So yesterday, my wife Kitty and I had the opportunity to teach the Second Graders during Children’s Church. We were teaching through 1 Samuel 3. The point of the lesson was that “God speaks” and therefore we should “listen for him.”
We were blessed to be able to share with the kids what the Lord had taught us and we’d be blessed to share that with you now too.
“Hear my voice…”
Over the years there are few themes or points that I believe the Holy Spirit has more impressed on me in the Scriptures than the importance of “hearing his voice.” From Genesis to Revelation you will see this theme played out continually. It’s the same in 1 Samuel 3.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”Romans 10:17
“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”Genesis 3:8
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”John 10:27
“20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’””Revelation 3:20-22
“6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”Proverbs 2:6
The knowledge of God comes by hearing his voice. We know the Lord because he has spoken to our spirit by His Spirit.
“10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”1 Corinthians 2:10
A King’s Right
A second theme that is frequently coupled with “hearing his voice” is the idea of what is called “Divine Right”. Divine Right is the idea that King Jesus is sovereign and simply by nature of him being who he is, namely the Creator and sustainer of all things, he is righteously entitled to do according to the council of his Father’s perfect will. This has particular application in his revelation of himself to man. Man does not, in fact he can not, “find” God; on the contrary, all men must “receive Christ” as he initiates action and reveals himself to man.
5I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
6that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7I form light and create darkness;
I make well-being and create calamity;
I am the LORD, who does all these things.Isaiah 45:5-7
“For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”Romans 9:15
But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.Galatians 3:22
The knowledge of God is the free gift of God. But it is a a gift that is GIVEN. The Giver of the gift initiates the giving, not the receiver of the gift.
Said another way, the boy pursues the girl. Not the other way around. 😉
Finally a third theme that runs the breath of Scripture is the omnipresence of the Trinity. Where ever the Father is, there also is the Son and the Spirit. Where ever the Son is there also is the Father and the Spirit. Where ever the Spirit is there also is the Father and the Son.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.””John 13:20
Trying to convey this final theme to Second Graders was… difficult. So we taught ’em a $4 word.
A Christophany is an “appearance of Christ”. And Christ appears in the Old Testament long before his birth of the virgin Mary.
The most common examples of Christophanies in the Old Testament are Melchizedek and The Angel of the Lord. But those are only two of many and I believe another can be found here in 1 Samuel 3.
Three Themes, One Story
So let’s take a look at 1 Samuel 3 and see how these three themes all appear in this one chapter.
Pay special attention to theses words in the folllowing text: “word”, “sight”, “called”, “know”, “revealed”, “hear”.
In verse 1 we read that the “word” of the Lord was rare in those days. In John 1 we read that Jesus Christ is the “Word”.
In verse 2 we see that Eli’s sight was growing dim so that he could not see. It’s my faith that this is a picture of God’s judgement of Eli and all men who reject his voice.
The second theme of Divine Right comes in here. Again and again and again, you will see the themes of hearing and sight played out in Scripture. I believe there is a fundamental message that God is sharing in these themes and that is the idea of initiation and Divine Right.
“Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see.”Hebrews 11:1
Faith comes by hearing and not by sight. Faith is the assurance of what we know we have heard, what he have hoped for, NOT what we see.
Why hearing and sight juxtaposed in such a way?
Because hearing must be RECEIVED by the hearer while sight, in the eyes of the seer is an act of self initiation.
In order for man to hear God’s voice, God first must initiate reconciliation by speaking a word that man may RECEIVE in his ears, a thing that has been GIVEN, a word spoken by another.
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.1 John 2:16
On the contrary, in the eyes are the PRIDE of life. When a man opens his eyes, he initiates action. He takes survey of what is before him and determines it’s measure. And in all his hubris man, a creature from the dirt, presumes he would survey God Almighty and find him of his own volition? Never.
The knowledge of God must be RECEIVED from God. God initiates. Not man. All of man’s initiatives are works of the flesh, the pride of life, and God will not allow man to boast before him.
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”Matthew 23:12
So it is, God displays this Divine Right in how he reveals himself to man. God initiates reconciliation between himself and a fallen world. Man will never reconcile himself to God by his own volition. And God shows us this truth in the themes of hearing and seeing throughout the Scriptures.
Start to look for this theme in the Scriptures. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal this to you and you will begin to see it everywhere, from the beginning to the end.
So back to 1 Samuel 3. In verse 7 we see that Samuel, who had been “hearing” the Lord call his name, yet he did not yet “know” the Lord because the Lord had not yet been “revealed” to him.
It wasn’t until Eli, perceiving that the voice Samuel was hearing was in fact the Lord’s that he rightly instructed Samuel that if he heard the voice again to respond with, “Speak Lord, for your servant hears.”
Read that again carefully.
In that simple statement what has Samuel done? He’s acknowledged that he has heard the Lord and that the Lord is Lord and that He, a mere man, is his servant. Samuel humbled himself before the Lord upon hearing the Lord’s voice. And as soon as he did, the Lord appeared to him.
Look at verse 10. “And the Lord came and STOOD, calling as at other times, Samuel!, Samuel!” to which Samuel replied “Speak Lord for your servant hears.”
And this is how salvation works for us all. We HEAR the word of Truth, Christ himself speaking to our spirits by the Holy Spirit and we are born again, born into his kingdom, servants of Christ the King, God Most High.
It was the same for Samuel as it is for us! What’s incredible though about Samuel’s experience was that the Lord himself came and “stood” in his presence as he revealed himself to Samuel.
This is a Christophany.
Christ before he was manifested in the flesh in the virgin birth, manifested himself to Samuel, just as he had to Abraham (Melchizedek) and Jacob (The Angle of the Lord with whom he wrestled) before him.
Now skip down to 1 Samuel 3:21 for confirmation of this Christophany.
21And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.1 Samuel 3:21
The passage says plainly, the Lord “appeared” “AGAIN” at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel. This confirms what we read in verse 10. The Lord appeared to Samuel as he stood in his presence. Now look at this, how did the Lord reveal himself to Samuel? By the “word” of the Lord. By the WORD. That “word” is Christ Jesus the Lord, the Logos of whom John wrote in his gospel!
“1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life,a and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 9The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11He came to his own,b and his own peoplec did not receive him. 12But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Sond from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15(John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.e 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God; the only God,f who is at the Father’s side,g he has made him known.”John 1:1-18
“For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.”Hebrews 4:2
By the way, the place where the Lord revealed himself to Samuel a second time. It’s called Shiloh. Shiloh, comes from the Hebrew root word for “tranquil” or “secure, safe”. When we come to finally know Jesus he give us his peace; we know tranquility, security and safety in his arms.
A Solemn Warning
Now a word of solemnly warning. In 1 Samuel 3:13 the Lord explains how he will punish Eli’s house forever because of how his sons blasphemed God.
“And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.”1 Samuel 3:13
It’s my faith that this blaspheming is the same blasphemy that Jesus spoke of in Mark 3:29
28“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”Mark 3:29
The Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Spirit. The Father and the Son so love the Spirit that the only sin which finds no forgiveness is the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit. Let that sink in for a moment.
The Father and Son are very serious about their desire for man to hear and heed the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Look further in Mark and in chapter 4:21-25 Jesus repeats this admonition.
“21Jesus also said to them, “Does anyone bring in a lamp to put it under a basket or under a bed? Doesn’t he set it on a stand? 22For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light. 23If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24He went on to say, “Pay attention to what you hear. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and even more will be added to you. 25For whoever has will be given more. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.””Mark 4:21-25
Eli’s eye sight was growing dim but the lamp of God had not yet gone out. Eventually the Lord removed his lamp from Eli and his house forever because they blasphemed God. They rejected his voice and so even what they did not have, heeding the Spirit’s voice, was ultimately taken away.
Samuel on the contrary, humbled himself before God, heard his sweet voice and responded with a contrite heart and acknowledgement of the Lord as God as he was led, as a true prophet, by the voice of God Almighty.
If you hear God’s voice do not harden you heart. Fear not his voice, learn to love and follow it wherever He leads you.
Grace and peace to you all in Jesus’ name.