Thursday, 11th March 2021
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
I Samuel 3 Listen! The Servant must Listen!
The Books of Samuel are the Books of Prophets and in Chapter 3, it talks about what happened after Hannah offered her son, Samuel, to the Temple of God. Even though at the time Samuel was Hannah’s only son, and it seemed to the world that she would have no children left, but she was still willing to give Samuel to God, then God blessed Hannah with more children!
When we offer to God, what faith and attitude do we bring? Do we think that once we offered to God we will be in lacking? No! God is a gracious God, He will visit us, care for us and bless us!
At the time of I Samuel 3, people did not want to go to the Temple of God. Because of the corrupt sons of Eli, people abhorred going to the Temple of God. But Hannah did not see any of these things, she still trust in God no matter how the people acted. We come to church and we serve in the church also not because of how good the church is or how great the church leader is! It should be by our simple heart to come before God to respond to Him.
Section One: V1-9 Listen but not Understand
V1 “the word of the Lord was rare in those days”. Samuel was serving in the Temple of God but he did not know God. It is also a common scene of churches nowadays, people came to make offering, to ask God to do what they wanted from God. David said in the Books of Psalms that we should come to the Temple of God to worship Him and to see what Heaven is like! However, we bring the world into the Temple.
Jesus said in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘may Your Kingdome come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven’. If we only come to the Temple to ask for the things we want, then what are we different to those who worship in the temple of idols? Our attitude and our prayers were wrong. God is not here to do our work for us, He wants us to do His Work! We must listen as we come to the Temple of God, because when the word of God is rare, we will not know God and have no vision to guide us, then we will just do as we please! This is why even though we only have few people in church, we still hold on to have morning prayers to the know the word of God.
V2 Eli was the priest, but he was in his own place. The lamp of God should not be put out but there was no priest there to watch the lamp! Samuel did not know about this so he went to sleep. Is the lamp inside of us being put out? We need to let the lamp of God to be lit forever, His Word is the lamp to our feet and the light of our way! The Word of God cannot leave us!
V4-9 At the beginning Samuel did not know God, so he went to find Eli, who taught him how to answer God, “Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears”. If we want to hear from God, we need to humble and lower ourselves before Him.
We listen but we don’t understand, because 1) we don’t have the Word of God in our lives, 2) we don’t know God, and 3) we are not humble to lower ourselves before Him!
Section Two: V10-14 Listen and Respond
V10 God did not speak much at the beginning, He only called the name of Samuel. When Samuel responded then God spoke even more.
The word “stood” appears 4 times in the original text of the Old Testament, the other 3 times are from:
* Exodus 19:17 – “And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.”
* Exodus 34:5 – “Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.”
* Numbers 23:3 – Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand by your burnt offering, and I will go; perhaps the Lord will come to meet me, and whatever He shows me I will tell you.” So he went to a desolate height.
When the verses talked about the Lord ‘stood’ there, it means God stands together with His people, God is on our side. God did not only just stand there by Samuel’s bed, but He stood with Samuel and backed him up. God was on Samuel’s side, so he was not alone.
V11-14 at that time Eli’s family was highly respected by the people because of their priesthood as the connection between God and people. But they sinned against God, so God told Samuel about the problems of his earthly master / authority. When we are willing to humble and respond to God, He will speak to us, even great things like this.
Section Three: V15-21 Listen and Act
Samuel was too afraid to tell Eli what God said to him, but when Eli asked, he told him everything. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let Him do what is good in His eyes.” As a priest, Eli needed to stand in the gap and pray for the people. Moses prayed for the Israelites when God wanted to curse them, and Abraham prayed for the city of Sodom when God wanted to destroy it! But Eli’s attitude was not serious, he did not humble himself and repent before God just like those people in the city of Nineveh did.
If God wanted to destroy anyone, He did not have to tell anyone beforehand, He could just do it straightaway. But God told His people about the coming judgement for a purpose. Today God put us in South Auckland not just for us to sit here and do nothing. He wants us to bring the Gospel and Salvation to the world, even to those who we do not want to love!!
Eli did not love his sons because he allowed them to despise God and did not teach them, guide them to the right path. God brings people to us but we allow them to do whatever they want to do. We do not tell them the truth because we fear people instead of God, we are unwilling to confess for our wrongdoings, but God wants us to repent and return!
V19 when Samuel grew up, God was with him. Why was it important to have the presence of God? It is to “let none of his words fall to the ground”, and everyone in Israel knew Samuel was the Prophet appointed by God. Our position is not from people but from God. Can we bear fruits for God? Can we multiply and lead people to God?
We need to listen and act out for God, do not fear people but only fear God. Simple be like Samuel, say to God, “I am here, I am willing.”
Pursuit & Respond
The Holy Spirit is talking each of God’s children today. Let us put our hands on our ears as a prophetic act, to see that it was the nailed hands of Jesus on our ears, helping to heal our ears so that we can listen. We admit our problems of not able to listen to God and we lift up all these to God. He is here and He will heal us.
Lord Jesus, open our ears so we can listen! Take away all the obstacles that disable us to listen, to understand, to respond and to act out. We are not worthy, we have sinned against You, against our authority and against people. But today we hear, and we ask for Your forgiveness, help us to repent and return, and live by faith. You are our King and our Lord, take us to experience You more and more! Let none of Your promises for our church fall to the ground! Help us to offer for You and to live for You! Amen!
在前一章，当哈拿把当时唯一的儿子撒母耳献给神后，看起来好像是什么都没有的，但神是信实良善的阿爸父，他“眷顾”哈拿（21节） – 就是不断去造访哈拿，看到哈拿里面的需求，所以哈拿就又怀孕、生儿育女。当我们愿意为神摆上，他也会不断来造访、眷顾我们，更多祝福我们。第2章也同时记载了同一时期的背景，就是以利两个儿子的恶行使当时的以色列人厌弃去神的殿给耶和华献祭。然而，哈拿不看这些表面的东西，她仍然每年忠心去献祭祷告。神喜悦哈拿，因为她不看重人所看重的东西，只是单单地敬拜神，就好像耶稣的母亲马利亚那样。我们来到教会的态度是否能像哈拿那样呢？我们来到教会服事神，不是去看这里硬件条件的好坏或者这里的人有多爱我们，而是单纯来回应神。
V2-3，耶和华殿内的灯本来是不能被熄灭，是由祭司来负责的，但撒母耳睡在那里，而以利身为大祭司，却躺卧在自己的地方，由此可以看出他们次序颠倒。撒母耳不懂规矩，因为还不认识神。我们是否有谦卑心承认自己不懂，我们是否也是这样睡去，没有去看守神殿里的灯，而是任意妄为？我们是否在乎神殿里的灯。神让我们知道我们身份的重要 – 要让神的灯永远点亮-因为神的话语是我们脚前的灯，路上的光，不能离开我们。
V8-9, 耶和华如此呼唤了撒母耳三次，以利才明白这是神在呼唤他，就教导撒母耳该如何回答神: “耶和华啊，请说，仆人敬听。”我们若想听，就要虚心，将我们的身份降下来。
3）民数记23:3 – 巴兰对巴勒说：“你站在你的燔祭旁边，我且往前去，或者耶和华来迎见我。他指示我什么，我必告诉你。”于是巴兰上一净光的高处。
撒母耳睡到天亮，因为害怕，就没有跟以利讲神的默示。但是以利要求撒母耳跟他说明，于是撒母耳将一切的话毫无隐瞒的告诉了他。以利听到后就说“…愿他凭自己的意旨而行”。这话表面看上去好像没什么问题，但一个祭司的责任是要为人代求 – 好像摩西为犯罪的以色列人俯伏祈求，亚伯拉罕因为神要灭绝所多玛城而祷告，以及约拿去尼尼微城宣告神的审判。神会因人的祷告悔改而改变原本的心意。然而，以利面对神的审判，态度却是若无其事，没有好像尼尼微城的人那样撕裂衣服、禁食认罪。其实神如果要毁灭任何一个人，他根本不需要跟人提前说明，他直接施行审判就好了，但神真正的心意不是如此。当耶稣基督说他要再来这里审判世界的时候，我们不是只是坐在这里等他来，而是要行出马太福音28章的教导，将福音传给那些我们觉得不配的人，不要整天只觉得自己受伤，无法爱别人。