As a core Christian, I understand that God looks at someone when no one is looking at him, He does his things in a mysterious way. No wonder his surprises were replicated in the life of Samuel, whom He chose to the chagrin of desperados who needed the position. This will be the position Imo State will find herself in 2019.
You may have heard the story of the man who spent his first day in jail. That evening, all of the inmates gathered about in the courtyard. One man would call out a number and then the rest would laugh heartily. Another number would then be called, with even more laughter. So it went for the evening. When the man returned to his cell, he turned to his cell-mate and asked, a�?What was going on out there?a�? a�?Oh,a�? his cell-mate responded, a�?thata��s the way we tell jokes around here. You see, we know all the jokes, and wea��ve heard them hundreds of times. So rather than waste time retelling them, we number them. When someone calls out a number, we all know the joke, and so we laugh!a�?
The next evening, the same thing happened. After a few numbers were called and the rest responded with laughter, the neophyte thought he would try his hand at this kind of joke-telling. In a quiet moment, he called out a number. Not one person laughed. The new inmate was puzzled, but kept quiet until he returned to his cell and his cell-mate. a�?What happened?a�? he asked. a�?Why didna��t anyone laugh?a�? a�?Well,a�? his cell-mate replied, a�?You know how it is . . . some people can tell a�?em, and some cana��t.a�?
When I come to the story of Samuela��s call in 1 Samuel 3, I feel as though I could almost call out a number: One, for Noah and the ark, Two, for Moses in the basket in the Nile River, Three, for David and Goliath, Four, for Jonah and the great fish, Five, for the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, Six, for Daniel in the liona��s den and Seven, for the call of Samuel.
We may all think we know the story of the call of Samuel quite well. We have heard, or told it many times. All I may need to do is call out a number, and my work for this lesson will be done. Perhaps we should not be quite so hasty, for we may only think we know the story well. Our lesson focuses on some of the unfamiliar dimensions of this event, which may be key to our understanding of the meaning and message of this text.
We see in 1 Samuel 3, the account of the rise of Samuel to the position of a prophet, a fact acknowledged and accepted by every Israelite. We come in chapter 4 to the account of the defeat of Israel and the death of Eli, his two sons, and his daughter-in-law. In chapters 2 and 3, God prophetically foretells of His judgment on Eli and his house. That judgment takes place in chapter 4. In chapter 3, we see Goda��s hand at work, preparing Samuel for a prominent leadership role over Israel, and in chapter 4, we see Goda��s removal of Eli and his sons so that Samuel can assume the leadership for which God has prepared him
According to 1 Samuel 3:1-14, “Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.
And it happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), and 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, that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, a�?Here I am.a�?
“Then he ran to Eli and said, a�?Here I am, for you called me.a�? But he said, a�?I did not call, lie down again.a�? So he went and lay down. And the LORD called yet again, a�?Samuel!a�? So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, a�?Here I am, for you called me.a�? But he answered, a�?I did not call, my son, lie down again.a�? Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, a�?Here I am, for you called me.a�?
“Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy.
And Eli said to Samuel, a�?Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Thy servant is listening.’a�? So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, a�?Samuel! Samuel!a�? And Samuel said, a�?Speak, for Thy servant is listening.a�?And the LORD said to Samuel, a�?Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel (Imo-emphasis mine) at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.”
a�?In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. a�?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. a�?And 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.a�?
Samuel is referred to in verse 1 as a a�?boy,a�?(Eze Madumere, who served his master (God) in truth and in faith) a term flexible enough to use with reference to a newborn infant or to a young man. Here, I understand it to refer to Samuel as a young man, 12 years of age or so. It seems several years have passed since the end of chapter 2 and that chapter 3 picks up in Samuela��s teen years.
We can understand that, a�?word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequenta�? (verse 1). Men were not listening to God in those days, and God did not speak very often. This a�?silencea�? is often a form of divine judgment, and if not broken, would prove to be Israela��s undoing (see1 Samuel 28; Psalm 74:9; Isaiah 29:9-14; Micah 3:6-7; also Proverbs 29:18). We are told that prophecy was rare, so that we see the calling of Samuel as an end to Goda��s silence (see 1 Samuel 3:19-21).
The details provided for us in verses 2, 3, and 7 help us understand the setting in which the events of chapter 3 take place. Samuel is lying down in his appointed place (Lake Malinda) inside the tabernacle, not that far from the Ark of the Covenant, which is inside the Holy of Holies. Eli was sleeping somewhere else, not too distant for Samuel to hear when he calls. As the author informs us, Elia��s eyesight has greatly deteriorated, so that his vision was seriously impaired (see also 4:15). With Elia��s age, weight, and visual limitations, he needs the help of a “boy” like Samuel. Samuel can bring Eli a drink of water or run other errands for him. It is only natural for Samuel to assume that a call late at night comes from his master, Eli.
From the statement in verse 3, we know that the call of Samuel comes in the early hours of the morning, for he says that a�?the lamp of God had not yet gone out.a�? The lamp is the golden lampstand, with its seven lamps which are to a�?burn continuallya�? (Exodus 27:20-21; Leviticus 24:2). This does not mean they are to burn 24 hours a day, but that they are always to burn at night. This becomes clear from the words of 2 Chronicles 13:11:
The first two times Samuel is called by God, the young lad assumes he is hearing the voice of Eli, his master. It makes sense, especially if Eli sometimes calls to Samuel for assistance during the night. It is not until the third a�?calla�? that Eli finally grasps the situation and realizes that God is calling Samuel to reveal His Word to the boy. At his instructions, Samuel responds to God when He once again calls. A portion of that first revelation (if not all of it) is recorded in verses 11-14.
God announces to Samuel that what He is about to do (in Imo State in 2019) will cause the ears of those who hear the news of it to tingle, both ears! This is no exaggeration. When Eli hears, he collapses, resulting in his death (see 4:18). The message seems to be a personal one addressed to Eli. It is somewhat like the prophecy God reveals to Eli in 2:27-36, except that the prophet is identified. In fact, the prophet will be Elia��s replacement, functioning as a prophet, a priest, and a judge. The prophecy of chapter 2 is more distant, having apparently been delivered several years before Israela��s (Imo) defeat by the Philistines as described in chapter 4. The prophecy given to Eli through Samuel seems to speak of the defeat of Israel and the death of Elia��s sons as an imminent event.
The message given to Samuel focuses on Elia��s sin more than on the sins of his sons. More specifically, God indicates that He is bringing about judgment on Eli and his house because Eli knows of the sins of his sons and does nothing to hinder them. In contemporary terms, Eli is an a�?enabler.a�? He facilitates his sonsa�� sinful behavior rather than resist and oppose it.
I am disappointed in the translation of verse 13,3 a�?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.a�? It certainly appears that Eli actually does verbally rebuke his sons as we read in 2:22-25. While the word a�?rebukea�? is absent, this is the sense of his words. I do not believe God judges Eli for failing to rebuke his sons, but for failing to go beyond mere verbal rebuke when they refuse to listen to him.
The context certainly raises questions with the word a�?rebukea�? in 3:13, and a concordance study shows these questions have much merit. The term used here is an interesting one. The term is never translated a�?rebuke “elsewhere in the Old Testament and should not have been rendered this way here.
Interestingly, it is the same word found in verse 2 of the same chapter (3) in reference to Elia��s failing eyesight. It is used of the eyesight of Moses, which is good (Deuteronomy 34:7), and of the poor eyesight of Isaac (Genesis 27:1) and Job (17:7). It has the normal sense of growing weak, dim, or faint. It is the term used in Isaiah 42:3 and 4 for the dimly burning wick, which our Lord will not extinguish, and for the spirit of Messiah, which will not be disheartened.
Verse 14 indicates that the sin of Elia��s house is now beyond repentance; Goda��s judgment is imminent. There is no sacrifice or atonement to set this matter straight, only judgment. In simple terms, Eli and sons have passed the a�?point of no return.a�? They refuse to repent, and judgment is coming. This is because Elia��s sin and the sins of his sons are committed with a a�?high hand;a�?13 they are sins of presumption.
AND GOD REVEALED HINSELF TO SAMUEL:1 Samuel 3:15-18
“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. Then Eli called Samuel and said, a�?Samuel, my son.a�? And he said, a�?Here I am.a�?And he said, a�?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.a�?So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, a�?It is the LORD; let Him do what seems good to Him.a�?
When morning comes, Samuel seems to avoid Eli. He goes about his regular routine, just as always, as though nothing has happened. Eli knows better. He knows that God has called Samuel three times during the night. He knows it is God who is about to reveal something to Samuel. He does not know what it is, although he surely has his fears. The last message he received from a prophet was a foreboding one. And so Eli presses Samuel to tell him all that God spoke to him. He does not allow Samuel to hold back. And so Samuel reluctantly tells Eli the whole message.
What is most disturbing, to me at least, is the response of Eli to the prophecy. Eli is informed that judgment is coming, and this time at least, it cannot be stopped.14 Goda��s judgment cannot be avoided, but Eli can at least repent of his own sins of neglect. Instead, Eli speaks words which have a religious ring and appear to be an evidence of his submission to the sovereign will of God, but which are really an expression of Elia��s willingness to continue on in his sin. What we read is not an expression of faith in Goda��s sovereignty, but an expression of fatalism couched in religious terms.
GOD’S PURPOSE ON SAMUEL ACCOMPLISHED: Samuel 3:19-21
Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail. And all Israel (Imo State-From Okigwe, Owerri and Orlu) from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, because the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
I take it that the first encounter Samuel had with God is his conversion experience, as well as his call as a prophet. As mentioned earlier, this is much like Saula��s experience on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9). The author now informs us that this encounter with God, and the resulting reception of a word from the LORD, is the first of many. Verse 21 tells us specifically of a second appearance of God to Samuel at Shiloh, and the inference is that others will follow. It is here, at the first appearance of God to Samuel, that he not only seems to become a believer (in the wording of the author, he came to know the LORD),15 but he also becomes a prophet. Soon, he will become a priest and a judge as well.
The way a true prophet is accredited is spelled out in Deuteronomy 13:1-5and 18:14-22. A true prophet speaks in a way that calls upon men to follow God, to obey Him. Furthermore, a true prophet is one whose words come to pass. Our author tells us literally that God let none of Samuela��s words a�?fall to the grounda�? (verse 19). Everything Samuel says will happen does happen. And every Israelite realizes that Goda��s hand is upon Samuel and that He speaks the Word of the LORD. From Dan, the northern-most part of the land, to Beersheba, the southern-most city, all Israel recognizes Samuel as a prophet of God. The silence is broken.
BEFORE IMO STATE IS DEFEATED LIKE ISRAEL: Samuel 4:1-11
Thus the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle and camped beside Ebenezer while the Philistines camped in Aphek. And the Philistines drew up in battle array to meet Israel. When the battle spread, Israel was defeated before the Philistines who killed about four thousand men on the battlefield. When the people came into the camp, the elders of Israel said, a�?Why has the LORD defeated us today before the Philistines?
Let us take to ourselves from Shiloh the ark of the covenant of the LORD, that it may come among us and deliver us from the power of our enemies.a�?So the people sent to Shiloh, and from there they carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts who sitsabove the cherubim; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. And it happened as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, that all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth resounded. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, a�?What does the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?a�? Then they understood that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp.
And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, a�?God has come into the camp.a�? And they said, a�?Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. a�?Woe to us! Who shall deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who smote the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. a�?Take courage and be men, O Philistines (Imo Stste), lest you become slaves to the Hebrews (PDP) as they have been slaves to you; therefore, be men and fight.a�?So the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent, and the slaughter was very great; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
The Israelites have been dominated by the Philistines for some time so that the Philistines look upon them as their slaves (4:9). For some reason, battle breaks out between the Philistines and the Israelites, and the Israelites are badly beaten. When the dust settles, it is learned that 4,000 Israelites have died (verse 2). When the Israelites return to camp, they cannot understand how God would allow them to suffer this defeat.”
Esogibe Ikenna is an Opinion Moulder and a Social Crusader
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (politics)