As I sit and think through what I want to teach next Sunday morning during children’s church, I cannot help but be in awe of how clear the Word of God is and how practical too. We live in an age when people call the Bible an outdated Book, old fashioned, irrelevant etc. while at the same time, those same people embrace some of the most devastating worldviews imaginable. It saddens my heart to see so many people deceived by the lies of the evil one, repackaged over and over again. As people, we are not born knowing God. I mean, we know that He or something greater than ourselves exists out there and created everything but we do not know who He is. He has to be discovered, revealed to us. The boy Samuel was no different. He came to know God and it impacted his life profoundly. I would like to share his story here and then see how it applies to the 21 Century person as well.
Last month, we focused on friendships during our teaching time. We covered some cool stories about people who were friends the way that God intended. Our lessons covered
It was a fun month. While going through the lesson, we introduced the idea of mentoring. Daniel’s parents mentored him, teaching him God’s Word from an early age. Daniel stood strong on that teaching even when he was a teen, far away from his parents supervision. He chose good friends and they influenced each other positively to remain faithful to God. As a result, God rewarded them. Esther was mentored by Mordecai and as a result, she stood up for her people at the right time, putting her life on the line in order to save the Jewish race, through which the Messiah would ultimately come. She was a true friend to Israel, doing what was right now matter what the consequences. God also rewarded her faithfulness and the world owes her a debt of gratitude.
As I stated earlier, this week’s lesson is about Samuel and how he was mentored by Eli.
I. You must be taught to recognize God’s calling
God calls us all the time. Unfortunately, most of us do not know how to recognize His calling because we have never been taught. This is where a mentor comes in. A mentor is a person who walks with God and invests in us, teaching us how to do the same. The word mentor comes from the Greek word we get “mentality” or “mind” from. A mentor is a person who deeply impacts our minds in a positive manner that transforms our character. The only thing that will transform our character is the Word of God via a relationship with God. A mentor teaches us how to know God through His Word. Eli was Samuel’s mentor. Samuel’s mother dedicated him to the Lord even before he was born. When the time came, after he was weened, she sent him to live with Eli and be mentored by him so that he could grow and serve the Lord. We pick up the story in chapter 3 of I Samuel.
4 that the LORD called Samuel ; and he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 The LORD called yet again, “Samuel !” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. 8 So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy.
God was calling Samuel but he did not recognize the voice of the Lord. No one had ever taught him how to recognize it. God constantly calls out to us through His Word but we are usually so busy that we do not take the time to listen. Or, if we do happen to get face to face with the Word of God, we do not understand It because we have never been taught how. We need someone older and wiser, with the experience that we lack to come along side us and teach us how to hear God’s voice and understand it. Samuel did the only thing that he knew to do, run to his mentor for help.
9 And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Eli instructed Samuel and Samuel did exactly as he was told. As a person being mentored, I need to have the same attitude that Samuel had. I need to listen to my mentor and learn from him or her.
II. Once you know how to recognize God’s voice, you must obey
10 Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel ! Samuel !” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” 11 The LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.
God has a specific plan in the world and your mentor will teach you how to recognize that plan. You still have to make the choice to obey or not. God wants to do great things on this earth and He invites us to join Him. Once you hear the call, you have to be ready to respond, even if it is something that has never been done before. It takes courage to answer God’s calling. Many people do not answer, not because they do not hear but because they are afraid.
12 “In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 “For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. 14 “Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever .”
Can you imagine what it must have been like for Samuel? He was about to have to inform his mentor of the doom to come because of his (Eli’s) sin. Samuel is not being judgmental or harsh. He is called to share God’s Word. This is what happens to us when we answer God’s call. He wants us to share the message of the coming judgment, not out of hatred but out of love. He wants us to warn others of what will happen if they continue in their sin. Many people are not ready to commit to something like that because of the opposition. Can you imagine Samuel’s feelings? He was about to have to share this message with his mentor, the very person who taught him how to know God’s voice and calling. What would you do? What do you do now, knowing that the world around us is dying because of sin and awaiting judgment? Will you keep silent or degrade those who speak out? Will you pretend that you did not hear the message? Samuel could have done that but he did not.
15 So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17 He said, “What is the word that He spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the words that He spoke to you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the LORD ; let Him do what seems good to Him.”
Samuel was afraid but the Lord gave him courage. He spoke the truth no matter what. He revealed God’s eternal message to Eli even though he did not know how Eli would respond or what may happen to him for sharing the message. I find it odd that Eli never repents. Knowing what we know about God, He would have forgiven Eli if he had repented sincerely, yet he chose to accept the punishment and not change anything. He knew God because he had taught Samuel how to know Him yet when it came to application, he failed miserably. Are you more like Samuel or Eli when it comes to application? There are many who do not apply God’s Word because they do not know It and have not yet been taught how, while there are others who know God’s Word yet choose, for some strange reason, not to apply It. Then there are those who are like Samuel who are taught to know God’s Word and also apply It, even when they are afraid to do it.
III. As you live in obedience, you learn to walk with the Lord daily
It is amazing how God works in our lives once we learn to know Him through His Word and begin to apply what we learn. We learn how to walk with Him daily, moment by moment. As He teaches us new things, we begin to apply them immediately and momentum builds. This happened in Samuel’s life.
19 Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail . 20 All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD. 21 And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, because the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
As you are being mentored, learning how to walk with God, you begin to influence the people around you. As Samuel grew physically and in his relationship with God, the people around him took notice. The same thing happens with you and me. As we are being mentored, learning how to know God through His Word and learning how to apply what we learn, people around us will take notice. This will give us opportunities to repeat the mentoring process. Are you currently being mentored? Do you actively seek to mentor others? What keeps you from doing this? If you are a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ then you are called to mentor others. This calling is given to us in the Great Commission. The term mentor is replaced by the term disciple.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always , even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28)
We are called to go and mentor the nations by teaching them all that Jesus Christ has taught us. Through this entire process, we teach people how to know God through His Word and how to live It out daily. My question to you is, “are you doing this?”. If not, then why are you not mentoring others (making disciples)? Making disciples is not a suggestion, it is a command. Maybe you first need to be discipled. If that is the case, find a teacher who would be willing to invest in you, teaching you how to know God through His Word so that you can be prepared to mentor others. Pray and ask the Lord to send someone your way to help you. He will answer because this is His will. May the Lord help us be like Samuel, knowing Him personally, walking with Him, and mentoring others.