1 Samuel 3:1-4:1 (Part 1) – Trust God With the What, When, Where and Why…Just Be the Who!

Posted: November 27, 2017 in 09-1 Samuel
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1 Samuel 3:1-4:1 (Part 1 of 3)


The Lord Speaks to Samuel




Last night during life group, we were reading in Genesis about Joseph while he was in jail after being accused basically of rape by Potipher’s wife. He was in jail like 12 or 13 years before he was able to get out. But even while he was in jail, he was faithful to the Lord and used his talents to the best of his ability. He was gifted at administration and he was gifted at interpreting dreams. He served his masters no matter who they were with grace, dignity, passion, and professionalism no matter whether he was Potipher’s household manager or whether he was a prisoner in prison. He did what was in front of him and did it well for many years. He trusted the Lord with the rest of the what, when, where and why. He just did the who. He was who he was, a faithful follower of God, regardless of circumstance. He honored his superiors in whatever circumstance for however long it took because a person of faith has faith that God has you in a position for a reason for a period of time and that we show trust in God by honoring those who God has placed over us.




We sometimes want to short-circuit God’s plan when things are progressing as fast as we would like or are not happening in the way we would like or not happening in the order of things that we would like. I know I had been in a struggle with this point over the past year and a half until recently. I know that you have heard me share here about feeling called into full-time ministry but nothing has been happening. I came close to landing an administrative pastor’s position in Ohio back in January of this year but in the end I came up short in the final two candidate review process. It had been hard to even get to that point so we lost that position I was heartbroken and bitter for a good while. But through prayer, through constantly being in God’s Word, and just hearing the Holy Spirit speak to me as I write these almost daily blogs, I was able to get the message of “keep plowing the field in front of you.” God was telling me to be like Joseph and keep doing your best and keep serving God in the capacity you are at the moment (where I have assigned you) and keep serving those that are above you and most of all, keep trusting God. I like that idea that God put in my head today about Joseph trusting God with what, when, where and why and Joseph did the who. I must trust that God has my future what, when, where, and why under control and he will reveal it as I mature in my current situation. I must continue to be faithful about the who that I am. I must be a faithful and devoted follower of Jesus Christ and I serve Him by honoring those, serving those whom God has placed over me. Who knows what God will reveal. But if I gave up and quit and went and sat in the corner and withdrew because things are not working out according to MY plan, then, I may miss God’s intentions for me. By being a faithful servant in the capacity that He has me in now, by being a good and cheerful servant, by doing what I do for my church to the best of my ability, God will honor that and He will give me the opportunity that He has for me in due time.




The similarity to Joseph’s mindset that Samuel has here in this passage was the first thing that popped into my mind of the three things that I plan to share with you about this passage over the next few days. That idea of service to those that God has placed above us was the heartwarming first impression that I have of this passage, 1 Samuel 3:1-4:1. Here you see Samuel’s first inclination when he hear the audible voice of the Lord was that he immediately thought it was his overseer, Eli, calling. Now, with these thoughts in mind let’s read the passage:




3 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.




2 One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle[a] near the Ark of God. 4 Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”




“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” 5 He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”




“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did.




6 Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!”




Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”




“I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.”




7 Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. 8 So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”




Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 9 So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed.




10 And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”




And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”




11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. 12 I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family, from beginning to end. 13 I have warned him that judgment is coming upon his family forever, because his sons are blaspheming God[b] and he hasn’t disciplined them. 14 So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.”


Samuel Speaks for the Lord




15 Samuel stayed in bed until morning, then got up and opened the doors of the Tabernacle[c] as usual. He was afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had said to him. 16 But Eli called out to him, “Samuel, my son.”




“Here I am,” Samuel replied.




17 “What did the Lord say to you? Tell me everything. And may God strike you and even kill you if you hide anything from me!” 18 So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn’t hold anything back. “It is the Lord’s will,” Eli replied. “Let him do what he thinks best.”




19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. 20 And all Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh and gave messages to Samuel there at the Tabernacle.


4 And Samuel’s words went out to all the people of Israel.




Here, we see Samuel being so devoted to his master/his teacher that he, not having heard the voice of the Lord before, thought the voice was that of Eli. He had been serving his master for since as long as he could remember so when his master called his ear was trained to respond. It’s kind of like that ear you have as a parent when there’s something wrong with your child. You may not can hear your spouse breathing right next to you in bed (maybe even sleeping through their snoring), but let your child wimper on the other side of the house in their bedroom, you’ll hear it. You may even have your feet on the floor and walking toward their bedroom even before you have gotten your wits about you and realize oh yeah I am walking toward their bedroom. That is the same devotion that I envision that Samuel had for Eli.




By the time of this passage in this first book of Samuel, he is an adult. He has been serving Eli for all of his childhood and adult life. He was Eli’s helper. He, then, was exposed to every aspect of Eli’s life. He knew everything that Eli knew. He knew about Eli’s sons too I bet. He knew how corrupt they were. He knew how sinful they were. He also knew that Eli was not disciplining his sons and the effect that it all was having on Israel. But, yet, his devotion to Eli never waned. Here, we see how devoted Samuel was in his service to Eli. He goes to his master three times thinking that his master had called. That was his first response, to serve his master. That was his highest priority on earth.




That’s the thing that grabbed me this morning is that we often see how we could do things better than those who are placed over us in the church. We often complain and get bitter because things did not turn out the way we planned in our service to the church (and even in life in general). We get mad at God for why he did not make things turn out the way that we wanted them to. Most assuredly, we serve people in church and in our secular jobs where we feel like they are flawed, uninspired, and even disastrous people. However, God has placed them in our path for a reason. He has placed them in our path for a season. He has something to teach us about service, humility, honor, and even maybe something about how we will or will not do our job for the Lord in the future. If you have a rotten boss, what can you do to help them do their job better. Samuel took that approach I bet. Joseph took that approach I bet. What if you think that God is not working out His plan for your calling? Think again. Trust God with the what, where, when, and why and just be the who, a faithful follower of Christ. Does you think your leader at church is not doing things the way they should be done? Instead of complaining, consider that their way may be the right way. Consider praying that you’ll see that or consider praying that God will change their heart. The same is true in secular work relationships. Consider that God has you right where He wants you at this moment. It may not look like the way that you want it to look. But He has you here right now at this place at this time with these people to accomplish we He wants at this time in this place with these people. Trust God with the what, where, when and why and just worry about the who. Be the who, the faithful follower of Jesus Christ, who is plowing the field that is in front of you.




Amen and Amen.


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