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I Samuel Chapter 03 

Memory verses for this week:  Ezek 44:28  And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession. 

Introduction:  We continue our study on Samuel this week.   In last week’s lesson, we studied about the Hannah’s prophetic prayer, and how God continued to bless her with more children.    We also studied about the consequences Eli faced due to not disciplining his two evil sons.

I.                     Samuel Becomes Prophet and Priest

1 Sam 3:1  And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. 

The chapter opens with an interesting statement.   “And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli”.   No doubt Eli had trained this young man and he gave him direction on how to minister.    Hannah gives a good example to all of us with children.     We should all bring up our children to become active in God’s work.   As soon as possible, after a child is born, we should have them in the house of the Lord.    You’ll never go wrong in training your children in the ways of the Lord.   Hannah gave up her child to the Lord, but look how great a way this young man was used by God, and how God blessed Hannah with other children.   Anything we give up for the Lord will come back to us many times over.   Jesus told his disciples that they would never lose in serving God. 

Mark 10:29  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,

Mark 10:30  But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

Mark 10:31  But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.        

Verse one also stated that “The Word of the Lord was precious in those days.”   In my early life, I remember the reverence that almost all men had for the bible and the Words of God.   How I wish those days were with us now.   Few show any respect for what “Thus saith the Lord” any more.  Verse one further states that there was no open vision in Samuel’s time.  This means that the Lord revealed his word to no one during this time.   That was probably due to the wickedness of people in general.

1 Sam 3:2  And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;

1 Sam 3:3  And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; 

From verses 2 and 3, it appears that Eli and Samuel slept in the first room of the tabernacle.    Perhaps Eli’s eyesight was beginning to diminish at this time.   In verse 4, we see the first call of the Lord to Samuel.

1 Sam 3:4  That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.

1 Sam 3:5  And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.

Samuel was unsure of the voice, and believes that Eli has called him.  He come to Eli and asks him what he wants.   Eli tells him that he has not called him at all, but to go and lie down.   The Lord had called in an audible voice to Samuel, but Samuel did not realize it was the Lord who had called unto him. 

1 Sam 3:6  And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.

1 Sam 3:7  Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.

 The Lord calls unto Samuel a second time.   Once again he thinks it is Eli that has called him, and he goes back to him and says “Here am I”.  Eli again tells the young man that he had not called, and instructs him to go back to bed and to lie down.    Verse 7 tells us two significant things   One is that Samuel needed to be saved.  It says ‘Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord.”  Now Samuel had been trained in the ways of the Lord and he knew him from an intellectual way.   But knowing who God is does not make a person a Christian.   He had no spiritual knowledge of God.   We are told in the New Testament that even the demons know who Jesus is, but they sure don’t know him spiritually.


Luke 4:40  Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.

Luke 4:41  And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.


Mat 8:28  And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

Mat 8:29  And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Mat 8:30  And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.

Mat 8:31  So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.


The second thing we learn from verse 7 is that the Word of the Lord was not yet revealed unto Samuel.  This apparently means that he had not yet been called unto the prophetic ministry.   Until we know Christ as Lord and Savior, we will not be called into the ministry of any kind of God.   Salvation is first in a person’s life before service unto the Lord.

1 Sam 3:8  And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. 

For the third time, the Lord calls unto Samuel.  As before he comes to Eli, and says “Here am I”.   Finally, Eli perceives that it is the Lord calling this young man.   I think it is important to realize that it is always the Lord who first seeks us out when it comes to salvation.   We do not in ourselves have the ability to seek after God. 

Rom 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Rom 3:11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Rom 3:12  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.


II.  Eli Gives Instruction to Samuel

1 Sam 3:9  Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

1 Sam 3:10  And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

Eli gives Samuel simple instructions on how to deal with the call.   He says that if he heard the voice again, he was to say “Speak, Lord, for they servant heareth.”   This was good advice for the young man.   We can learn several things from these passages.   First, the Lord does convict and save many young people at a tender age.   I was 13 when the Lord dealt with me, and thankfully I surrendered to His call and asked Christ to come into my heart.   Another thing we learn is that older Christians can help to guide the young people in how to accept the call of the Lord.   The Lord has an open call to all men, women, boys, and girls in regards to salvation.  

Rev 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

2 Pet 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Rom 5:18  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Rom 5:19  For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

The Lord calls both young and old unto His service.  There is something for all of us to do in the work of the Lord. 

1 Sam 3:11  And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.

1 Sam 3:12  In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.

1 Sam 3:13  For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

1 Sam 3:14  And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.

The gives Samuel his first message.  Unfortunately, this first message is a message of judgment to the house of Eli.   Not all messages are happy or joyful messages, but all messages from God are true.   In this message, Samuel is go and tell Eli what His intentions are for he and his household.   Because of the vile iniquities of Eli’s sons, Eli’s house has come under the judgment of God.   If Eli had restrained his sons and corrected them, no doubt the Lord would have blessed him and helped to correct them.  But because he let things go on, the wickedness had to be judged.  Eli’s house would not be purged with sacrifices nor offerings forever. 

1 Sam 3:15  And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to show Eli the vision.

This was not a happy message, and the young man Samuel feared to show Eli the vision.  I am sure many pastors do not look forward to preaching some of the messages God lays on their hearts.   They love their flock and want the best for them, and some messages are hard.  But if we really love our people, we will preach the whole counsel of the Lord.   It appears from verse 15 that one of Samuel’s jobs was to open the doors to the house of the Lord early in the morning.  


III.  Eli Calls for Samuel to Reveal What God Had Spoken

1 Sam 3:16  Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.

1 Sam 3:17  And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.

Eli is eager to hear what the Lord has told the young man.   He tells him to not hold back anything that God had told unto him.   While I doubt Eli really wanted to hear what he was about to receive, it is a wise thing for each of us to desire to hear the ‘full and complete Word of the Lord.’   The words may sting when we are being reprimanded, but that is still the best for us.   Samuel did not hold back the words, but spake the truth unto Eli.

1 Sam 3:18  And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.

1 Sam 3:19  And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.

Samuel tells Eli everything that the Lord had spoken unto him.

J. Vernon McGee said this about Samuel’s message to Eli.

When God says something, it is the same as done. In the Old Testament we have what has been called “prophetic tense.” It is a past tense, but it speaks of the future. God speaks of things that have not yet happened as if they had already taken place. When God says something is going to happen, it is going to happen. God speaks to Samuel in these verses and tells him that He is about to move against the house of Eli.


Now this boy Samuel is loyal to Eli to the very end. He did not attempt to undermine him. He went to Eli and told him everything God had said to him. I want to say that if you are in God’s service today and serving under some other man, be loyal to him. Don’t tell me that you can be loyal to Christ and be disloyal to God’s man who is above you. Oh, how loyalty is needed today!  [i] 

Paul declared unto the elders at Ephesus that he had not failed to declare the full counsel of the Lord unto them.

Acts 20:17  And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

Acts 20:18  And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,

Acts 20:19  Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:

Acts 20:20  And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,

Acts 20:21  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 20:22  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

Acts 20:23  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

Acts 20:24  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Acts 20:25  And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

Acts 20:26  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.

Acts 20:27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 

The Lord was with the young man Samuel, and in verse 19 it says that he did not let any of his words fall to the ground.  When we speak the truth of God’s Word, he uses it in a powerful and mighty way. 

Isa 55:11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.


1 Sam 3:20  And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.

1 Sam 3:21  And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

It says that all Israel realized that Samuel was established to be a prophet unto the Lord.   And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh, and revealed himself unto Samuel.   This began a new time when God did reveal himself unto the people by his prophet. 


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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[i]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.