God’s Call to little Children

1 Samuel

God’s Call to little Children

July 24th, 1960 @ 8:15 AM

1 Samuel :1-10

Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there. And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb. And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons? So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD. And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever. And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him. And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there. And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed. And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest. Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD. And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand; And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither. Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw. And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD. But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home. And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD. Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’S people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them. And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men. And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house. And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever. And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them. And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever. And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests’ offices, that I may eat a piece of bread. And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him. And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever. And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision. Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I. And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee. And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good. And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD. And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek. And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men. And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight. And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain. And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head. And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out. And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult? And the man came in hastily, and told Eli. Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see. And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to day out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son? And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken. And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years. And his daughter in law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her. And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it. And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband. And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken. And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day. But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof. And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god. They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither. And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts. Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people. So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven. And the ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the LORD? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place. And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you. Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords. Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land. Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed? Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them: And take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go. And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us: it was a chance that happened to us. And the men did so; and took two milch kine, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home: And they laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their emerods. And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Bethshemesh. And they of Bethshemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Bethshemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone: and they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the LORD. And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD, and the coffer that was with it, wherein the jewels of gold were, and put them on the great stone: and the men of Bethshemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the LORD. And when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day. And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the LORD; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one; And the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fenced cities, and of country villages, even unto the great stone of Abel, whereon they set down the ark of the LORD: which stone remaineth unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Bethshemite. And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter. And the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? and to whom shall he go up from us? And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjathjearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the LORD; come ye down, and fetch it up to you. And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD. And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only. And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD. And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh. And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Bethcar. Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD. And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city. Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power. And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people. And the asses of Kish Saul’s father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses. And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and there they were not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not. And when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us. And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go. Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we? And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way. (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.) Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come, let us go. So they went unto the city where the man of God was. And as they went up the hill to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, Is the seer here? And they answered them, and said, He is; behold, he is before you: make haste now, for he came to day to the city; for there is a sacrifice of the people to day in the high place: As soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice; and afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up; for about this time ye shall find him. And they went up into the city: and when they were come into the city, behold, Samuel came out against them, for to go up to the high place. Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying, To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me. And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people. Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer’s house is. And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to day, and to morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart. And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father’s house? And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me? And Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the parlour, and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, which were about thirty persons. And Samuel said unto the cook, Bring the portion which I gave thee, of which I said unto thee, Set it by thee. And the cook took up the shoulder, and that which was upon it, and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, Behold that which is left! set it before thee, and eat: for unto this time hath it been kept for thee since I said, I have invited the people. So Saul did eat with Samuel that day. And when they were come down from the high place into the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house. And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad. And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God. Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance? When thou art departed from me to day, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel’s sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son? Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine: And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands. After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee. And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do. And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day. And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets? And when he had made an end of prophesying, he came to the high place. And Saul’s uncle said unto him and to his servant, Whither went ye? And he said, To seek the asses: and when we saw that they were no where, we came to Samuel. And Saul’s uncle said, Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel said unto you. And Saul said unto his uncle, He told us plainly that the asses were found. But of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not. And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh; And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you: And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands. And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king. Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.
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GOD’S CALL TO LITTLE CHILDREN

Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Samuel 3:1-10

7-24-60     8:15 a.m.

 

You who listen on the radio are sharing with us the early morning service of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the message entitled God’s Call to Little Children.  In our preaching through the Book of Samuel, we have come to the third chapter.  And if you will open your Bible to the third chapter of Samuel, you can easily follow the message of this morning hour.  The reading of the Word is this:  1 Samuel 3:1-10:

And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli.  And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;

And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;

That the Lord called Samuel:  and he answered, Here am I.

And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me.  And he said, I called not; lie down again.  And he went and lay down.

And the Lord called yet again, Samuel.  And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me.  And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time.  And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me.  And old Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.

Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down:  and it shall be, if He call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth.  So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel, Then Samuel answered, Speak; for Thy servant heareth.

 

You could not help but be arrested by that unusual and beautiful story.  And I have many things to say about it.  And I suspect they cannot be encompassed in this morning’s hour; so it has been my purpose to speak of it this day, and then the next Lord’s Day at this hour.

Eli was indulgent with his sons; and for that indulgence, in refusing to rebuke his sons Hophni and Phinehas; and because of his refusal to order the house of God in its worship according to the commandments of the Lord; and because of his winking at and overlooking the violations of the words of God regarding the house at Shiloh; because of his putting aside as though it was just something for words and not for action what his evil sons were doing; because of those things, the judgment of God fell upon the house of Eli.  And the prophecy was given both by this man of God, of whom we spake last Sunday in this second chapter of the Book of Samuel, and now revealed of the Lord to this little boy Samuel.  Eli’s house was refused, and its predicted end was outlined.  But old Eli himself was a godly man.  He was a good man, though indulgent.  He was kind and generous to a fault.  And he was a spiritual man; he was God’s man.  He represented God to the people, and the people to God. 

And in his wisdom, Eli did a remarkable thing here.  When the little boy Samuel heard the word of the Lord, he was a child, and he didn’t understand, he didn’t know what was happening in his heart.  You know a little child is made like a seed:  on the inside of that seed, when it is formed, there is the germ of life made in it, created at the same time, an integral component, intrinsic part of it.  And the little seed may look very dead, and may lie dormant all year or all winter – in fact I read one time where in some of those tombs of the Pharaoh’s wheat, that had been placed in those tombs for four thousand years was planted and it grew up on the inside of the seed there is the workmanship of God.  There’s not a man, there’s not a chemist, there’s not all of the men and all the chemists in the earth that can create one little, teensy weensy, bitty seed.  Maybe a mustard seed, maybe a little poppy seed, look like a little grain of sand; chemists might be able to put the thing together and make it look just exactly like that little seed.  But he can’t put God in it, life in it, the germ in it.  Now a child is made like a seed:  when the little thing is born into this world, there is born with it down deep, hidden away in the soul and in the heart of the child, where you might not suspect, there is that seed of life.  And like the little grain of mustard seed, you put it in the ground somewhere and let warmth of God’s sunlight fall on it, and let God’s sweet rain fall on it, and something will happen:  it’ll begin to burst, and to break, and to move, and to grow.  That’s God, and the hand of the Lord.

That identical thing is in the heart and soul of a little child.  You take any child, any child, and place that child under the warm influences of the love of God, and the day will come – it will inevitably come, it will never fail to come – the day will come when there will be a movement in the soul of the child.  He may not understand or know, but it’s God.  The little child is beginning to be sensitive to the story of Jesus and the love of the Lord.  I could not tell you the number of times little children have come to see me, in fact, most of them will, and sit there by my side and I will say, "Now, I’m so glad to have you, sonny," or little girl, "just so glad to have you.  Now why have you come to see the pastor?"  I know why they’ve come, but I want them to tell me.  Did you know almost always their hearts will fill up, and they’ll breathe heavy, and they choke up, and then cry, and then look to mother or daddy in pitiful wanting, "You tell the pastor why I’ve come."  Well, where does that come from?  That’s God, the Lord moving in the heart of the child.  And he couldn’t explain to you why his heart fills up, and why his soul overflows in tears.  He couldn’t explain that; just like Samuel didn’t know this thing that was happening in his life.

He didn’t know the Lord, the Book says:  "Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord" [1 Samuel 3:7].  He’s a little child.  Now, old Eli was a wise old man.  And at first he didn’t realize it.  I suppose the little fellow was just young, and Eli didn’t realize how early sometimes this moving of the Spirit of God comes to a little child.  So when God called in the night he had no idea; the only voice that he’d ever heard in the night there in the house of God was the voice of the high priest, Eli.  So when the voice was heard, "Samuel," he thought Eli had called him.  So he went to Eli, and Eli said, "Why, I did not call, lie down again."  And when it happened again, and then the third time, the Book says, "And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child [1 Samuel 3:8].  And Eli said," now look at his wisdom:  Eli did not say, "Son, you just dreamed it as you slept, go, lie down again"; Eli did not say, "Son, that’s just your childish imagination, go lie down again"; Eli did not say, "Son, you’re just emotionally disturbed, some Sunday school teacher or some preacher has been talking to you.  You’re just emotionally wrought up.  Go lie down again."

Now I’ve met that many times in my ministry.  I so well remember preaching in a revival meeting in the heart of California, years ago, when I was a young fellow.  I remember that a woman came to the pastor, and she was furious.  We had had a service there at the church, and her little girl had been wonderfully, gloriously converted; and converted as I was converted:  with many tears.  And when the little child went home from the church service, the little child, the little girl was subdued and quiet because of the spiritual experience that had swept through her soul.  And the mother immediately perceived something was different with the child, and asked her; and the little thing broke down in tears as she tried to tell her mother that she had found the Lord.  And it made the mother furious.  So, she went to see the pastor.  And the things that she had to say, all of that stirring up of her child, all of that emotional appeal, all the things that you can imagine, she laid out before the preacher.  And after she got through with her tirade, he simply said, "I think that if you had been in the service, I think you would have understood.  And could I ask you," the pastor said, "could I ask you to be this kind:  would you come to one of the services and see for yourself what has happened to the child?"  Well, the pastor was so kind and so nice, and she had been so furious and so caustic, that it kind of shamed her.  And she said, "I will." 

Well, I want you to know that that woman came to the service – first time she’d ever been to the church.  She came to the service and attended its worship hour.  And when the service was over, behold, behold, she sought out the pastor with many tears and said, "I understand.  I understand.  And I am happy that my little girl has given her heart to Jesus and that she wants to be baptized.  And she has my full permission and blessing."  It’s a wise parent; it’s a wise father and a wise mother that is able to see that.  And old Eli was able to see it.  He perceived that the Lord had called the child.  And then when the Lord called the next time, Samuel repeated what Eli said, "I’m a’listenin’ Lord, speak; Thy servant heareth" [1 Samuel 3:10].

Now that’s the background of the story.  I want to say three things.  First: God calls little children to faith in Him.  Second: God calls little children to special service for Him.  And the third, if I have opportunity and time: God calls little children sometimes to be with Him in glory, in heaven.  God calls little children.

The first avowal:  God calls little children to faith in Him, to a trust in Him, to a saving committal of heart and soul to Him.  Now I’ve spoken of that somewhat already.  One of the hardest things for me to understand is the doctrine of our Hardshell Primitive Baptist brethren with regard to children.  We are so removed from that segment of our faith and our communion that I would say practically all of the people here this morning have never been with, and have never seen or attended the services or been associated with Hardshell Primitive Baptist people.  But they have a doctrine, they have a way, with regard to children that is an overwhelming thing:  they do not believe that children can be saved, nor do they believe that people are saved without some marvelous vision from heaven, like the apostle Paul.  I spent a month one time, in the years gone by, in the mountains of eastern Kentucky.  I was up there preaching first through a summer encampment, and then the rest of the time with a young man who is now a missionary, missionary leader, in our Home Mission Board out of Nashville, Tennessee.  When you go up there into that high mountainous country, by Pine Mountain, on the Virginia line, there’s a Big Cowpen River, and the Big Cowpen Primitive Baptist Church.  Then go on up, and there’s the Little Cowpen River, and the little Cowpen Baptist Church.  Then go on up, and there’s a little river called the Kingdom Come River; and up there at the head of Kingdom Come River there is a family.  And concerning that family, a famous novelist wrote a famous book entitled The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come.  When I was a boy, that was a very famous novel; and in those days I devoured novels, I read them by the dozens.  I was the most romantic of all of the boys you ever saw in your life.  There was no book that Zane Grey wrote that I didn’t read or all the rest of those novels in those days.  So, I read The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come.  And when I found out that that little Kingdom Come River was up there, and that family up there, I went with this friend of mine to see them.  And I had one of the most enjoyable and unusual experiences of my life.

For example, Aunt Hannah Frasier – their names are Frasier, Uncle Drew Frasier and Aunt Hanna Frasier, that’s the old couple that were up there, the father and mother – and she had a beautiful quilt that she made, you know, like you make with your hands.  Nobody this generation knows anything about that, but they used to quilt, make quilts, make them beautiful.  I still have that beautiful quilt out there at the house.  Well, I asked Uncle Drew if I could buy the quilt.  Well, whatever his wife might have thought about it, it pleased him very much that I wanted to buy it.  So, he bargained with me, and I bought it; didn’t pay very much for it, but it was a lot of money apparently, I thought, to those mountaineers up there at the head of Kingdom Come Creek.  So as fortune had it, I didn’t have anything in my pocket but a twenty dollar bill.  Now can you imagine a preacher having a twenty dollar bill?  That’s an astonishing thing in itself.  So, I said to Uncle Drew, "I’m sure you don’t have change for this, but this is all I have, just this twenty dollar bill."  And I gave him the twenty dollar bill, having no idea he’d have any change at all for it.  I want you to know, that mountaineer reached down in the pockets of his blue jeans, he pulled out a roll of bills that would choke a goat; I want you to know that he began to peel them down from the top, hundreds, hundreds, hundreds, fifty, fifty, fifties, twenty, twenty, twenty, ten, ten, ten, finally got down to the fives and the ones.  And when he counted me out the change, he said, "Son, you’re about broke, aren’t you?"  An astonishing thing; oh, the world is full of surprises.

Well, we stayed with them.  I got acquainted with them.  Aunt Hannah, she had been baptized just that summer, that summer.  And she was seventy-five years of age.  And I said to her, "Aunt Hannah, why in this earth are you just now, after seventy-five years," and they were godly people, "why are you just now joining the church and being baptized?"  And her reply was, she was waiting for the vision, without which no one was really saved.  Well, I asked her what the vision was, and I haven’t time to delineate it all.  Up there on the top of the mountain, right back of their home, there was a little family cemetery, and her daughter who had died was buried on top of that cemetery; and she saw the vision of her daughter dressed in white robes, coming down and speaking to her and saying, "Mother, I’m waiting for you in heaven."  And that was the sign that she had been converted.  So she went to the church, and made her confession of faith, and was received for baptism.  So I turned to Uncle Drew, and I said, "Uncle Drew, have you been baptized?"

"No, no," he said, "I haven’t seen the vision."  And Uncle Drew was seventy-five years of age.  "I haven’t seen the vision."  So as I got acquainted with them and talked to them more, I found this out:  that daughter that had died, and buried up there on the hill right back of the house, that daughter had a little illegitimate boy, and his name was Romer.  And the father and the mother, Uncle Drew and Aunt Hannah, had reared the little fellow, this little baby boy that didn’t have a father.  And when the boy was fourteen years old, he was out with his grandfather, whom he called Daddy; he was out with Uncle Drew in the spring plowing.  And as he walked along with Uncle Drew, he said, "Uncle Drew, I won’t be with you next spring for the spring plowing."  And Uncle Drew says, "Well, why not, son?"  And the boy replied, "Well, I don’t know, Daddy, I just won’t be with you."

"Oh son," said the grandfather, "Sure you will, I couldn’t run this farm and I couldn’t plow without you."

"No, Daddy, I won’t be with you next spring for the plowing."  Some while after that, the little fellow, out hunting, the thing accidentally went off as he was going through a fence, and the boy mortally wounded, tried to make his way to the house, and fell in the yard.  And he lived several days before he died.  And the little boy would comfort his grandfather, whom he loved so much, who had reared the little fellow, and he would say to him, "Daddy, don’t cry, and don’t be heartbroken.  I’m going to be with Jesus.  And I’ll meet you in heaven."  And the boy died.  And Uncle Drew, as he would tell me about it, and himself just breaking into sobs, he would ask me this again and then come back to it in a little while and ask me this thing again:  "Do you believe that a fourteen year old boy could be saved?"  You see, all of their theology and all of their preaching and all of their services a fourteen year old boy couldn’t be saved; too young, he hadn’t seen the vision.

"Do you think a fourteen year old boy could be saved?"  To you that question is impossible.  It is unthinkable!  Yet to them it was an impossibility, it was the most thinkable thing that they could think of.  You’re not saved unless you have a tremendous experience, like the apostle Paul.  There has to be a ball of fire fall over your head.  You have to be struck unconscious to the ground.  You have to mourn over the burden of your sins for days and years.  Have to go to the mourner’s bench for a generation.  You have to cry unto God and plead with the Lord for years and years.  And before you can be saved, you have to see a light from heaven, or a vision of an angel, or a daughter or a son who preceded you must come back from heaven and make a personal appearance to you.  It has to be some kind of an extraneous, monstrous experience, alien to the mind of God, before you can be received as a candidate for baptism as a regenerated soul.

And did you know, a little of that drifts into our families and among our people?  I could hardly tell you the number of people in my church and in my pastorates through these years that have come to me and said, "I don’t know whether I’m really saved or not.  I don’t know whether I have ever been really regenerated or not."  And then when I ask, why, it comes about like this:  somebody has had a marvelous experience, an unusual Pauline experience, and because this one hasn’t had that kind of an experience, why, they conclude, he concludes, she concludes, "I haven’t been really saved.  I haven’t been born again.  I’ve never seen a vision of angels.  I’ve never seen a light from heaven.  I was never struck to the ground and lay unconscious under the burden of my sins.  Therefore, I’ve never been saved."  Whenever we identify our salvation with an experience, you’re taking your mind off of the main thing and putting it on corollaries and subsidiary circumstances.  We are saved by faith in Jesus.  "Look and live.  And it was so that if a man was bitten by a serpent, if he’d look, he’d live" [Numbers 21:9].  Now incidentally, I may have a great experience; but it is incidental, it is not the main thing.  The heart of it, the soul of it, the body of it, the corpus of it, the reality of it is always found in Christ.  And some of these monstrous experiences that I hear people describe take away from Jesus.  Instead of His being the all in all, Christ is all, everything, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, He loved me, He died for me, He called me, and I looked and lived, and I answered; instead of that it’s some other unusual thing that takes away from our Lord.  You’re saved whether you were saved as a little boy, whether you were saved as an old man, whether you were saved as an old woman, whether you were saved as a youth; whenever you were saved, you were saved by one thing:  you looked in faith to Jesus.  "Lord be merciful to me, and save me.  Forgive my sins, dear Lord, in Jesus’ name, in Christ’s blood and wounds and tears, Lord, remember me."  And all of these other things are extraneous; they really don’t matter.

Whether you saw an angel or not is absolutely immaterial.  Whether you saw a light from heaven has nothing to do with it.  Whether you had a tremendous experience or not has nothing at all to do with your salvation.  We are saved by trusting Jesus, looking to Jesus.  And that experience can be the experience of a little boy and a little girl:  by faith, trusting Jesus.

So He calls us to faith in Him.  And it has been my experience that wherever people are converted, almost all of them are saved when they’re children.  Let’s just test the thing this morning.  How many of you were converted, you who are here in this great congregation this morning, how many of you were converted from twelve years of age down?  You were still a junior.  All of you who were converted from the age of twelve years and down – I was ten – with the pastor, hold up your hand?  How many were?  That’s almost all of us.  Not all of us, of course, God is merciful and good; some of us are converted in our teens, some of us are converted in our youth, some of us are converted, of course, in manhood and womanhood; but almost all of us are converted when we’re children.  And that’s the time, that’s the day, because when a child comes forward, not only offer a soul to Jesus, but a life.  I can’t help but call to mind a thing Moody said.  When he returned from a service, somebody asked him, "Were there any people responded?  Anybody saved?"

"Yes," said Moody, "two and a half, two and a half."

"Well," said the fellow to whom Moody was talking, "two grown people and a child."

"Oh no," said Moody, "a child and two grown people; two and a half."  For when the child came, the child not only brought his heart and his soul, but the child brought his life.  But when an old man’s converted, it’s just a half.  His heart is saved, his soul is saved, his spirit is saved; but his life has been lost in the world.

Now, next Sunday morning, we will speak of God’s call to children to fulltime special service.  And then I want to speak of God’s call sometimes to little children, when they’re called to be with Jesus in heaven.

Now while we sing our song, if there’s somebody here this morning to take Jesus as Savior, somebody here this morning to put his life with us in the church, a family, or just one somebody you, while we sing this appeal will you come and stand by me?  On the first note of the first stanza, come, while all of us stand and sing.