Prophetic Words

The story of little Samuel responding to God’s word is well known to anyone with just a cursory understanding of the Bible.  However, why did God give his word to Samuel in this way?  It seems that God was about a renewing work and Samuel was to be a central figure.  God’s truth was to be revealed to him and he was to speak it to the people of Israel so that they were informed and transformed.

Today we have prophets.  Prophets are those who speak God’s word so that we are informed and transformed.  The Bible provides us with transforming truth that can serve as prophesy for everyone.  Also, some people have a gift for speaking the truth into situations.  They provide insight and they explain the need for change.  The inability to change has sometimes been a definition of pride.  Pride says that we have arrived and we become callused and unable to move deeper with God.  Eli’s response to Samuel sounds like submission, but it has no plan for change.

As God’s word is revealed to you from others and from the Bible, are you able to make changes?  What changes have you made recently to move closer to the life God wants for you?

1 Samuel 3:1 – 4:1

1The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.

 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 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. 4Then the LORD called Samuel.

   Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

   But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

 6Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

   “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

 7Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

 8A 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. 9So 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.

 10The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

   Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

 11 And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God,[a] and he failed to restrain them. 14Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

 15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.”

   Samuel answered, “Here I am.”

 17 “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” 18So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes.”

 19 The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD. 21 The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.

1 And Samuel’s word came to all Israel.

Questions

  1. What is said about the word of the LORD in this passage?
  2. How is it ironic that Samuel hears God’s word and Eli does not?
  3. What does the passage reveal about who God chooses to speak to and through?
  4. How can we develop a posture in reading God’s word where it leads to real change?
  5. How can we distinguish God’s voice from the many other voices that are in our lives?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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12 Responses to Prophetic Words

  1. Jessica Gentry says:

    1. The Word of the Lord is said to have not been revealed to Samuel at first, then once revealed to him it was said that none of the Word of the Lord fell to the ground, but all came true and was fulfilled, then in it was stated that the Word of the Lord came to all of Israel.
    2. It is ironic that Samuel hears God’s word and Eli does not when Samuel didn’t even know that it was the Lord calling him, and Eli did. Plus, Samuel ministered beneath Eli.
    3. This passage reveals that God may can choose to speak to and through whomever he wants to, but often we see that He uses the lowly and the humble to shame the wise, and so He speaks through His unexpected servants.
    4.We can develop a posture in reading Scripture that leads to real change by not only desiring the words of God but God himself, and therefore taking His Word as the endall for our lives, not as a suggestion.
    5.We can distinguish God’s voice from all of the other voices we hear we build a relationship with Him through the Scripture, and we learn to identify Him and His ways.

  2. Melisa Guiles says:

    1. The passage says that it was rare for someone to hear from the Lord and to receive a vision from Him.
    2. It is ironic because Eli is the priest and the one that ministers before the Lord while Samuel does not know the Lord.
    3. It shows that God does not always use those that we would expect. He didn’t use the man who had the position, but the boy who was simply a helper to Eli.
    4. We need to preface it with prayer and take the time to allow the Holy Spirit to convict us instead of simply reading it through very fast. Prayer needs to be central while we are reading God’s word.
    5. I think we can distinguish God’s voice by knowing the Scriptures. God’s voice will never contradict what He has said in His word.

  3. Rebecca Langer says:

    1.What is said about the word of the LORD in this passage?
    It is something that is revealed.
    2.How is it ironic that Samuel hears God’s word and Eli does not?
    Because Eli is supposed to be this high priest, and Samuel is just a boy.
    3.What does the passage reveal about who God chooses to speak to and through?
    God speaks to the humble and the lowly. Not the proud. To those who will hear.
    4.How can we develop a posture in reading God’s word where it leads to real change?
    By just listenning. By meditating to what he has to say.
    5.How can we distinguish God’s voice from the many other voices that are in our lives?
    By seeing how it lines up with the Word of God: The Bible.

  4. Amy Kringle says:

    1. The Word of the Lord was audibly spoken.
    2. Because Eli is a priest.
    3. God is not limited to speaking to only those who hold a religious position, rather, he chooses those that have a humble heart and are willing to follow him in their deeds.
    4. By realizing that the Words are very real and that we are not taking his Word to heart if we only read them without doing them.
    5. We should measure all other voices in our life against the wisdom of God’s Word.

  5. Grace Yoo says:

    1. In the passage, it says that the word of Lord was very rare.

    2. It is ironic that Samuel heard God’s word because he was just a regular boy while Eli was a high priest.

    3. This passage reveals that God does not only speak to the people with lots of faith or a special position. God speaks to and calls to people who are considered “normal” or lay people.

    4. We can develop a posture in reading God’s word by actually meditating on the Word. Although it is written and not audibly heard, it is still very real.

    5. We can distinguish God’s voice from others because God’s voice will agree with the Bible and it will always be a good thing rather than a bad thing.

  6. 1. That it was not an every-day occurrence for it to be heard.
    2. Samuel was lesser of the two… Eli was in higher authority.
    3. God always uses the less powerful as His tools… that’s how we see His strength; through the weakness of the one, so that He will appear mighty.
    4. By reading it and then praying about it.
    5. By praying about it above all else.

  7. Sokloon Dy (Lizzy) says:

    1. that it was rare.
    2. Eli was a priest, while Samuel was just a boy.
    3. God chooses whoever He wants to. Also, it does not matter if youre the greatest or the least.
    4. we can read God’s Word everyday and try to practice what we learn from it.
    5. God’s voice agrees with the Bible, but the voice of the world agrees with sin.

  8. [ED2203-01] HyeJin Lee says:

    1.What is said about the word of the LORD in this passage?
    – It was actually spoken, and rare.
    2.How is it ironic that Samuel hears God’s word and Eli does not?
    – It is ironic because Eli was the high priest and Samuel was being educated under Eli.
    3.What does the passage reveal about who God chooses to speak to and through?
    – God does not see one’s position, but the heart of man.
    4.How can we develop a posture in reading God’s word where it leads to real change?
    – We should try to keep our thoughts full of God’s word so that we can act by those words.
    5.How can we distinguish God’s voice from the many other voices that are in our lives?
    – I think we can distinguish God’s voice from the many other voices when the voice matches with the Bible, and we should pray for Holy Spirit to help us realize.

  9. aaron wright says:

    1. the Word was heard by Samuel.
    2. because Eli was Samuels teacher
    3. Doesn’t matter anyones status. God calls those who he desires
    4. being willing to change despite whether its easy or hard
    5. is it biblical or is it just human advice

  10. Moon [ED 2203;Mon 6:00pm class] says:

    1.What is said about the word of the LORD in this passage?
    the word of the Lord is said Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering due to the sin
    2.How is it ironic that Samuel hears God’s word and Eli does not? Eli was the high priest but God chose Samuel and spoke to him not to Eli
    3.What does the passage reveal about who God chooses to speak to and through? God chooses to speak to those who is faithfully follow Him
    4.How can we develop a posture in reading God’s word where it leads to real change?. we should remind God is continually speaking to His children and it is through the Bible. we can develop a posture in reading His word, as we take the Bible as His true words and pray to God to help us to understand the Words
    5.How can we distinguish God’s voice from the many other voices that are in our lives? based on the Bible. also we believe today only the Bible is absolute inspired by God and He speaks to us clearly through the Bible

  11. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) Eli teaches Samuel that the word of the Lord is serious and sacred, and we learn from this passage the truth that everything God’s is going to take place will.
    2) It’s ironic because samuel is Eli’s apprentice, so to speak. Eli is the Priest who should be most in tune with the Lord, but it is actually Samuel who hears God’s voice.
    3) God uses the people who are closest to Him, not those who have the highest spiritual status on earth.
    4) We must meditate on God’s word and not skim pasages quickly.
    5) By analysing the voices with the Bible.

  12. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. It is said that the word of the LORD came to all Israel.
    2. It is ironic that Samuel heard God’s word and Eli does not because Samuel is just a boy, and Eli is the adult, the one that you would think would be the one God spoke to.
    3. This passage reveals that God chooses people who we don’t think are able or likely to be chosen, but God knows them and has a plan for them.
    4. We can develop a posture in reading God’s word where it leads to real change by listening to what He is saying to us and being willing and open to receive His word.
    5. We have to listen carefully to God’s voice, and pray for God to speak to us and reveal Himself to us so that we can know it is Him.

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