of him (see Ex 1:8), such as receiving a revelation from
God .(1 Sam.3:11-14) The Lord’s first revelation to Samuel repeats
the message Eli had already received from the “man of God”
(1 Sam.2:27-36), thus confirming the fact that the youth had indeed
received a revelation from God.

    3. Act Courageously (1 Sam. 3:15-18)

1Sam. 3:15   Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the
doors of the house of the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision,
 3:16   but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.” Samuel
answered, “Here I am.” 3:17   “What was it he said to you?” Eli
asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so
severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.”  3:18   So
Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said,
“He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes.”

Doors of the house of the Lord . ( 1Sam.1:9). The tabernacle itself
did not have doors. This may refer to an enclosure in which it stood.
Vision . See note on (1 Sam. 3: 11-14). May God deal with you , be it
ever so severly . A curse formula (1 Sam.14:44; 20:13; 25:22;
2Sam 3:9,35; 19:13; Ruth 1:17; 1Ki 2:23; 2Ki 6:31), usually directed
against the speaker but here used by Eli against Samuel if he
conceals anything the Lord said (1 SAm.14:24). Let him do what is
good in his eyes. Eli bows before God, accepting the judgment as
righteous ( Ex 34:5-7).

    4. Serve Confidently (1 Sam. 3:19-4:1a)

1Sam. 3:19   The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let
none of his words fall to the ground. 3:20   And all Israel from Dan
to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of
the LORD.  3:21   The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there
he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.
4:1a   And Samuel’s word came to all Israel.

     He let none of his words fall to the ground . Because none of
Samuel’s words proved unreliable, he was recognized as a
prophet who spoke the word of the Lord (1 Sam. 3: 20-21). Dan
to Beersheba . A conventional expression often used in Samuel,
Kings and Chronicles to denote the entire land (Dan was located in
the far north and Beersheba in the far south). But not after the
events narrated in (1 SAm.4-6 ; Jer 7:12-14; 26:6). Samuel’s word
came to all Israel .  Contrast (1 Sam. 3:1). Ebenezer. Means “stone
of help.” The precise location is unknown, but it was probably a
short distance ((1SAm.3: 6) to the east of Aphek —not to be
confused with the location of the stone named Ebenezer that
was later erected by Samuel between Mizpah and Shen
(1 Sam. 7:12) to commemorate a victory over the Philistines. 
A town about 12 miles northeast of the coastal city of Joppa.
Philistine presence this far north suggests an attempt to
spread their control over the Israelite tribes of central
Canaan (1 Sam.3: 9; Jdg 15:11).

        Summary:

        A proper understanding of these two expressions
in 1 Samuel 3:1 begins with a clear knowledge of the role of
Israel’s prophets. During Samuel’s time, the Old Testament
did not yet exist. Hence the people could not read Scripture
to help them know God’s will. But God did not leave them
helpless. He filled the void through the preaching of prophets.
Their message was "the word of the Lord."
        Typically these sermons began with the phrase,
This is what Yahweh says". Consequently they frequently used
the first person pronoun "I," as if God Himself were speaking .
In new and confusing situations, the prophet spoke for God.
Later these sermons were written down and became Scripture
(Jer,36:1-32).
        "Prophetic visions" does not refer to visual images.
Rather, it is a technical term for a word from God. The term
describes the prophet’s perception of divine revelation.
        The method God used is secondary to the prophet’s
comprehension of what God said. On occasion God might use
means such as a dream or an object. On other occasions God
might speak to the prophet in an audible voice. However the Lord
might have revealed His word, He enabled the prophet to
understand God’s message. Thereafter the prophet could stand
before the people and declare whatever God might say.