Lesson Info:

Lesson 1 Summer Quarter
Lesson Text: 1 Samuel 3:1-9, 19-20; 7:3-5, 10, 12
Golden Text: 1 Samuel 3:10

Listen to Today’s Lesson


Our lesson this week is the first lesson of the summer quarter.  This new quarter of lessons is titled “Servants and Healers” with the opening unit of lessons of the month titled, “Faithful to Serve”.  I believe this is a good topic to look at considering we ended the spring quarter by taking a look at being ambassadors for Christ.  We are going to be taking a look at the call of Samuel in our lesson this week.  This week’s lesson is being taught from 1 Samuel 3:1-9, 19-20; 7:3-5, 10, 12.

Samuel’s Call

Our lesson this week opens with Samuel ministering to the Lord before Eli (v.1).  The opening verse of this chapter calls Samuel a boy (child in the KJV) which somewhat hints at the age of Samuel though a specific age is not mentioned.  It is suggested that Samuel was likely as young as 12 years old considering that he ministered to the Lord before Eli, the priest (1 Sam. 1:9).  Little children would simply be incapable of taking such a task.

We are also told in the opening verse of this chapter that the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.  Samuel was born in a strange period of time for Israel.

Prior to Samuel, Israel had been led by both Moses and Joshua, who we would certainly consider to have been prophets for the Lord.  After Joshua, Israel went through the time period where the Lord raised up Judges like Deborah, Gideon, and Samson that would be viewed as leaders for a very brief period of time.  After the time of the judges, just prior to the time of the kings, is where we find Samuel being born.  At this point in time, there was no widespread revelation, which would seem to suggest that there was some revelation being made known but not significantly widespread.

A young man called

In those days when Samuel was ministering to the Lord, we are told that Eli was growing older and was beginning to lose his sight (v.2).  Early one morning, before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle, while Samuel was sleeping, the Lord called out to him (vss.3-4).

The call woke Samuel up and he immediately responded, “Here I am!”  However, Samuel did not realize that it was God who had called for him.  Scripture tells us that Samuel rushed to Eli and again said, “Here I am, you called me (v.5).”  Now, this happened again two more times as the Lord called out to Samuel and he would respond with the belief that it was Eli calling for him (vss.6-8).

What was Samuel hearing?  Well, he was definitely hearing something – God’s voice – but he was unable to recognize that it was the Lord’s voice that was calling out to him.  So, this brings up a very interesting question:  how do we know when the Lord is calling out to us?

Recognizing the voice of God

For Samuel, after the third time, Eli recognized that it was God who must have been calling out to Samuel and he helped Samuel recognize that it was God (v.9).  Samuel, we are told in this passage of scripture, was young and though he ministered to the Lord before Eli, Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him (v.7).

I preached a sermon a while ago – When God Speaks – that focused on the Lord reaching out to us today.  God still to this day reaches out to mankind, but sadly, only a few of us are able to recognize His voice.  We recognize the voice of the Lord today through the inner dwelling of the Holy Spirit.  When we are guided by the Spirit, our heart (that is our soul) is able to perceive and recognize when the Lord is communicating with us.

Now, there are times when we are able to recognize that the Lord is communicating with us.  These are times when something may be blinding and heeding us from recognizing that God is talking to us.  I feel like a lot of these times, for the believer, are when we are distressed and unfocused spiritually.  It is in these moments of time where the Lord will send help our way to assist us in being able to recognize that God is reaching out to us, just as Eli did for Samuel.

Faithful servant of God

At this point in our lesson, we skip past the point where the Lord and Samuel speak.  However, if you read those verses, you will actually see that it was urgent that Samuel spoke with God (1 Sam. 3:10).  God said to Samuel, “Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle (1 Sam. 3:11).”  So, Samuel was being called on to be a prophet because it was time for some widespread revelation from the Lord to now take place in Israel.

We are told that Samuel grew and that the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground (v.19).  This growth, I certainly believe speaks to Samuel’s physical growth and growing older as well growing older in age.  I also want to point out that Samuel’s growth was also happening spiritually as the Lord was using him.  As a child of God, we ought to always be growing, never being stagnant, in our faith in the Lord.

Samuel’s name also grew throughout the land, and we are told that from Dan to Beersheba, the people knew that Samuel was a prophet of the Lord (v.20).  Dan was one of the most points of the land of Israel and Beersheba was one of the most southern points of Israel – Samuel was well known!  You personally may not be known from the east coast to the west coast, but I do believe that those who minister the good news are well known at least to those that are around them.

The message to Israel

Again, the Lord had called Samuel for the purpose of making his message known throughout the land.  Samuel was essentially the first prophet after Moses and Joshua, and you will find that all of the messages of the prophets were the same.

Moses and Joshua’s message to Israel was to be faithful and follow the Lord.  When we skip to 1 Samuel 7, we will see that Samuel essentially spoke the same words to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines (v.3).”

So, the message from Samuel was the same – be faithful.  Moses had to call on the people to repent several times as they journeyed through the wilderness.  Joshua, in the last words recorded in scripture from him, called on the people to choose whether they would serve idols or the Lord (Josh 24:14-15).

After going a period of time without a widespread revelation from the Lord, we see that God, through Samuel, was still calling on the people to repent and be faithful to Him!  I will tell you something that is not a secret today:  God is still calling on people to repent and believe in Him.  Why?  Because God desires for all to come to Him rather than suffer the guilty punishment of being a convicted sinner.

When we are obedient

After hearing this message, we are told that the children of Israel put away their idols and served the Lord (v.4).

Now, at that point in time, the Philistines were a major enemy for Israel, as we saw mentioned in Samuel’s message.  Again, this was during the days before Saul’s reign and David’s reign.  In Samuel’s message, there was a promise of deliverance from their enemies should Israel be faithful.  Again, this same message is echoed today though our enemies aren’t the Philistines; God promises that we will overcome all that stands against us should we remain faithful and believe in Him (John 16:33).

In serving the Lord, Samuel and all of Israel came together and prayed to the Lord on their behalf (v.5); this was a prayer for deliverance.  In the closing verses of our lesson, we will see that God moved on the behalf of Israel against their great enemy, the Philistines.  As the Philistines drew near Mizpah to do battle against Israel, we are told that the Lord confused them with loud thunder and they, the Philistines, were overcome.

Israel ended up winning the battle, because of God, and chased the Philistines off a great distance.  After this victory, Samuel took a stone and set it up and called its name Ebenezer which meant, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (v.12).  Samuel accepting the call of God was a great benefit to Israel, especially all of those who would choose to listen to the servant of God.

God calls on us to testify of Him and to make his message known to all people (Matt. 28:19-20).  When we accept God’s call, it is not necessarily to our benefit; though I do believe we will grow and certainly prosper.  However, the greatest benefit is to all of those who hear the word of God; that is to not just listen to the word but to fully receive the word.


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