Here at Southern Calvert Baptist Church we are preparing to study the great calling that the Lord gave to Samuel. We are studying through the entire Bible over a three year period using “The Gospel Project”. In our previous lesson, we looked at how Ruth came under the protection of the Lord God of Israel. The Gospel was extended to the Gentiles long before the Day of Pentecost, even before Acts 10. God extended His great mercy, grace, and salvation to the Gentile, Rahab, who was also a prostitute. Then He extended His message to Ruth. In this lesson, we are going to see God extend His great mercy, grace, and salvation to a little Jewish boy named Samuel. It is a beautiful picture of the holy calling that the Lord extends to every human being. The question is, are we going to answer that calling or not?
I. Samuel’s Role Model
Role models are vital to answering the Lord’s calling in our lives. We need them. We need to see them as they live out their faith on a daily basis, both in the good times and also in the difficult times. Samuel had a great role model, his dear mother. Hannah was faithful to the Lord. Hannah was in the midst of a very difficult circumstance. She was not her husband’s only wife. She had to share him with another woman. That, in itself, produced a lot of pain. Not only did she have to share her husband with another woman, she also had to watch as that other wife produced children for her husband while she, Hannah, could not have children. She was barren. To make matters even worse, Hannah’s husband’s other wife provoked and irritated her because she could not have children. Where would you turn in the midst of a difficult circumstance like this? Hannah turned to the Lord.
9 Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the LORD.
10 She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly.
11 She made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.” (I Samuel 1)
Hannah went to the temple to pray. Hannah promises to dedicate her child to the Lord if He will open her womb and allow her to conceive a child.
12 Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth.
13 As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk.
14 Then Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you.” (I Samuel 1)
While praying, Eli the priest sees her and thinks that she is drunk because her lips are moving but no words are coming out. Hannah is mistreated at home and now she is misunderstood at the temple. If anyone had reason to complain and be upset with the Lord, Hannah would have been a great candidate. But, she remained faithful to the Lord, even in the midst of some very difficult circumstances. This was preparing her for the next stage in life, when she would be a role model of faith to her son, Samuel.
God hears Hannah’s prayers and in His time, He answers them. She conceives a son and after he is weaned, she has promised to dedicate him to the Lord’s calling in his life. Hannah has 3 years to impact this child’s life in a positive way and that is exactly what she does. Samuel sees his mother’s faith. Samuel learns about the Lord from his mother. He learns about worshiping the Lord by seeing his mother worship. As a parent, are you teaching your children to worship the Lord? Do they see your faith as being a vital part of your daily life?
In I Samuel 2, we discover that Hannah teaches Samuel about the character of God. Keep in mind, she only has three years to impact him and she uses every moment of her time to impact him in a positive way for the Lord. Here are some of the specific things that she teaches her son about the Lord:
- He is our salvation
- He is holy
- He is the only living God
- He is Jehovah, the self-existing One
- He is Elohim, the All Powerful Creator God
- He is the source of knowledge
- He is sovereign
- He gives life and is able to take away life
- We can trust Him
Wow, all of that in only three years. Hannah took to heart and put into practice Deuteronomy 6:
6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
7 ” You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
8 “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
9 “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
We never know how much time we are going to have with our kids. For some, it is many years, while for others, it is just a few. What counts is what we do with the time that we do have. Are teaching your children the character of God through the Word of God? They are never too young to learn to worship the Lord with you. They are never too young to hear the Word of the Lord from you. Hannah kept her word and once Samuel was weaned, she brought him to Eli and dedicated him to the Lord’s calling in his life. Samuel would have a new role model in spiritual matters.
II. Samuel’s Calling
Hannah did as much as she could to teach her son about the Lord’s calling in his life. Now she has to trust the Lord that He will work in Samuel’s life through a new spiritual role model, Eli the priest.
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.
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. (I Samuel 3)
Eli teaches Samuel how to hear the Lord’s calling through His Word. Samuel needed spiritual guidance, as we all do.
Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” (I Samuel 3:10)
Samuel was obedient to his spiritual role model. As a result, Samuel learned to discern the voice of the Lord and he discovered the Lord’s calling. Not only did Samuel discover the Lord’s calling, he also answered the Lord’s calling.
Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him . . . (I Samuel 3:19)
Samuel developed a personal relationship with God. This is the first calling that God has for each one of us. He calls us to Himself. As we spend time with Him in His Word, He begins revealing the actions that He wants us to take. Do you have a spiritual role model who is teaching you how to hear the Lord’s calling to a personal relationship with Him? Is that person teaching you how to study and apply the Word of God to your daily life?
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. (I Samuel 3:11)
God reveals His plans to Samuel so that Samuel can join in on God’s plan. This is the calling that God has for each of us. Once we connect with Him and begin a personal relationship with Him, He then reveals His plans to us and invites us to join in on His plans. His plans become our plans. We do not continue on with our own plans, bringing the Lord along with us. We drop our plans and take on God’s plans. Has that ever happened to you, or, are you one who continues on with your own plans, inviting God along with you? There are many who view God this way, unfortunately. There is one more thing that the Lord wants Samuel to do.
III. Samuel’s Actions
Samuel has begun a personal relationship with God. He has discovered God’s plans and he has dropped his plans in order to be able to take on God’s plans. Now, God wants Samuel to take His message to the people around him.
18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him . . .
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 (I Samuel 3)
Samuel took the Word of the Lord to the people around him. He even shared difficult messages with people, for their own good, so that they could repent and return to the Lord. The entire nation learned of the Lord’s messages through Samuel. As followers of Jesus Christ, God calls us to Himself, to have a personal relationship with Him. He reveals His plans to us in His Word so that we can drop our plans and take up His plans. He challenges us to take His message of mercy, grace, and salvation through Jesus Christ to the people around us. The question is, “are we doing it?” Samuel chose to answer the Lord’s calling. Samuel dropped his plans to take on the Lord’s plans. Samuel shared the Word of the Lord with the people within his sphere of influence.
What about you, my dear friend, are you a role model for your children the way that Hannah was? Do your children see your dedication to the Lord? Are you teaching your children about the character of God? Are you praying for a spiritual role model to continue what you have begun in your children’s lives? Are you seeking to be a spiritual role model for others, teaching them how to connect with the Lord through His Word? Are you sharing the Word of the Lord with the people within your sphere of influence?
May the Lord help us imitate Hannah as parents, imitate Eli as spiritual role models, and imitate Samuel as followers of Christ!