Date: 31 Dec 2002
Time: 15:12:48

Comment

Language experts, in verse 3:19 Does the "his" refer to samuels words or the Lord's words or are they one and the same? Nancy-WI


Date: 07 Jan 2003
Time: 18:16:34

Comment

It seems to me that both Samuel and Nathanuel were both men whose word could be trusted. Jesus said of Nathanuel, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" and Samuel is described as "a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.None of his words fell to the ground" How important it is, that as Christians, our word can be trusted. This fits in with the Epistle. Andrea.


Date: 12 Jan 2003
Time: 02:51:01

Comment

It seems to me that Eli represents most of us - professional clergy who though we say, don't really expect God to act! We are as full of amnesia as our people. Eli does not expect the word of the Lord and the shrine at Shiloh has become only a place of shelter from the heat of the day or the rains. The temple has become a place of business and inquity, and no longer a place where God may be met. Now when Samuel hears God speak to him, Eli is filled with fear. He doesn't want to know what is going on, and he is afraid to ask Samuel because God is speaking his doom, his end.

What is it for us to hear the voice of God? Does it always come as a comforting word, or does it cause us in the very center of our lives to tremble. We can be assured of God's voice when it subverts our very desires and opens us to something greater.

tom in ga


Date: 13 Jan 2003
Time: 07:34:11

Comment

But Eli does want to hear- it is Samuel who doesn't want to tell him.

It strikes me that for the Word of God to be heard, the young boy needs to be open to it, but he also needs guidance from the wisdom of experience. It is Eli who realizes that this voice Samuel hears is the voice of the Lord. It is Eli who teaches him how to respond.

How do we, as elders, teach others to hear and respond to the Word?

nay-oh-mee


Date: 13 Jan 2003
Time: 07:34:22

Comment

But Eli does want to hear- it is Samuel who doesn't want to tell him.

It strikes me that for the Word of God to be heard, the young boy needs to be open to it, but he also needs guidance from the wisdom of experience. It is Eli who realizes that this voice Samuel hears is the voice of the Lord. It is Eli who teaches him how to respond.

How do we, as elders, teach others to hear and respond to the Word?

nay-oh-mee


Date: 13 Jan 2003
Time: 10:45:51

Comment

It's hard to avoid, but we tend to experience the reading of a passage from the viewpoint of one of the characters. Unfortunately we usually hear it from the hero's viewpoint, in this case Samuel.

In my children's chat I'll talk to the kids about different ways that they might hear God speaking to them.

When I preach to the grown-ups I'll talk about Eli. Interestingly, I came across something that says the Hebrew word na'ar used to describe Samuel refers to a male of any age between infancy and forty. Most of the people in my pews are beyond forty so I'll talk to them about being Eli's. "Poor, old, well-intentioned Eli, whose worst fault was not being able to control his 'greedy-eyed' children. Eli cared about the temple and the ark and died grieving for the captured ark, but was too 'overweight' to do much to defend it." What the old Eli's in the congregation need to do is teach the younger generation to hear. Teach the younger generation that they are made by God, for God, and that they may expect to be awakened at any hour by God's voice and let the older generation remember that they believe it themselves.

Shalom: Tom in Ontario


Date: 13 Jan 2003
Time: 12:37:44

Comment

Eli not only wants to find out what the Lord spoke to Samuel, he also receives the words very well. There is a great sence of acceptance even though the words are not good words. Often when it is not something we want to hear we might deny or doubt that it is really the Word of the Lord, but not Eli "It is the LORD; let him do what seems good to him."

KBinAB


Date: 14 Jan 2003
Time: 06:00:19

Comment

Nancy ... I've been trying to find an answer to your question whose words are referenced in V. 19... and haven't figured it out yet. Interesting question. But not, I'm afraid, one that will work its way into my contemplations on this text.

For me, as I am transitioning through the dissolution of this pastoral relationship, God's changing of the priesthood away from Eli's house strikes very close to home. At this point, we know only that my pastorate is ending sometime between now and the end of May. We know, too, that there is about to be a radical change in the makeup of the lay leadership. Of our nine-person govening board, five seats are up to be filled. (The board has suffered attrition from: business relocations, resignations due to differences of opinion earlier in the year, and resignations arising from disagreement about this transition.)

This text lends itself to understanding our transition turmoils as a judgment of God upon the leadership (lay and ordained) of the parish, but I don't want to go that route.... ;-) Instead, it seems to me that this can be used as comforting text in the sense that one can point to change and transition of leadership as a common experience of God's people. Eli's acceptance of this may be fatalistic, as one commentator has suggested, but it may also be a faithful recognition that ministries and times of leadership come to an end, and that others begin.

Anyway, those are my initial thoughts about the passage ... now somehow to hook them with the Gospel...

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 14 Jan 2003
Time: 06:03:08

Comment

Nancy... no sooner do I say I can't find an answer than one pops up....

Here's one commentator's answer suggest that "his" refers to Samuel:

The way a true prophet is accredited is spelled out in Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:14-22. A true prophet speaks in a way that calls upon men to follow God, to obey Him. Furthermore, a true prophet is one whose words come to pass. Our author tells us literally that God let none of Samuel’s words “fall to the ground” (verse 19). Everything Samuel says will happen does happen. And every Israelite realizes that God’s hand is upon Samuel and that He speaks the Word of the LORD. From Dan, the northern-most part of the land, to Beersheba, the southern-most city, all Israel recognizes Samuel as a prophet of God. The silence is broken.

This is from "The Rise of Samuel and the Fall of Eli and Sons (1 Samuel 3:1--4:22)" at http://www.bible.org/docs/ot/books/1sa/deffin/1sam-04.htm

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 14 Jan 2003
Time: 08:38:24

Comment

Eric in KS,

I am truly amazed as the hand of God works through this site. I, too, am in transition from one pastorate to another. It sounds as though your situation is less than ideal. I am leaving in good terms with the congregation as a whole. They are in good shape. There does not appear to be a power struggle involved with my departure.

As I began looking for texts with which to close my ministry, I saw this one among the lections. It spoke to me, also, about preparing for change. However, I saw in this text the opportunity to offer a theological understanding for my departure. As God called Samuel, so God calls us all. I've coupled the text with Matthew 5:33-37 and will draw a comparison to how Samuel's "Yes" to God led him to act and minister in ways that were not always the most pleasant. EX: Samuel didn't want to divulge to Eli the judgement of God, but he did so in light of his yes. My departure from this church is the continuation of my "yes" to God.

Any other connections you might see would be helpful.

Steve in NC


Date: 15 Jan 2003
Time: 08:22:17

Comment

In my opinion, we all need an Eli in our lives... someone who sees in us what we don't necessarily see in ourselves. Someone who affirms our nudgings of God in ways we don't understand. For some of us it takes longer to experience God's grace than in others of us. We speak but sometimes we don't listen very well to the whispers of God in the night.

With tingling ears, (I Sam 3:11)

pulpitt in ND


Date: 15 Jan 2003
Time: 08:37:42

Comment

This passage really points to that struggle all clergy have experienced in regards to call: being able to discern between when it is God speaking and our own voice speaking. That is, many clergy can tell their story and point to moments- maybe several- where we worked hard to clarify just who was speaking (to us) and what was wanted. Certainly laity can tell their own stories of trying to discern the voice of God from the human voice of wants, needs,desires, etc. I am leaning in the direction of a focus on the question "How do we know...really know...it is God speaking?" What are the signs? Sometimes what God calls us to do seems so out of step with the rest of culture/world: is this the sign that it is God's voice/call and not our own...that we look & act "crazy?" I hooked on a key word Eric mentioned- transition. Is this a sign that it is God speaking? That we are called to change, to take a next step, to get out of our comfort zone.....? And is this where The Samuel text connects most obviously with the the Gospel? As in, " This must be God calling me to follow, because it certainly makes no sense according to societal rules and norms!"

Shink in IA


Date: 15 Jan 2003
Time: 11:06:36

Comment

Tom in Ontario... what different ways might the children hear God speaking to them? J in NV


Date: 15 Jan 2003
Time: 13:09:19

Comment

My simple criteria for 'Is it God calling?' is to ask: Will your actions, as a result of this call, bring love into the world? Will your actions, as a result of this call, be just? If so, then it is quite possible that it is God calling...

For my sermon, I thought I would share the story of my call to ministry. I think that this passage gives a pastor an opportunity to bear their hearts, share their story and let some humanity shine through.

TB in MN


Date: 15 Jan 2003
Time: 13:28:06

Comment

In terms of how we discern whether or not it's God's calling that we hear, I think that's why we've been given the gift of community. For Samuel, he needed Eli to help him understand that it was indeed a word from God, after reading in the beginning of the lesson that visions from God were rare in those days! And, coupling this with the Gospel, Nathanael also needed Philip's encouragement to "Come and see" who this Jesus was, and whether or not he was worth following. The church is a wonderful place to share where we believe God may be calling us, and listen to their wisdom as part of our discernment. And, through this site we contribute our own "hearing" of God's word to each other's understanding of the texts, which gives us a more complete of what God may be trying to say to us. GB in MI


Date: 15 Jan 2003
Time: 14:27:01

Comment

Hi,

As I look at 1 Samuel 3, I am drawn to the fact that the situation was bad (Eli had failed to restrain his wicked sons), yet God spoke and he did so “before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle” (v. 3). I am inclined to preach a sermon that includes a “back and forth” movement between bad times and hope. For example, I may mention problems in society, then dreams of hope. This could include the story of Amazing Grace and phrases from MLK’s “I have a dream” speech. The point is that in difficult times, God raises up leaders, God gives hope.

I think it is important to remember that that Monday is MLK day; due to the residual racism in my community I want to keep the issue before the people. I am concerned that our nation is on the brink of war and believe we should at least pray about this. I have not decided if I will address the possible war from the pulpit. I find it fascinating that the lectionary forum for the Desperate Preacher site has a notable schism in the significance of the matter. In that those who have written about the Gospel lesson have commented extensively about the possible war., On the other hand, the possibility of war has been largely ignored in the OT section.

Leon in NC<><


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Time: 06:45:31

Comment

Really great comments this week! I too was planning to speak on hearing God (good news) but hearing all He has to say (sometimes bad news).

How do kids hear God? That's a poser. Because of Bible stories like this one or in the movies like the "Ten Commandments", I felt for many years that I was out of touch because God didn't come to me in an audible voice. Kids and adults need to realize that the word of God comes in many different ways: through parents, Sunday school teachers, trusted friends who are mature in their faith, the list goes on--but ESPECIALLY the Bible. Even at a young age, children should begin to see it as a primary source of God's word.

Blessings to each of you as you prepare this week. Although I am an infrequent contributor, I read with relish the comments you make each week.

Rich in Bama


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Time: 07:23:31

Comment

Doing a soul-searching process here at this church. As always there are so many people who long for the "good old days" I want to know how effective the good old days were!! I have wondered if I might say: unless more than 50% of of the now adult children of this church are actively involved in a church somewhere, we can't praise the good old days as the ideal. Anyway, it got me wondering about Eli and his sons, and the job of the older as being nurturing the visions and callings of the younger, even when the younger's caling is the very demise of the olders.

Any advise on how to preach this message will be much appreciated

Q in CT


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Time: 07:25:53

Comment

I mean advice... Q in CT


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Time: 09:39:54

Comment

Longing for the "good ole' days"... made me think of Confirmation this week... 9th graders here. One of them asked a question... "What's that thing you all say on Sunday mornings... it's like you have it memorized?" I thought it might have been the Doxology or some other musical reference... she asked "How does it go?" Then someone said, how about? "Our Father, who art in heaven, halllowed be thy name..." "THAT'S it! That's the one!" she said.

I couldn't believe it.

Her parents don't attend church...

I'm reminded of the saying that the church is but one generation away from extinction.

Indeed... hope we still raise up the call... to invite everyone to the table...

Blessings and thanks for all the good insights this week once again... welcome to Rich in Bama...

Don't leave this site to just the extraverts or we'll never learn anything new! ;?)

I'll stop for now, I'm listening Lord,

pulpitt in ND ;?)


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Time: 09:52:41

Comment

I think the sample sermon on the opening page of the DPS site this week has something to say about the "good ol' days" and youth and all of that.... Just to call it to your attention, here's the opening volley:

I would like to begin my sermon by reading a quote to you I recently came by: "Youth today loves luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, no respect for older people, and talk nonsense when they should work. They contradict their parents, talk too much in company, guzzle their food, lay their legs on the table, and tyrannize their elders." When do you think these words were written? Just recently? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? 20 years ago? I don’t think many of us would be able to guess this. These words were penned some 2,500 years ago by Greek philosopher Socrates - Sixth Century B.C.

The most important thing to remember about the "good ol' days" is that they never were.....

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Time: 12:09:38

Comment

A friend has a book (I've never read it) entitled "The Way We Never Were." She said it's about our ideal of the glory days of the late 40's through early 60's never were the norm.

My resource "Preaching the Revisecd Common Lectionary" briefly mentions that Eli's failing eyesight is also metaphorical - "visions were not widespread."

He had become ineffective and knew it, so he stepped out of the way. And he probably knew his sons wouldn't take over the leadership appropriately - and sure enough, that's what the judgment was about.

Interesting how he takes it on the chin with no complaint.

Sally


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Time: 12:11:51

Comment

People who have cataracts often wear sunglasses because it dilates their pupils, broadens their vision, so they can see around the cataract. What could we do to broaden the vision of our churches?

Sally


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Time: 13:55:29

Comment

I am struck by the similarity of the Genesis Reading last week and this one. In both cases order is created out of chaos, light comes into darkness, the still silence is broken with the Word of God.

tom in ga


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Time: 15:04:48

Comment

Here is a song that I wrote for a Children's Day program some years ago. My family still get a kick out of it and thought you might like to use it as a children's message poem. The guitar chords were C, F, G7, C. I will post it here and in the Childrens section of me members section. jrbnrnc SAM-U-EL

A song for children by Ron Boswell

Sung with a Jamaican tune, rhythm, and accent.

Chorus:

Samuel, Samuel, God is calling you Samuel. Not a man who speaks, can’t you tell? God is calling you, Samuel.

1. Long ago in Is-ra-el, there lived a boy named Samuel. In the temple he did dwell, serving Lord God very well. He would clean the candlesticks, fill the lamps and trim the wicks. Any evil he would nix; He was one of God’s special picks. Chorus

2. Eli’s sons were very bad, Doing things that made him sad; All of Is-rael would be glad, For a word-of-God from this lad. Then one evening Sam lay down, Where the ark of God was found; In the dim light all around, Sam-uel heard this whispered sound- Chorus

3. Samuel rose to his feet, Father Eli’s will to meet; Cheerfully he did repeat, “Here’s the one that you do seek.” Eli, sleeping as if dead, Blinked his eyes and scratched his head; “I called not,” is what he said, To your room, now go to bed.”- Chorus

4. Back to bed the lad did go, For the Lord he did not know Called to children here below, His most holy will to show. Once again before the day, At the place where Sam-uel lay, In a soft and tender way, Came the voice of God to say - Chorus

5. Just as they had done before, Samuel’s feet, they hit the floor, Ran to Eli to implore, What the man was wanting more. Bothered Eli, ‘bout to weep, Said, “I called not, Go to sleep; Samuel in the bed did leap, But, once again from out the deep - Chorus

6. Back to ole man he did run, Ask him what need to be done; Eli said, “This game’s no fun, All night long my sleep is none. So he put his mind in gears, Said the words know through the years, “When that voice again appears, Say, speak Lord, your servant hears.” - Chorus

7. That night God to Sam-uel say, I want you to go my way; Be the prophet for this day, My eternal word relay. And like Sam-u-el should we, Ready for the Lord should be; Saying, “I am here, it’s me”, When he whispers tenderly- Chorus


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Time: 15:45:32

Comment

Q in CT

The good old days aren't something to long for, they're something to make happen now and bequeth to our children. We need to create a world they might long for when they are old.

Samuel, by the grace of God, did this. What were the "good old days" for Samuel? It was a day when "the word of the LORD was rare" and "visions were not widespread." What were the days Samuel created? A day when "the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground." Did the future generation long for those days later on? Notice how Saul, after Samuel's death, even went to the extreme of seeking a medium to hear Samuel's words again.

This Sunday is, for some of us, "Sanctity of Human Life" Sunday. For us, it is a Sunday to reflect on how wonderful a gift life is and that it is not to be taken for granted.

Samuel's life was given back to the Lord who gave it to him. The Lord was with Samuel and he created a reality the people longed for.

A friend of mine, Kathleen Gariety gave her life to the Lord as a missionary in Yemen. She was killed on Dec. 30th

http://www.jsonline.com/news/Metro/dec02/107174.asp

Kathy was a purchasing agent for the Southern Baptist hospital in Jibla. While she was there, her five minute walk home from the hospital compound where she worked to her apartment in the city took her 20 minutes. It was not from some infirmity - it was from the throngs of children who came and hugged her. Shouts of "Kathy, Kathy!" rang as she walked. She loved the children. While on furlough this past summer, her family begged her not to return - too dangerous. She would hear none of it. She couldn't leave the children. Her life was the Lord's.

Then this story:

Tuesday night, a newborn baby was placed in a blue tote bag and was thrown into a portable toilet in a park in the area I pastor in. The parents of the baby attend the same high school as most of our teens. By the grace of God, the baby was found alive, four hours old.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/State/jan03/110833.asp

This baby has no "good old days." Let's give him some. May God, Whose mercy spared the life of this child, now give this child a life with words and deeds that will not fall to the ground - a life that belongs to the Lord.

JG in WI


Date: 17 Jan 2003
Time: 03:32:17

Comment

The "good ol' days" also included apartheid, segregation, discrimination based on gender, age, and whatever suited one's fancy. Women were either stereo-typed as blonde bimboes (Marilyn Monroe, Jane Mansfield - check out "How to Marry a Millionaire") or stay-at-home moms (Donna Reed, Jane Wyman - "Father Knows Best") or school marms. Shoot 'em up cowboy and Indian movies were all the rage. When will we learn the best time to be living is now? Be conscious of God's presence now. In any time or age, without God's grace in our lives - life is shallow and without much meaning. Peace ~ Reverend KJ PS. Eric in KS - liked that quote from Socrates - Seems to me, the more things change, the more they stay the same.


Date: 17 Jan 2003
Time: 19:03:19

Comment

I don't know if this is pertinent to the text, but for me it is. Over the past 36 years I have noticed a number of times that God has "spoken" to some of the saints in their last days. Probably has spoken to many more but only some are able to tell about it. It is always some message of comfort that makes them look forward to heaven. Recently my 88 year old father died. For the last two weeks he heard Christmas Carols and hymns that the rest of us did not hear. Dad did not suffer from dementia or anything like that. Sometimes he would sing along. He asked my wife, "Is it alright that I am hearing these songs?" She replied, "You have loved those songs all your life. It is fitting that you should be comforted by them now." We thought he was hearing the angels sing. On the night before he died he told the nurse he saw Jesus. That afternoon before he went to sleep he was saying the Lord's Prayer. Three hours later he died peacefully in his sleep. Our family is so comforted by the messages that God sent to us all. Now, as so often happens, our family is dreaming about Dad. Last night was my turn. Dad, who had a twisted spine in his last years, now stood straight and tall. With eyes directed at me and blazing as if light were coming through his eyes, he said to me, "Keep reassuring your people." I know this is all so very personal, but for me God has really spoken in clear messages at this time of grieving and I am so very grateful. Stan in No. Wis.


Date: 17 Jan 2003
Time: 22:12:03

Comment

The word of the Lord was rare in those days:visions were not widespread. Sound famaliar? Who is speaking the word of the LORD in our times? I am struck by the fact that Eli could not see yet he was the one who realized it was the LORD that was calling Samuel. I have many questions for the congregation. Who is it in our lives that is blind to this world and yet points us towards God. Those that are unable to "see" are able to use other senses more fully. Eli has the experience and the history with God that Samuel lacks...they need each other in order for God's will to be fulfilled in this text. It also makes me think about being called...how many times does God have to call before any of us listen. Can any of us say that when God called we said, "here I am," and from then on our relationship with God fell right into place? Most of the pastors I know have been hearing God call for a very long time and "found" something else to do but really answer that call. I also wonder what our response would be on any given day...I'm tired could you call me later? You know God, I am really busy today but hey, next Saturday might be a good day, call me then. Just a minute, I will be right with you. Or even better...could you hold please I have another call. These are all things we hear ourselves and others say each day to God and to the people we serve and to those we really love. So the example of Samuel and the example in the Gospel remind us to answer God willingly. However we all need people around us to discern that it is actually God calling and instruct us to say, "Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening." I am preaching at an AME ZION church for my first time ever and as a basic WASP I am very concerned about my style and my delivery and my content. I too plan to use MLK as an example of someone who spoke truth to power (like Samuel hesitantly did to Eli) and someone who stood up and said, "here I am!" It is comforting to have passages that remind us that we really are endeavoring to speak, not our words only, but really God's words and if we do our best to do so those words will not fall to the ground. Praying that ears will tingle, especially mine! Thank you all for the wonderful insights and comments, I value this forum and hear the LORD speaking through this dialog. Peace from JLS in CT


Date: 18 Jan 2003
Time: 09:44:46

Comment

I've been thinking about the contrast between Eli's passivity and Samuel's mobility as it's described in the passage. Earlier this week I attended a meeting of our diocese's department of missions and heard a presentation by an individual who has been doing research in church growth issues. He made an interesting observation that he admitted wasn't particularly scientific, but that was neverthess rather accurate. He said that he always asks to see the vision/ministry statement of the churches he consults with, and he observed that growing churches are much more likely to phrase their statements in terms of "Doing." That is, they describer themselves as "makers of disciples," or "servers of their communities," or somehting along those lines. On the other hand, declining churches more often seem to describe themselves by what they "are." That is, "We are a warm family," or "we are a faith-filled community."

He'd be the first to admit that a vision statement isn't the ultimate variable in the viability of a church, but he also beleives that what are sometimes very subtle things can point to greater spiritual ramifications. Am I straining too hard to make a connection to Eli and Samuel?

Craig in CA


Date: 18 Jan 2003
Time: 16:14:19

Comment

My sermon for tomorrow is done... and it's taken a much different form than I had originally invisioned, but then God sometimes does that to us. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are in a time of transition in my parish as I am leaving this pastorate (with nowhere else to go at the moment). That is using up a lot of energy in the congregation and as I wrote the sermon that did became the focus, but not in the way I'd originally thought it would. Anyway, you can find it at http://www.stfrancis-ks.org/subpages/bsermons/epiphany-2b-rcl-2003.html Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 18 Jan 2003
Time: 19:07:17

Comment

JLS in CT Don't know if you will see this at this late hour, but one thing you can do in preparing to preach to the AME congregation is to expect to be interrupted with "amen"s or other words of encouragement from the brothers and sisters if you strike a chord. It may be disconcerting at first, but if you're prepared for it, perhaps you'll feel encouraged. I like that feedback and wish our WASPish churches did a little more of it. I mostly have to look for nods, smiles or other body language to know whether I'm reaching my flock. Best wishes in bringing your message. Rich in Bama


Date: 18 Jan 2003
Time: 19:08:00

Comment

JLS in CT Don't know if you will see this at this late hour, but one thing you can do in preparing to preach to the AME congregation is to expect to be interrupted with "amen"s or other words of encouragement from the brothers and sisters if you strike a chord. It may be disconcerting at first, but if you're prepared for it, perhaps you'll feel encouraged. I like that feedback and wish our WASPish churches did a little more of it. I mostly have to look for nods, smiles or other body language to know whether I'm reaching my flock. Best wishes in bringing your message. Rich in Bama


Date: 18 Jan 2003
Time: 21:19:43

Comment

Did anyone make the connection between what has happened to Eli and his sons because of their disobedience and disdain for God, with what is happening in the Roman Catholic Church today?

Susan in Wa.


Date: 11/25/2003
Time: 3:29:57 PM

Comment

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