AUGUST 2nd, 9th
WEEK 5-6: Reflections from 1 Samuel 3

When you read 1 Samuel chapter 3 you will be ushered into the story of a miracle child named Samuel whose mother Hannah promised to yield him back to the Lord if He blessed her with a son.

(1:11) "And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head."

Today, we do this symbolically during baby dedication ceremonies. However, Hannah LITERALLY gave Samuel back to the Lord by giving him over to temple service once he was well past the time of nursing.  (v1) We find Samuel ministering unto the Lord before Eli. Eli the priest of the Lord was in charge of Samuel and trained him in menial temple duties.  Between chapter two and this point in the book it has been emphasized three times that Samuel
ministered unto the Lord. So often we come across people who are very ambitious and feigning to perform before people. However, the mark of one called to ministry is his or her desire to minister as unto God. 

The scriptures teach that the believers are a
royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).  With this said, how do we minister unto the Lord today?

(v1b) And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

The Hebrew word for precious is yaqar (pronounciation: yaw-kawr')  which has several meanings. In this case it would mean rare, highly valued, and costly.  Could you imagine believing in and serving God but rarely hearing an utterance of instruction, direction, comfort, encouragement, or promise?   The Bible didn't say there was no word, but that it was rare, therefore, causing it to be highly valued to those who sought the Lord.  Today, we have the privilege of possessing bibles and having the indwelling presence of Holy Spirit. 

There was no open vision. Meaning, visions from the Lord were very rare also.  To read more on the three types of visions click here.   
The Hebrew word for 'open' means to break out, or burst forth. This implies a sudden experience of seeing into one's inner spirit or the spiritual realm.   We can see this as a contrast to the fact that Eli's sight was 'dim' meaning he was loosing his natural ability to see.  However, seeing there was no open vision although a high priest served in the temple reveals a dimming of Eli's spiritual sight also.  This most likely had occurred because of Eli's deliberate ignorance of the sins of his sons.  Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). Too many are deceived by believing that their ability to serve in the things of the church equates with being in right standing with God.  Truly, the gifts and callings of the Lord are without repentance but we need the anointing of the Spirit to remain effective.
(v3-4) "And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep." "That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I."

'Ere' is a word of German/Old English origin which means before.  What I'm seeing here is a case of "God may not come when you want Him, but He's always on time."  The practical function of the golden lampstand was to shed light in the holy place and was THE ONLY SOURCE OF LIGHT allowing for the priests to carry out their ministry, but can also represent the LIFE and LIGHT God gives to his people.   Jesus is the life-giving Word and Light of the world.

Considering the impending blindness of Eli who may have not been able to easily notice that the flames of the golden lampstand were going out along with the youthfulness of Samuel who might have overslept, God finally speaks BEFORE the lamp went out.  God initiated communication with Samuel who was already training for the priesthood but was also being set apart to be a prophet of Israel.  God was ensuring that someone was in place to both maintain the light and proclaim His words. The people was about to experience a 2 for 1 blessing in Samuel.

As a result of keeping her vow Hannah was blessed to have more children. Moreover, the yielding to God her only long awaited son was not only a wonderful gift to her, but also to the nation.

(v7) Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.

To know means to have an intimate connection through personal knowlegde or perception. To discern.  Samuel was a godly and obedient boy, serving God wonderfully. Yet, he had not yet given his heart to the Lord. Even children raised in a godly home must be converted by the Spirit of God. - Guzik 

The word of the Lord was not yet disclosed directly and made clear to Samuel.'

(Deuteronomy 29:29) "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed H1540 belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law."

(Amos 3:7) "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."

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