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The Lord Calls Samuel

1Samuel 3:1  Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. 
1Sa 3:2  At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 
1Sa 3:3  The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 
1Sa 3:4  Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” 
1Sa 3:5  and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 
1Sa 3:6  And the LORD called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 
1Sa 3:7  Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 
1Sa 3:8  And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. 
1Sa 3:9  Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 
1Sa 3:10  And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 

Let the Children Come to Me

Mark 10:13  And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 
Mar 10:14  But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 
Mar 10:15  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. 
Mar 10:16  And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. 

Mar 10:14 “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 

Introduction:

It is one thousand-one hundred years before Jesus – and the Children of Israel are in chaos. They are a loose collection of tribes, who from time to time come together under a temporary leaders called “Judges” - most often for protection against the Philistines who lived on the coast.

Because the Philistines had perfected the art of iron casting, they were able to make wheels and other tools which gave them superiority in their war against the descendants of Jacob. In addition, these Israelites had lost their faith in God and now worshipped the fertility god Baal.

And we are told this: 1Sa 3: And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. 

The Children of Israel are defeated, fragmented – and faithless. 
Perhaps we can identify with this – perhaps there are

  • Some of us who feel defeated and demoralized
  • Some who might be living with a family that feels fragmented
  • Some who are feeling faithless….

Take us to the one bit of good news in our Bible Story: His name was Samuel: I want to invite us to look at Samuel to discover some Godly principles that can offer us encouragement, hope…. And a challenge.

God wanted Samuel in the Temple:

Samuel was the son of Elkanah and Hannah; this couple had placed him in the temple to be educated by the High Priest.
Samuel arrived at the age of three. 1 Samuel 3 vs 3 tells us that his bed was alongside the Ark of the Covenant. Samuel was never chased out of the temple because he was a child – in fact he slept in the holiest place.
Samuel became a sign of God’s presence in a faithless world.
Jesus says the same thing: “Let the children come to me…they are a sign of the Kingdom of God”.
Remember the first time you held your child – knew that God had touched your life!
Here is the truth of our faith…..Our children can help us to catch a glimpse of the presence of God.
For this reason: Pray with your children – and Let your children pray for you, sing spiritual songs with our children. .
For this reason our children are welcome in our worship:
Samuel lived next to the altar - Let us not banish our children from the presence of God:

God used Samuel to Speak Truth

To go back to the story: not only were the people of God in disarray - but the high priest’s family were running the temple as a family business. Eli, the high priest, had two sons, named Hophni and Phinehas. They were priests in the temple, but instead of leading the prayers, helped themselves to the food that was brought for sacrifices, and the helped themselves to the women who came to pray at the temple.

There came a point then God had had enough of this – and we read that God decided to send a preacher to speak to Eli about his sons: and it is at this point that the story takes a turn: because the preacher that God called was an 11 year old boy. He wears a simple linen tunic, assists in the things that needed to be done in the temple – basically a servant to Eli.  Out of all the people descended from Abraham – God chooses this one!

And God told 11 year old Samuel to confront the corruption.

Here is the core of our faith: our age does not qualify us to hear God. Instead God calls the willing heart.

Perhaps instead of brushing our children aside – we might take time to listen to their perspectives. Sometimes we don’t like hearing the truth from our children and we say things like “Don’t be cheeky”- Remember: They can speak truth into our lives.

Psalm 8:2  Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. 

Just as God used the boy Samuel – so God can use our children too

Samuel met God at the Altar

My final thought:
Where was Samuel when God spoke to him?
In the Sanctuary…
With the Ark of the Covenant….
At the Altar.

God touched Samuel’s life at the sacred place of worship.

The disciples chased children away because they believed them to be too young to meet Jesus. Then Jesus responds: “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them”. 

God touches the lives of our children in the sacred places of our sanctuary:

  • Just like God touches our lives in the prayers and the hymns – so God can touch the lives of our children in their prayers and songs
  • Just like God touches our lives at the Communion rail – so God can touch the lives of our children when they come to the rail.

And:

  • Just like God can touch our lives through the broken bread and the poured wine – so God can touch the lives of our children in the sacrament of Holy Communion. .

In Conclusion:

Children teach us lessons about the Kingdom of God.

  1. Children are welcome in God’s Presence
  2. Children can speak a word from God to us.
  3. Children too can meet God in the sacred places.

For this reason the Methodist Church welcomes children to worship, and especially welcomes children to be part of our sacred space in Holy Communion. The whole family is welcome to Holy Communion….

But in the same way that Eli taught Samuel how to respond to God – so we need to teach our children.

  • Teach them how to pray before a meal
  • Teach them to sing our spiritual songs
  • And teach them how to take Holy Communion:

I have invited our children’s church to join us today for Holy Communion: Look for your children – invite them to take Holy Communion with you.

If they do not have anyone – then adopt a child!

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)