Evening Bible Study
Samuel is the
last of the “Judges”. He is the man who
will bridge the gap between the time of the Judges and the beginning of the
Kings of Israel.
Last week we looked into the birth of Samuel.
From before the womb his mother Hannah had dedicated him to the Lord,
meaning he was a Nazirite – a long haired guy who didn’t touch anything to do
Samuel’s dedication to the Lord meant that when he was very young, his
mother took him to the Tabernacle, and he was raised the by the high priest Eli
in the town of Shiloh.
Another side note – Eli the high priest has two sons who are in line to
become high priests. Eli’s sons are
wicked men who abuse their authority as priests, mishandle the sacrifices, and
even sleep with the women who come to the Tabernacle.
3:1-10 God calls
:1 Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord
before Eli. And the word of the Lord
was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.
:1 boy – na‘ar – a boy, lad, youth
Jewish tradition has it that Samuel was 12 years old at this time.
:1 the word of the Lord was rare
God’s visions were unable to “break through” to people. Perhaps it isn’t
just a matter of God not speaking, but the real issue is, is anyone listening?
Is God able to speak today?
Is God able to get your attention?
Are you able to listen?
Even as we sit here today, there are hundreds of voices
flying through the air, all around us. We can sit here quietly, but still can’t
some voices you need the help of a radio to hear them. With others, you need a cell phone. Some voices need a wifi connection.
They’re all here, but without the right equipment you
As believers, we have the first piece of equipment needed that is
unavailable to the unbeliever:
(1 Co 2:14 NKJV) But the natural man does not
receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor
can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
You have the Spirit of God, so you have the equipment
necessary to receive God’s messages.
Do you recognize God’s voice?
If God were to speak, could you tell the difference between God’s voice and
the voice of your stomach, your sin nature, or your wishful thinking?
comes with familiarity.
The more you hear a voice, the easier it is to recognize.
young man, I used to listen to hours of Chuck Smith tapes. I’ve listened to Chuck teach through the
entire Bible while driving to work at the Bank of Newport and then at McDonnell
And I have to tell you, that’s a voice I’d recognize
For us, we may not have audio recordings of God’s voice, but we do have a
record of it – the Bible.
The more time you spend in your Bible, in the whole Bible,
the easier it will be to recognize when God is speaking.
:2 And it came
to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when
his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see,
:3 and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was,
and while Samuel was lying down,
:3 before the lamp
of God went out
Every night the priests would light the seven-branched candlestick, the Menorah.
It would burn all night, and at daybreak, the priests would enter into the
tabernacle to put the lamp out. That places this event somewhere before dawn.
:4 that the Lord called Samuel. And he
answered, “Here I am!”
:5 So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” And he said,
“I did not call; lie down again.” And he went and lay down.
Samuel isn’t used to hearing the voice of God. He doesn’t recognize God’s voice.
God was speaking, but Samuel didn’t recognize it.
:6 Then the Lord called yet
again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you
called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.”
:7 (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord,
nor was the word of the Lord yet
revealed to him.)
:8 And the Lord called Samuel
again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for
you did call me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord
had called the boy.
:8 Eli perceived
You have to give Eli a little credit here. He finally realizes that God
must be speaking to the boy.
:9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He
calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord,
for Your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
:9 lie down
– shakab – to lie down; to rest,
– ‘ebed – slave, servant
:9 hears – shama‘–
to hear, listen to
This is the first part of Samuel’s name, “hearing”. In a sense, Samuel’s name would be
prophetic because he, Samuel, would “hear” (shama) from God (el)
:10 Now the Lord came and
stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered,
“Speak, for Your servant hears.”
:10 Speak, for Your
Can I learn to hear God’s voice? Learn from young Samuel.
1. Lie down
Be quiet. Learn to rest a little.
When Elijah was waiting to hear God’s voice, it wasn’t in the earthquake,
(1 Ki 19:12 NKJV) and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and
after the fire a still small voice.
We need to learn to be quiet and wait on the Lord.
(Ps 130:5 NKJV) I wait for the Lord,
my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.
Are you God’s servant? Can you
honestly say that to God?
Will you do whatever God wants you to do?
Samuel said “Your servant hears”. Give God time to speak. Listen.
Do you listen while you’re reading the Bible?
:11 Then the Lord said to
Samuel: “Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone
who hears it will tingle.
:12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken
concerning his house, from beginning to end.
:13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the
iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not
:13 I have told him
that I will judge …
God is reminding Eli of the word that came earlier through the “man of God”
– kahah – to grow weak, grow dim, be
It seems that he did nothing to “dim” their evil.
Lack of action
Judgment would come on the house of Eli because of his lack of action.
He knew something bad was going on, and even though he rebuked his sons for
it, he did not “restrain” them.
(Jas 4:17 NKJV) Therefore,
to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
:14 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.”
:14 shall not be
atoned for by sacrifice
(1 Sa 3:14
NLT) So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons
will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.”
Change not tears
Some people have the notion that as long as they keep saying “I’m sorry”,
that they can just keep doing what they always do.
They will do this with their friends – they are always saying “I’m sorry”, and
those of us who are believers will tend to say, “That’s okay”.
They will do this with God.
God’s goal is not tears or the words “I’m sorry”, but change. In describing the correct response to our
iniquity and defining what “repentance” is supposed to look like, Paul wrote,
(2 Co 7:11
NLT) Just see
what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear
yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal,
and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything
necessary to make things right.
Samuel will one day tell Saul:
15:22 NKJV) So Samuel said: “Has the Lord
as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the
voice of the Lord? Behold, to
obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
:15 So Samuel lay down until morning, and opened the doors of the house of
the Lord. And Samuel was afraid
to tell Eli the vision.
:15 Samuel lay down until morning
Samuel stayed in bed the rest of the night.
Can you imagine how hard it would be for Samuel to give this difficult word
to Eli who has become like a father to Samuel?
:16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!” He answered, “Here I
:17 And he said, “What is the word that the Lord spoke to you? Please do not hide it
from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all
the things that He said to you.”
:17 God do so to
The idea is that if there’s a bad thing predicted, may God bring it on
Samuel as well as whoever the prophecy is for.
(1 Sa 3:17 NLT) …And may
God strike you and even kill you if you hide anything from me!”
:18 Then Samuel told
him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to
:18 It is
Eli can tell that this is a message from God.
We are to judge prophecy and not just blindly listen to everything someone
14:29 NKJV) Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.
I think that in the day that we live, it’s very common for people to want
to abuse the idea of prophecy and say they are speaking for God when they are only
wanting to make you do what they want you to do.
I think that if you think are have a message from God, it’s best to say, “I think God may be wanting to say …”
That puts the responsibility of discernment on the person
you are sharing with.
:18 Let Him do what
seems good to Him
There seems to be a sense of submission to God on Eli’s part.
He’s not going to fight what God is going to do.
:19 So Samuel
grew, and the Lord was with him
and let none of his words fall to the ground.
:19 let none of his
words fall to the ground
Nothing is spoken by Samuel without coming to pass.
(1 Sa 3:19
Samuel said proved to be reliable.
One of the tests of a prophet is whether or not the things they say come to
:20 And all
Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a
prophet of the Lord.
:21 Then the Lord appeared
again in Shiloh. For the Lord
revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.
:20 from Dan to
All of Israel, from the very northern part to the very southern part.
:21 the Lord revealed Himself
The chapter started with reminding us of the “famine” of God’s Word.
God is now speaking again.
4:1-11 Ark is Lost
:1 And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out to battle
against the Philistines, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the Philistines
encamped in Aphek.
These were the ancient
enemies of Israel. We’ve already seen in
Judges how Samson fought against the Philistines.
It is believed that the Philistines
were originally a sea-faring people who came possibly from the island of Crete.
mainly into five cities located on the coast of Israel – Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron,
Gath, and Ashdod. Their
chief deity was named “Dagon”, and was thought to be half-man and half-fish
with the head and torso of a man, and the tail fins of a fish.
– “stone of help”
There will be another incident in 1Sam.
7 where after a victory over the Philistines, Samuel raises up a
stone and calls the stone “Ebenezer”
(1 Sa 7:12
Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called
its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord
has helped us.”
These seem to be two different places since their locations are described a
It’s at our Ebenezer that the Israelites are going to have a famous defeat.
It is thought that 20 years later, after a major victory over the
Philistines that Samuel gives the other location the same name to show that the
defeat at Ebenezer has been reversed.
– “enclosure”, a city that was supposed to belong to Judah
Show map video of
Aphek and Ebenezer. Ebenezer is about 4
miles from Aphek.
:2 Then the
Philistines put themselves in battle array against Israel. And when they joined
battle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand
men of the army in the field.
:3 And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said,
“Why has the Lord defeated us
today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it
comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.”
:4 So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark
of the covenant of the Lord of
hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni
and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
:4 the people sent
Show map video
of Shiloh to Ebenezer. Ebenezer is about
17 miles from Shiloh.
:3 it may save us
The people want to bring the
Ark of the Covenant into the army camp so that the “Ark” can save them.
If you’ve seen “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, you might think that they’ve got
a point there – that the
Ark is some sort of powerful weapon – at least that’s what the Nazi’s in
the movie thought.
Sometimes we think that as long as we “believe” everything is okay, but
it’s important to believe in the right thing.
Sometimes believing in the wrong thing is disastrous.
The real power
isn’t in the golden box, but the God that the box points to.
We can see others that fall into superstitious behavior – rabbit’s feet, lucky
four-leaf clovers, etc.
We might even think of people who look to religious things like statues of Mary, statues
of saints, rosary beads, etc.
But sometimes even people who ought to know better can fall into a trap of
thinking that God is only going to work at certain places, like Calvary Chapel of Costa
All of this stems from a lack of the real presence of the Lord.
When we’ve wandered away from the Lord, we can fall into thinking that
certain “things” will bring back that sense of closeness.
What we really need is simply to turn around and come back to Him.
God is not going to let them think of the Ark as a magic
:5 And when the
ark of the covenant of the Lord
came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook.
:6 Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does
the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then
they understood that the ark of the Lord
had come into the camp.
The Israelites have worked themselves into a frenzy because their magic
“Ark” is in their camp.
:7 So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the
camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before.
:8 Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These
are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the
:8 the gods who struck the Egyptians
There are people who think that the story of the Exodus is all a myth, but
here are a nation of people hundreds of years later who are reminding
themselves about what had happened in Egypt.
:9 Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do
not become servants of the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Conduct
yourselves like men, and fight!”
yourselves like men
You’re going to see a battle fought in natural terms.
are fighting the battle by psyching themselves all up into a frenzy with their
magic, superstitious golden box.
The Philistines are also going to fight with their natural abilities,
except they are a better army and when they psych themselves up with the
possibility of losing, they are even better than the Israelites.
kind of like what a football team does before running out onto the field.
The Bible says,
16:13 NASB95) Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
It is good that we learn to be “men”. It is good that we learn to be strong.
But there is another strength that passes human ability.
(Eph 6:10 NKJV) Finally,
my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
This is where we will find our failings – by being strong
in our own strength instead of learning to depend on God for His strength.
There’s nothing wrong with being a “man”, or being
“strong”. But understand that you and I
face an enemy that fights with more than we can handle. We need God’s strength.
:10 So the Philistines
fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a
very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.
:11 Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and
:11 the two sons of
Just like it was prophesied back in chapter 2.
(1 Sa 2:34 NKJV) Now this shall
be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas:
in one day they shall die, both of them.
4:12-18 Eli dies
:12 Then a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line the same day, and came
to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dirt on his head.
:13 Now when he came, there was Eli, sitting on a seat by the wayside
watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into
the city and told it, all the city cried out.
:12 his clothes
torn and dirt on his head
This was done out of mourning. A person that was mourning the loss of a
loved one would tear their clothes and put dirt or ashes on their heads.
:13 his heart
trembled for the ark of God
In a sense, Eli is the man responsible for the Ark.
On the other hand, we’ll see that God doesn’t need anyone “protecting” Him.
:14 When Eli
heard the noise of the outcry, he said, “What does the sound of this
tumult mean?” And the man came quickly and told Eli.
:15 Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were so dim that he could
:16 Then the man said to Eli, “I am he who came from the battle. And
I fled today from the battle line.” And he said, “What happened, my son?”
:17 So the messenger answered and said, “Israel has fled before the
Philistines, and there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also your
two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead; and the ark of God has been captured.”
:18 Then it happened, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell
off the seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he
died, for the man was old and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.
:18 Eli fell off the seat backward
Eli hears of his sons’ deaths. But
it isn’t until he hears the news about the ark that he falls backwards off his
4:19-22 Glory gone
:19 Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, due to
be delivered; and when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and
that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and gave
birth, for her labor pains came upon her.
:19 she bowed herself and gave birth
Phinehas’ pregnant wife hears all the bad news and goes into labor.
:20 And about the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her,
“Do not fear, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer, nor did she
:20 the time of her death
This gal would die in childbirth, just like Rachel died when Benjamin was
The women are trying to cheer her up that at least she has given birth to a
:21 Then she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from
Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her
father-in-law and her husband.
:22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God
has been captured.”
– “no glory”
(chabod is “glory”)
She names the child this because the ark has been lost as well as for the
deaths of Eli and his sons.
I doubt this kid ever got picked first for lunch time softball games at
school. Who wants the kid with “no
:22 The glory has
It ain’t over
For this gal, it looks as if the end of the world has come. And the end of her world has
come. But it’s not the end.
Sometimes we don’t understand why we should go through such tragedy or
difficulty. Hold on. Let God work.
See what God will do.
I’ve watched people in our church go through tremendous difficulty, and
I’ve seen it happen in our own family.
Growing up I watched as my older sister got pregnant out of wedlock and we
lived through one difficulty and mess after another.
Forty years later, I look back on those times and see how
God has worked to redeem what the enemy meant as evil.
finished Genesis in our daily reading and have seen how God used the tragedy of
Joseph’s life (being sold as a slave by his jealous brothers) to actually save the entire
family. Joseph told his brothers years later …
(Ge 50:20 NKJV) But as for
you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to
bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
(2 Co 4:8–18 NKJV) —8 We are
hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not
in despair; 9 persecuted, but not
forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of
the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live
are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may
be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life
in you. 13 And since we have
the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and
therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He
who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present
us with you. 15 For all things are
for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving
to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though
our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by
day. 17 For our light
affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not
look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For
the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not
seen are eternal.
real “glory” isn’t gone. The real
“glory” is being formed in heaven as we learn to trust God and move on.
For Israel, it looks as if the “glory” is now gone, but in fact, God is
simply cleaning house. It’s time to turn
the page. It’s time to start a new
chapter. And things aren’t going to be
worse, things are going to be better.