1 Samuel 3:10-15

This part of my blog will discuss the text of 1 Samuel 3:10 and include some thoughts interspersed concerning it’s application for today.  With the interest in the office of the seer on the rise through the Charismatic/Pentecostal sectors of the church as well as others, I think it’s about time for my two cents on the matter.

10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.

It intrigues me how the Scripture appears to play up on the fact that Samuel, who is called to be a seer, as shown later in this book, is shown as hearing the Lord more than seeing the Lord.  It does not emphasize that the Lord appeared to Samuel, showed himself to Samuel, or manifested Himself to Samuel, even though he did, since this was a vision (3:15).  It says the Lord came to where Samuel was, stood there, and called to Samuel, so that Samuel could hear the Lord. The emphasis was on hearing the Lord (probably in connection to James 1:22) more than seeing.  I would take this to imply that even if we see the Lord, our concern should be that we always hear His voice and do what He says more than we should be superficially fascinated with the pretty light show.  There is a message we need to hear with every revelation the Lord gives us, and we need to hear as well as see.  In all prophetic experiences, the emphasis should be whether or not we heard what the Lord was trying to say to us.   Samuel replied that he could hear the Lord’s voice.  Many times we hear the Lord and, regardless of whether or not we see Him, still are able to recognize and obeys His voice, which testifies with our Spirit that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16, Matt 12:33). It was through hearing the Lord that Samuel came into the ministry of seeing the things of God which He was about to do in the nation of Israel.

11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.  

This is the language that communicates something specific: God is about to do a new thing.  Something that will be the talk of Israel and the subject of much gossip.  That is what is meant by “ears tingling,”  I imagine.  It will become so talked about, and the ears of everyone in the land will be full of the news of this thing the Lord is about to do. 

12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.

The Lord is about to shake up the house of Levi, specifically the house of Eli, and fulfill to the letter, the prophecy spoken against Eli’s house.  Shaking up the priesthood, the means of communication through which Israel related to God and spoke to her, would send gossip rippling throughout the land.  God was going to change the way the priesthood did business fundamentally.  The focus would not be on man’s performance, and man’s achievement, but rather on a pursuit of holiness out of reverence for God. 

13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.  

Eli is to blame for his sons’ wrongdoing to the extent that he did not restrain them. 

14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

The mercy of God and the space for repentance have passed, and have moved on in favor of the justice of God, which is an aspect of His love as well.  The ritual had lost its meaning and reality.

15 Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17 And Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told 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.”

Eli demanded to know of Samuel what had happened, and Samuel obeyed again, and Eli accepts what Samuel has said, as confirmation of the man of God’s word years before.  This is almost sad since Eli does the opposite of David when confronted with his sins.  Moreover, Eli, unlike David, heard twice, did not appear to have an emotional response, and showed no signs of remorse or repentance.  This is basically Eli just accepting this as his destiny no matter what.  Had he shown remorse, who knows (See Jonah or 2 Kings 22:11 for signs of repentance)? The Lord might have shown remorse and mercy to Eli’s house.  As it was, Eli just acted quite lax and lazy.  Everytime I read this, it makes me want to yell at the book.


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