Famine of God’s WOrd
The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
1 Sam 3.1
The word of the LORD was rare. There were not many visions. The people were spiritually starving. The book of judges ended on that ominous note In those days, Israel had no king everyone did as they saw fit.
The priest of Israel, Eli was old and complacent, and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas the ones who were supposed to be the successors.... they were corrupt, and did not know the Lord.
And God’s not speaking.
When there is a famine of God’s word, when God is not speaking to his people it is a sign of God’s displeasure with his people.
God shows his displeasure by not speaking to the people. Without a voice or a vision from the the LORD, they are spiritually starving.
Without a voice or a vision from the the LORD, Israel is spiritually starving.
That is what it looks like when people are spiritually starving and gotten a taste a the Word of God.
Everything mentioned in these first few verses of 1 Samuel chapter 3, describe the scene.
One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters.
One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.
1 sam 3;
One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was.
1 sam 1
The old Priest Eli could barely see physically as well as spiritually. He was lying down, in his usual place. After so long, he was probably numb to the lack of vision. It has always been that way. It has been so long, he is just resigned to spiritual deadness and lack of vision. Just going through the motions, clicking off the days until retirement.
The old Priest Eli..He could barely see physically as well as spiritually. He was lying down.
The must be people that are crying out for spiritual food. Hungry, people who just want to hear from the Lord, something, anything
Have you ever been in that place of spiritual starvation? Where you just want something from God, anything, just a word, just a nod, a whisper, anything. Sometimes you come to that place of emptiness that place of brokeness, that you don’t even care anymore what the answer is anymore, you just want an answer.
There is good news, in the middle of that spiritual dryness in Israel there is hope
Yet in the middle of that, there is hope.
Yet there is hope.
Although Eli could barely see. He was not completely blind.
The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was.
The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was.
e was not blind
The Lamp of God had not yet gone out
The Lamp was in the house of the Lord and was required by the law to burn all night long. , Aaron is to tend the lamps from evening till morning continually.
Samuel was sleeping nearby to tend it.
In the house of the Lord where the ark of God was.
This is the First mention of the ark in 1 Sam.
This is where the 10 Commandments were kept. A Symbol of God’s covenant promise that He would not abandon his people.
God promised he would not abandon them.
Sometimes when we are spiritually starving we are thinking that God has abandon us. We are thinking that because God isn’t speaking to us, we are abandoned and we no longer His people.
Although God is displeased with Israel, although he is not speaking now. He has not abandoned them. He is still God of the promise. He is still the God of covenant, He is still God of the Ark.
God not speaking to Israel and lack of visions and word from the Lord are a sign of His displeasure.
Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
It looks like it
THEN THE LORD CALLED SAMUEL. Then, not before, Then. When the time was right, or not after the lamp had gone out, but just then. The Lord called Samuel.
We think that sometimes
Samuel answered but he thinks its Eli. Some sort of audible voice is speaking to Samuel, or at least nearly audible, and Samuel runs to Eli to see what he wants. Samuel runs to him twice.
Maybe, Eli regularly calls Samuel to get something for him at night, so perhaps Samuel is familiar with the hearing the calling of the older, failing priest. Samuel perhaps knows Eli’s voice, in the middle of night. Verse 7 gives us real the picture why Samuel keeps going to the priest.
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
The word of the Lord has not yet been revealed to Samuel. This is the difference in those other 2 characters from last week Hophni and Phinehas. Those two guys did not know the Lord, but for Samuel, it is He did not Yet know the Lord. Samuel will meet the Lord he just hasn’t yet. Can you think back of time when you didn’t know the Lord yet. Things seemed less clear. The Bible was maybe a guideline, nit someone you knew speaking to you.
Preaching was dull and boring. You certain couldn’t understand why anyone would want to spend their Sunday mornings in worship. Worship of who? When you don’t know the Lord, that is what is like.
You can’t recognize the voice of the Lord when it is calling you because you don’t know him.
It is a lot like being a parent. If you haven’t had kids you are going to have to trust us. Or, I guess this works with hearing your parents voice also. But here it is before you have kids, all crying children sound the same. All screaming kids sound like screaming kids. But then when you have a child you bring that child home. And at first you even out the crib right in your room, did you ever do that? And you got to know your child. Then pretty soon, as your child grew, you can pick your distinct child’s cry or scream out of a room full of kids. You can say yep that’s mine, or no that doesn’t sound like mine is it yours?
Or to take an illustration from the New Testament remember this in ?
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
Before the Word of God is revealed people are spiritually starving but they don’t even know what they are hungry for they just know they need something.
Samuel doesn’t yet know the Lord, so when it happens a third time Samuel does all he can do, he goes to the priest, his leader, the failing leader. Imagine this for a second, and I’ll bet some of you can.Have you ever been spiritually starving? Have you ever been desperate to hear from the Lord, so you go where? To church right? You go to a leader in the church, but the problem is he is a failing leader and he doesn’t help you. You leave just as famished as when you went in.The leaders too often haven’t heard from God themselves for a long time. In the case of Samuel, persistence pays off.
He goes back to the failing leader Eli, one more time. Eli perhaps has almost forgotten what the voice of the Lord sounds like. It must have not even been on his radar, right? Once is understandable, but twice? He should have known this faithful young man, the faithful offering of faithful Hannah, is in the House of the Lord at night and hears a voice. Eli should have suspected God. Finally though, the third time his memory is refreshed. Oh yeah, maybe it is God.
A third time the Lord calls Samuel. He does all he can do, he asks the priest, the one who hasn’t heard from the Lord in so long, he has almost forgotten what the voice of the Lord sounds like. I must have not even been on his radar, right? Once is understandable, twice ok something is going here. He should have rec mean two times this faithful young man, the faithful offering of faithful Hannah, is in the House of the Lord at night and hears a voice, and Eli doesn’t immediately recognize what is going on. Finally though after this happens twice, his memory is refreshed. Oh yeah, maybe it is God.
A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy.
He tells Samuel
A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Samuel, go back to your place in the house of the Lord, and let the Lord know you are listening.
The Lord meets with Samuel. Samuel says to the Lord Speak for your servant is listening, and God speaks to him, he delivers to Samuel a message of warning. It is essentially the same message that is back in chapter 2. The Lord said, that because Eli knew about the sin of his sons, and did nothing to restrain them, God was going to remove Eli’s family from the priesthood.
God is giving Samuel his first prophetic vision. A Prophet is one who carries a message from God. Often God’s message is a message of judgement. God announces a judgement and calls His people back to himself.
Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ ”
When the priests are treating the sacrifice, the very method designed to bring people to God with contempt how can they come to God? The writer of Hebrews is getting at this very thing.
but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
This is a hard message for
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
Once Hophni and Phinehas heard the truth of God, they needed to do something about it, and they didn’t. So, God gave this message of judgement, to Samuel.
The young Samuel does not want to break the bad news to Eli, but Eli presses him. What is it? What is it that God said? So Samuel tells him, that God is going to remove his family from the priesthood.
So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”
Eli understands. He doesn’t react with anger, like Hophni and Phinehas did, He reacts with submission, and humility to the Lord. He is the Lord, let him do what is good in his eyes.
Samuel has delivered God’s message to Eli, now he has been commissioned as a prophet.
The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.
The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.
The Lord came to Samuel. Samuel knows the Lord, and has been established as a prophet of the Lord, his words are effective. And the Lord reveals himself to Samuel, through his word. God’s word is established in Israel, and the famine has ended.
This isn’t the only time in history that there has been a spiritual famine. The time between the testaments was a well known time when God was silent. The nation of Israel did not hear from God for 400 years, until the light shown in the darkness, unitl the word became flesh and dwelt among us, until mankind had the ability to know God like never before. Until we could meet God personally and in the flesh the Lord Jesus Christ became man and dwelt among us. Jesus, the perfect priest, the word of God made flesh. God speaks to us today by the Holy Spirit through the revealed word of God.
Many people today are starving for a spiritual experience before they will believe, or listen. God has spoken to us. He has sent Jesus, He has given us His word, but we need to listen. Speak Lord for your servants are listening.
Spiritual famines are occuring are right here in Faribault.
Jesus, the perfect priest, the word of God made flesh. God speaks to us today by the Holy Spirit through the revealed word of God. Many people today are starving for a spiritual experience before they will believe, or listen. God has spoken to us. He has sent Jesus, He has given us His word, but we need to listen. Speak Lord for your servants are listening.
When we are in a spiritual famine, weather individually or as a community of believers we need to seek after the Lord, through his word. We must go to his word expecting to hear from God, we must enter into worship expecting to hear from God.
As bad as the situation was for Israel, as far as they walked from God the lamp did not go out. In spite of, no in the middle of failed priests God’s word still stood firm, and God was still faithful to them, and He is still faithful today.
You will encounter failed complacent, and lazy, leaders that do not know the Lord. That will happen, and they will have to answer to God for those actions. Do not expect a word from God from them, do not put your trust in them but turn to God. Turn to God to feed your spiritual hunger.
God and his word stand firm. We have been given the opportunity to know the God of the universe through his Son Jesus Christ the perfect High Priest. This relationship with Him will end the spiritual famine. Turn from your sins and be saved, Hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ as he calls you turn from your sins and be saved.