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February 15, 2022 3:00 am
Time we fail to hear God's chaos ensued today on Truth for Life with Alistair Begg will hear about a time of deep spiritual famine among God's people. Alistair Begg explains to us how it happened and how we can prevent the same thing from happening today for Samuel three verse one. 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 at that time Eli whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see was lying down in his own place. 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 then the Lord called Samuel and he said here I am and ran to Eli and said, here I am for you called me but he said I did not call lie down again so I went and laid down in 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, no Samuel did not yet know the Lord in the word of the Lord and not yet been revealed to him in the Lord called Samuel again the third time in the arose and went to Eli and said, here I am for you called me then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, go lie down and if he calls you usual say speak Lord for your servant hears.
So Samuel went and laid down in his place in the Lord came and stood calling us at other times.
Samuel, Samuel, and Samuel said, speak, for your servant hears and the Lord said to Samuel, behold, I'm about to do a thing in Israel at which the two years of everyone who hears it will tingle on that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end and I declared 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. Therefore, I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever. Samuel lay until morning.
Then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli, but Eli called Samuel and said Samuel, my son and he said here I am.
Eli 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 already told you so Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from. And he said it is the Lord let them do what seems good to him and Samuel grew, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground and all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord, the Lord appeared again at Shiloh for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by word of the Lord.
Amen. This is one of the more familiar chapters in first Samuel everybody if they know it. The book of tall know the chapter that involves David and Goliath and if we only know perhaps one other chapter than it probably is. This third chapter, which recounts for us the calling of Samuel.
Certainly for myself. Growing up as I did within the framework of the church. I remember saying what I think was a children's hymn that began hushed was the evening him. The temple courts were dark and that was the intro into a hymn that recounted the events which are before us here in first Samuel three.
Note in short order. What we have in this chapter. Is there prophetic ministry of the word of God being restored to Israel at this time through the life and in turn, through the lips of this man ES Samuel whose progress we have been now following since birth. When you come to a chapter like this and you are studying it, perhaps on your own and you are looking to find your way through it at one of the things to do is to see if it is framed in any way. In this particular chapter allows us to say yes it is because you will notice that in verse one, the emphasis is on the word of the Lord. And when you get to verse 21. It finishes with the emphasis in the exact same place on the word of the Lord and so are we going to discover today what that really means why it mattered. At the time and why the restoration and the healing of the word of God always matters. Note it is a while since Hannah has dropped Samuel off and left him. She's been coming back and forth on an annual basis. As we saw last time. We also acknowledge last time that it is quite difficult.
It is virtually impossible for us to say with any accuracy or authority just where we are in the age of Samuel. At each point in the story. What we do know is that he is been growing that he's grown quite a bit and that, as he is growing.
We have seen the evidence that so for example, in verse 21 of chapter 2 he was growing in the presence of the Lord down in verse 26.
He is in 26 continuing to grow what we don't know is how much time is elapsed between verse 21 and verse 26 is not a matter of great import except is good for us just to acknowledge the fine job progress is being made.
The really significant thing that we are told in light of all his ministrations and his progress and his stature in disfavor is what we will come to in a bit and that is in verse seven where quite amazing. We were told that Samuel did not yet know the law that we will come to that but only in a moment or two of first of all, let us consider verses 1 to 3 under the heading of one word simply silence. Silence, the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli and the word of the Lord was rare in those days I what had just happened. As we looked at it last time. In the second half of chapter 2 was an unusual occurrence. Those of you who were present in the evening. As we studied that were struck by the fact that God raised up a certain man who spoke the word of the Lord is verse 27 and following and chapter 3 begins by reminding us that that kind of event. Certainly when it was accompanied by a vision of God that would give rise often to the word of God that that is actually unusual, reminding us of what we've seen from the beginning and that is that the chaos at the end of Judges where everybody did what was right in their own eyes, where there was an absence of effective leadership was in itself an expression of the spiritual darkness at that time.
Among the people of God. It was a darkness that was almost palpable darkness and that darkness was directly related to the flag that the word of God was increasingly silent throughout the history of God's people and sometimes in an expression of judgment. For example in the book of Amos, you have the description of the people of God roaming is aware back and forth east to west and north to south on account of, not a physical fireman in search of physical food, but on account of our spiritual famine and in search of spiritual food so that they realize we have not been healing from God.
The word of God is becoming increasingly rare. Now I don't want to camp on this, but there is a sense in which almost in every generation, the people of God will be forced to identify this is a recording feature I don't say this in any spirit of judgment, but as I travel around the country and beyond the country. I'm often struck in going to places of worship at the absence of the public reading of Scripture of the Bible actually being present, being physically present, being visibly present and being audibly proclaimed. I'm not saying that there is a service I'm not saying that on talks about God is making a comment regarding the actual sense of the word of God. Often, the way it is red if it is red is fairly casual often is just shot up on screens whereby people are increasingly divorced from the sense of having their own Bible because loved ones. It is a peculiar privilege to have a Bible. It is not so long since the height of the Soviet empire. Bibles were removed and burned and had to be smuggled into places and where to get a portion of the Scriptures meant a tremendous amount to many of our brothers and our sisters. It is an honor and a privilege solely really in the last 400 years or so that a minister is ever been able to say to the congregation. Please take your Bible and turn to because prior to the printing press. Nobody had a Bible to turn to in the 18 century when Newton was addressing his congregation. One morning I think this just must've struck him and he said to him, I counted my honor and happiness that I preach to a free people who have the Bible in their hands.
Alec Madia, whom I love to quote on one occasion, writing in a commentary not on for Samuel asks these questions, he says, have we got a Bible in our hands. Let us prize it, read it and commit the precious truths to heart and mind. It is not an inalienable possession. It may not be ours forever. And then he says is the Bible still preached in our church letters love to hear the word of God, let us be urgent to bring others in earshot of it is not our guaranteed privilege, the voice of the preacher could be silenced and the truth of God is our only defense against ever one of my good friends. My big brother Sinkler Ferguson and I are from time to time involved in a kind of panel Q&A and on a number of occasions when matters occur. The question has been raised and also would tell me about your church, how many people come to your church. What is the strength of your church and almost inevitably, Sinkler says the test of the church in terms of its hunger for the word of God is in the evening service.
It is in the evening service which of course nobody likes to hear because many people have disbanded any thought of an evening service starting with the minister and often because the ministers ego is unable to handle the fact that he doesn't like to preach to smaller crowds.
How many of such men would be preaching today in places around our world where the only crowds to which we might ever preach our inevitably small crowds, but it is a test isn't one of the one of the one of the indications of the hunger of North America for the word of God is to be conveyed in the darkness of church buildings after 4 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon.
The emptiness of the car parks. The same people who are prepared to see it as fecal Lord and plan your truth deep in my heart.
Apparently, who normally are too serious about one of the challenges that all of us face living the 21st century is the challenge of believing that because we been privileged to live at this point in history we must really know how it goes. We must really understand how things should be and the way we've now button them down is presumably the way everybody who lived 100 or 200 years before us. I would also have button them down if they'd only had us the bright people around to build or tell them how the thing really works is a dreadful arrogance is steerable and selects the great benefit of history and that's why history is so important. So for example you read of the church in Geneva in the 16th century and the Genevan church extended its reach and give its guidelines for the clergy of the day, and those guidelines when in part like this each Sunday there is to be a sermon at Sandia and then at sound survey at the break of day and at the usual hour at 9 AM at midday there is to be catechism that is instruction of little children in all of the churches at 3 o'clock. There is the second sermon besides on working days there will be a sermon in some peer three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday is a wonder the impact of the Reformation church what they were doing was on the count of six sermons a week what some of us are trying to do is on account of one son there might be just a direct correlation between the impact separated by 400 years service in a very nice of you to say why not, why not.
Where are the young people on a Sunday morning scattered throughout North America. Forget about Sunday.
Having never been raised within the framework of the instruction of God's work is no surprise that as soon as freedom abounds. There is nothing within that would draw them to that place now. If you think about this and you think about a famine of the word of God and you project yourself a few years forward just a couple of decades and you go back and you visit Western Europe and you see yourself why are all those places so empty in Western Europe.
I think the answer is just this hold on because you're about to find out because the same decline the same disinterest the same superficial sense of going through the motions.
Absent the reality of laying hold upon the great and precious promises of God's word, accompanied those in the context know all about simply to say that the silences are virtually deafening silence and the word of God was rare in those days and there was no frequent vision is a dreadful time and that's the case that's why the cry of the Reformation or the the the description of the Reformation is for post-tenor brass locks is after darkness, light that the darkness of the Middle Ages was a darkness was directly related to the absence of the word of God.
Incidentally, you will notice in that Genevan expression. It doesn't say that services are to be here. It says that sermons are to be preached no absence of services people going through motions of religious ritual is the rarity of the word of God. The prophetic word of God that says this is what God says and because it's what God says is vital that people here know it is in that context of silence that we read verse two is a goodness verse two. After all that time. Verse to get we will not get very far.
So relax. Don't get upset at that time.
At what time. Well at the big time of the rarity of the word in the absence of frequent vision, but at the specific aim of this evening. Our Eli whose eyesight is failing or going to discover in chapter 4 that is also increasingly heavy and he is a his eyes have begun to grow dim as so that he could not see and he was lying down in his own place.
So again, this picture of the aging man and either there's something of a metaphor.
There is there that is I cited begun to grow dim, this is a physical statement. I we've also become aware of the fight that his spiritual eyesight is increasingly dim and he thought that Hannah was a drunk. He can see what's going on with his own boys and were about to discover more evidences of his lack of perception the lamp of God had not yet gone out there lamp of God. You can read about in the earlier parts of your Bible.
In Exodus, I think around chapter 27 or so, very expressive and specific instructions are given about the lighting of the lamp where it is to be how it is to be tended and the privileges of being there to make sure it is burning and then realizing when it is to be extinguished and so this lamp had not yet gone out, that gives us then time reference because it burned until the morning hours. It burned virtually until dawn and so we know then that what is taking place here is in. If you like the watches of the night and the physical picture that you have is of Eli whose in his own bed, lying in his own place you would expect that to be the case against Samuel and I were told is lying down in the temple of the Lord I think is striking is that because we would be tempted to say that the licensee is a priest of God would be lying down in the temple of the Lord is at the tent of meeting in the context of the ark of God which contained the this the tablets of the other commands in the and an expression of God's covenant. The respect that would be the priest and he would say no Eli you had Google and and go over there.
You got a little place for yourself over there but is actually reverse Eli is now somewhat distanced, at least visibly from this and Eli is lying down and Samuel was lying down, where the ark of God walks I think is a metaphor in that lamp as well as nerds.
Be very careful about suggesting that this is why it says what it says this is the lamp of God are not yet gone out story about the physical lamp that are not yet gone out okay. That's what it means doesn't mean something other than that, but given what we know. We recognize that it is virtually a metaphor for the fact that in the darkness in the spiritual darkness in the absence of the word. It is actually true as well that the land was not yet gone out, and that's the significance of little Samuel here is the light in the darkness of failing distanced Eli in sharp contrast to the emerging Samuel so the lamp is still burning. The tent is still standing and is the point. Stella's the darkest hour is just before dawn, so as for me, is the mamas and the Papas if you're interested. Each night before you go to bed thousand darkest hours just before going well. That's exactly what we find listing to Truth for Life to Alister Greg minding us that even in the bleakest times God is kindling a spark in our current series were learning just how essential it is to heed God's word. That's why we teach the Bible every day here Truth for Life vector singular mission is to open the Scriptures each day to help all who come better understand what God's word says and how it relates to our daily life we do this, of course, with God's help, trusting that his spirit will convert unbelievers deeply establish those who already believe in their faith and encourage pastors to remain committed to teaching the Scriptures, and to supplement the daily teaching you here on Truth for Life. We carefully select books to help you grow in your relationship with Jesus. Today we want to recommend a book titled name above all names.
Alister, along with his good friend Sinclair Ferguson collaborated on this exploration of Jesus identity and his character.
When you read the book name above all names you'll discover how the whole Bible is a book about Jesus how he is predicted revealed preached explained and expected, you can request your copy today.
Simply The image on the app or visit our email@example.com/donate or if you prefer you can call us at 888-588-7884 Bob Lapine when God breaks through his apparent silence. We expect relief, don't we.
But that's not always the case should listen tomorrow as well here.
Samuel's response to his first assignment as God's new product.
The Bible teaching of Alister Greg is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living