Growing in Grace
Heavenly Father, open my heart and mind to listen to You as You speak to me from Your Word now.
Read 1 Samuel 3:1-4:1
 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.  One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.  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.  Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.”  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.  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.”  Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.  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.  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.  The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.  At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family-from beginning to end.  For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them.  Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.'”  Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision,  but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.” Samuel answered, “Here I am.”  “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.”  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.”  The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.  And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD.  The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.  And Samuel’s word came to all Israel. Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines at Aphek. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow did the Lord reveal himself to Samuel?
Hannah’s little boy grew in favor with God and people (2:26; see Luke 2:52). The stark contrast between Samuel and Eli’s sons probably made the child all the more popular and before long the people recognized him as a prophet of God (3:20).
It’s interesting that when God wanted to send confirmation of his earlier message to Eli, he chose not the aging high priest but a young boy. Centuries later, when temple leaders complained to Jesus about children making a noise in the temple, he quoted Psalm 8:2: “Don’t you know that the Scriptures say, “Children and infants will sing praises”?” (Matt. 21:16, CEV). How important that our children and grandchildren are brought up to know the Lord at a young age! Sometimes the Lord speaks through their mouths. Perhaps he must because the adults are too preoccupied.
In these early days of Samuel, God spoke rarely to his people. Today people claim to have “a word from the Lord.” How do we distinguish truth from falsehood, or just wishful thinking? 1 Samuel 3:19 gives us the answer.
How do you recognize a true “word from the Lord” as opposed to a falsehood or just a personal opinion?
Lord, I want to be a person that You speak to and who hears and recognizes Your voice and message.
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