1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20) (NRSV)
Chapter 3Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. Verse 2At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; Verse 3the 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. Verse 4Then the Lord called, "Samuel! Samuel!" and he said, "Here I am!" Verse 5and 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. Verse 6The Lord called again, "Samuel!" Samuel got up 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." Verse 7Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. Verse 8The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Verse 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, 'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Verse 10Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
Verse 11Then the Lord said to Samuel, "See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. Verse 12On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. Verse 13For I have told 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. Verse 14Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever." Verse 15Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. Verse 16But Eli called Samuel and said, "Samuel, my son." He said, "Here I am." Verse 17Eli said, "What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you." Verse 18So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, "It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him."
Verse 19As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. Verse 20And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.
The High Priest Eli, an old man with his lineage condemned, is with the young boy, Samuel, who has been dedicated to serve in God’s house. Samuel comes to him in the middle of the night asking, “Did you call me?” Eli had not. After three times of this, Eli recognized that the Lord was speaking to Samuel. The old man instructed him to listen for what the Lord had to say. Samuel did and passed on the Lord’s message to Eli. Eli faithfully accepted the message that the end of his lineage in the priesthood was confirmed, and Samuel went on to become a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.
In later life we need to come to terms with our life as lived. It’s hard. We can’t change the past. So what will we do?
Lord Jesus Christ, when we may see a difficult ending to our life, give us grace to encourage the young among us to listen for your call. Amen.