Thursday, November 15, 2012

LXXXVI - Chapter 3 - Samual Grows Up

Chapter 3 - God calls Samual

It's likely that Samual is now about twelve years old, being raised all that time by the priest Eli.  {I failed to mention in the previous post that Eli must have been led by the Spirit to agree to raise Samual.  Eli was the High Priest at that time and dwelt near the tabernacle.  Although Samual was a committed Nazarite, he was an Ephraimite, not a Levite, which would have disqualified him from becoming Eli's replacement.  And he did not replace him as priest, but rather became a prophet for the entire nation Israel.  A Prophet is a Spokesman for God.}

In verse 1 it says there were not many visions in those days, which is telling us that these people have all but put God out of their lives.  (Sound familiar?)  We see in the first four verses that the time is right for God to involve Himself directly in the nation Israel.  Four reasons:  1) the decline of the priesthood as evidenced by Hophni and Phinehas's corrupt behavior, 2) the lack or absence of any prophetic word, 3) immorality and idolatry has spun out of control, and 4) Eli's approaching death.

Verse 3 - The day's activities had been completed.  Eli and Samual had retired to their dwelling places for the night.  Then the Lord called Samual.  Samual of course assumed it was Eli and ran to him to see what he wanted.  But Eli told him he did not call for him and sent him back to bed.  This happened again and Eli sent Samual back to bed again.  Then in verse 8 God calls Samual a third time, and Samual ran to Eli again.  This time Eli perceived that it might be God, so he instructed Samual that if it happens again, say "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening".  So when Samual went back to bed,  God called him and Samual responded as Eli instructed him.

Vss 11-14  -  God's message to Samual was brief.  He was about to bring judgement on Israel and on the house of Eli.  It says in verse 11 that what God is about to do to Israel is so startling that "the ears of everyone who hears about it will tingle".  Verse 12 states that all of the circumstances recounted in 2:27-36 finally would come to the house of Eli.  The judgement was because of the sins of Eli's sons, Hophni adn Phinehas.  But secondly, it was because Eli tolerated his children's sins.  Because of this, Eli would suffer along with his sons (vs 13).  Verse 14 is striking.  In it God says that He swears to the house of Eli, "The guilt of Eli's house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering".  In no uncertain terms, this verse tells us just how serious the situation with the priesthood had become.  {God hates corruption wherever it exists, but this wasn't just anywhere.  It was in His tabernacle, defiling the very thing God wanted to remain holy and pure.}  Verse 15 - Samual went back to sleep and got up in the morning going about his regular assigned duties.  But he was afraid to tell Eli what God had said because the judgement was so severe against Eli and his family.  But, as you would suspect, Eli was very anxious to hear what God had told Samual and approached him about it in verse 17.  Samual told Eli what God said He was going to do with Eli and his family.  Eli said in so many words, "so be it".  {Eli could not have been surprised, and he accepted the inevitable.  He knew what his sons had been doing and that he did little or nothing to correct them.  If you've studied the Law closely, you would know what Eli was supposed to do if his sons would not obey his words.  The Law was clear on this:  He was to give them over to the elders at the city gate and the two would have beened stoned to death.  The crime for which they would have been executed was not theft inside the tabernacle, but rather for disobedience to their father.  This offense was not taken lightly.  Sounds cruel, but in this instance, the priesthood was at stake.  The actions of these two men made the entire nation of Israel disrespect the sanctity of the priesthood that God Himself established.  Think about this.  This is no small deal.}  In the remaining verses of this chapter 3, much time is passed as it tells that Samual grew up and God let none of Samual's words "hit the ground".  This means that God made sure that Samual was established as a true prophet.  As will be studied later, a true prophet is one who's prophesies ALWAYS come true.  Many self-proclaimed prophets are exposed by that fact that some of their prophesies are proven false.  A true prophet appointed and annointed by God is flawless.  This always takes quite a number of years to establish itself, as much prophesy was given years, if not decades or centuries, in advance.  Verse 20 tells us that Samual was recognized as God's spokesman from Dan to the north, to Beer-Sheba to the extreme south of the Promised Land.  Not only did God annoint Samual and gave him prophesy concerning Eli and the Philistines, but all this time God continually appeared to Samual.

Next post:  The Philistines Continue to be a Problem

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