The “Here Comes The Judges!” Series #5




TEXT:         1 Sam. 1:20-28;  2:11-26, 34-35; 3:1-10, 19-21


INTRO:       What is a child?  A cute little bundle of energy that is often self-programmed!  They are explorers, trekkers ... seeking out new things, going where every man has gone before ... their 5 year mission, to explore, mess up, turn upside down, to laugh, to cry ... until they become humans sometime around the age of 21. (Or later!)


Most of us put children in the class of a minor impact on society.


BUT ... think about this, the entire future of our society is right now running around in diapers!  Thing about these truths:


a.    These same little entities that cannot control their bladder will control the atomic weapons in less than 4 decades!

b.   These same children whose food drools down their chins will be producing the world's supply of food in a few years!

c.    These screamers now that don't get their way will one day be shouting orders in board rooms for control ... taking over our institutions that govern our society!


ILLUS:     Let every Christian father and mother understand, when their child is three years old, that they have done more than half of all they will ever do for his character. -- Horace Bushnell (1802-1876) -- Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 8306.


Life tomorrow is running around our feet today ... can we avoid teaching them the critical values and morals our God has given to us? ... Most importantly, will we INTRODUCE them to the same wonderful God we ourselves serve?  If we don't, can we expect a NATION UNDER GOD, or ever expect to see people who know the living God?


ILLUS:    "If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures." -- Daniel Webster -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).


PROP. SENT:   With the blessing of having children comes the responsibility of nurturing them in the way of faith ... tomorrow begins today, one godly child can direct a nation in the ways of faith, no wonder Jesus insisted with His disciples, “Let the children come unto me!”


I.   EXAMPLE   1 Sam. 1:20-28


A.   Parents    1 Sam. 1:20-28a

1.   One cannot miss the obvious character of mom and dad in this story of a great man named Samuel!

a.   Hannah had asked for this child ... and not selfishly to promote herself!

(1.   Proof of this was the fact that she was willing to let go of him early, this child she had promised to God!  Note verse 28a: “So now I give him to the LORD.  For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.”

(2.   God had a hard time resisting this kind of parenting!

(3.   Though barren, God granted her this child!

b.   Elkanah & Hannah had a wonderful 2 way relationship, he was eager to encourage his wife and to share with the promise of this child with God!

(1.   This loving relationship of a couple in the Old Testament was an encouragement to God; and somewhat rare for that day and time.

(2.   This would become the example God needed to raise up a great leader in Israel by the name of Samuel!


ILLUS:    Don't let these parenting years get away from you. Your contributions to your children and grandchildren could rank as your greatest accomplishments in life.  -- James C. Dobson (1936- ) -- Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 8294.


2.   No matter how our culture doesn't like it ... the example of parents still has the greatest impact on our children beyond anything else in society!

a.   We get the children first ... so we have the first chance to mold and shape them!

b.   Example teaches them more than we would like to believe!

c.   While there can be exceptions to this rule ... this is usually the case!

d.   All the research shows that the first 5 years of a child’s life establishes them in so many ways.  (Which may help explain Moses’ life, his mom raised him those first 5 years even though he was taken into Pharaoh’s court … his mom was taken to be nurse maid to him and where do you think he understood he was really part of the Jewish people?)


B.   Prodigy    1 Sam. 1:28b

1.   "And HE worshipped the Lord there."  This is a reference to Samuel!!!

a.   He was between 2-5 years of age at this point!

b.   Perhaps he was only mimicking his parents at this point ... but that doesn't mean it was insignificant!

c.   He was accustomed to going with his parents routinely to worship, and seeing them worship, and worshipping as they did!  Boy, could you say a lot here!

(1.   Stay at home parents do not usually make "go to church children!

(2.   Kids that know how to worship usually are following a pattern, most likely that of a parent!


ILLUS:     Children will invariably talk, eat, walk, think, respond, and act like their parents. Give them a target to shoot at. Give them a goal to work toward. Give them a pattern that they can see clearly, and you give them something that gold and silver cannot buy. -- Billy Graham (1918- ) -- Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 8289.


2.   This event should not be minimized in the story of Samuel!

a.   Perhaps he didn't fully understand what he was doing as a 3 year old, but it was establishing his personality and priority as a worshiper!

b.   This level of consistency would later pay off in great ways for the whole nation of Israel!

c.   Think of the powerful imprinting of character that this did for Samuel, which proves powerful later as he lives in another household where undisciplined children run rampant ... but his godly character stays intact.


II.  EXCEPTION    1 Sam. 2:11-26, 34-35


A.   Perverted!    1 Sam. 2:11-17, 22-25

1.   People say, "But look at the world and how bad the influences are ... what makes you think it makes a difference what we do as parents if they are exposed to a corrupt world?"

a.   Samuel as a young boy now lived in Eli's household, whose home was rather corrupt!

b.   NOTE HOWEVER chapter 2 verse 11: “Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli!”

(1.   He had gone from just worshipper to minister ... but still a boy!

(2.   This is the same home where Eli's sons were evil and corrupt!  Note this statement in the Bible about them: 1 Sam 2:12 “Eli's sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD.”

2.   Eli’s sons Hophni & Phinehas were selfish and undisciplined ... Eli ignored them rather than deal with them, yet even their influence did not undo or corrupt the earlier training of Samuel's godly mom and dad!


ILLUS:    When God wants an important thing done in this world, or a wrong righted, He goes about it in a very singular way.  He does not release His thunderbolts or stir up His earthquake. He simply has a tiny, helpless baby born, perhaps in an obscure home, perhaps of a very humble mother.  Then He puts the idea or purpose into the mother's heart, she puts it into the baby's mind and then -- God waits. -- Edward T. Sullivan -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 74.


3.   Not unlike today, Hophni & Phinehas wanted instant gratification and things done their way. (Read 1 Sam. 2:12-17)

a.   Note their unchallenged demands when people brought sacrifices to the Lord, they demanded their portion as priests instead of waiting for God to get His portion first – they wanted their portion up front and said this!  1 Sam 2:16b "No, hand it over now; if you don't, I'll take it by force."

b.   Note the time frame of their desires, "NOW!"

c.   Notice the result of this unchallenged selfishness ... "I'll take it by force" in other words ... a violent selfish temperament.


B.   Promise    1 Sam. 2:18-21, 26

1.   While being raised in this same environment ... Samuel was GIVING rather than taking, the essence of "ministering" 1 Sam. 2:18

a.   The word "BUT..." implies an intended contrast with the previous section!

b.   The point: It is possible to live in a corrupt society and not be corrupt!

2.   Samuel was a promise in the making!

3.   All was not lost ... a child was becoming a champion for God ... the boy with the linen ephod, his mom brought him a new one every year!

a.   How proud they must have been of Samuel!

b.   How proud Samuel must have been of them ... his service to God had a daily reminder on him from mom and dad all the time!

c.   His parents were never far away, they stay connected to his growing devotion to God.

4.   Notice in 1 Sam. 21b the emphasis on "GROWING UP IN GOD'S PRESENCE"  1 Sam 2:21  “And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters.  Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD.”  (Underline for emphasis mine)


ILLUS:     A man and his young son were climbing a mountain.  They came to a place where the climbing was difficult and even dangerous.  The father stopped to consider which way he should go.  He heard the boy behind him say, "Choose the good path, Dad; I'm coming right behind you!" -- Author unknown -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 202.


a.   And also the result: 1 Sam 2:26  “And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men.”

b.   Samuel gained favor with God AND man.

c.   Being a Christian doesn't require that everyone hate you!  Quite the opposite ... they might not agree with you, but should respect the example of godliness that we live before others!

5.   Samuel proves that our children can be an exception in society ... even the most corrupt society, they just need the proper examples and influences!


III.  EXPERIENCE    1 Sam. 3:1-10,19-21


A.   Personal     1 Sam. 3:1-10

1.   This first verse could sum up parts of the world today, sadly, maybe even parts of our country now!  "The Word of God was rare in those days! ..."

a.   How difficult it must have been to be a young child in such an empty society that knew so little about the living God!

b.   The Biblical word used here for "BOY" meant older than a baby, but less than around 15 years of age!

c.   This event happens as Samuel approaches his early teens.

2.   We find Samuel, consistent, faithful, ministering!

a.   This order in his life would have lasting fruit!

b.   The consistent way he worshiped would give foundation to his life later.

3.   YET, until now it had been Dad and Mom's teaching, going through the proper routines of worship; BUT that personal touch of God had not yet experientially happened in a direct way yet from God...

a.   HOWEVER ... This doesn't mean that the routines or the parents teaching were useless or unimportant, indeed they gave him the foundation for the personal approach of God!

b.   All the motions he previously had gone through were accepted by God, and were dynamic in his life, but now it would have to be HIS relationship to God ... personal!

4.   He had been doing all the talking to God … it was time for a new dynamic.

a.   He was accustomed to hearing from DAD AND MOM.

b.   He was accustomed to hearing from the Priest Eli.



ILLUS:    Adrian Rogers, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, tells about the man who made his sons work in the cornfields while their peers spent the afternoon at the swimming hole.  Someone scolded the father saying, "Why do you make those boys work so hard?  You don't need all that corn."  The wise father replied, "Sir, I'm not raising corn.  I'm raising boys." -- Quoted by Marvin Hein in The Christian Leader (Nov.21, l989).  Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 2.


5.   And so God calls him...

a.   Of course he assumes it is Eli calling, this he was accustomed to.

b.   Three times God calls ... this alone may indicate the dulling nature of Eli's understanding since Eli takes 3 times before he understands the nature of Samuel’s responses and realizes it may be God speaking to him!

c.   This young teen, probably about 12 years old, responds to God's call:

(1.   Who says God doesn’t speak to teenagers or even younger children?

(2.   "Speak, for your servant is listening." 1 Sam. 3:lOb

(3.   Imagine if all our teens responded to God this way ... tomorrow would be real interesting!

(4.   Imagine for that matter if all the parents would respond this way!


B.   Persistent    1 Sam. 3:19-21

1.   God never left Samuel, He was always there as he continued to grow up!

a.   Samuel persisted in his living for God.

b.   Samuel became one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament.

c.   God's Word continued throughout his entire lifetime to come from Samuel's lips.

2.   All Israel was affected and recognized the life and lifestyle of Samuel the prophet of God.

a.   Kings wouldn’t go to war until they heard from this man of God.

b.   His word moved the nation … God spoke to him on a regular basis.

c.   What began in childhood stayed with him his entire life.

d.   Even in death his legacy continued to touch the nation.

3.   God continued to stay in touch with the man of God who began as a young child in the ways of the Lord!

4.   Samuel's influence even continued after his death ... the legacy of a godly foundation begun by his parents!


ILLUS:     The only thing that parents can take to heaven is their children. -- Billy Graham's daughter Gigi, quoted by John Maxwell in "What Children Owe Their Parents (and Themselves)," Preaching Today, Tape No. 140.


CONCLUSION:    God never underestimates the value of children and the early training they need in God's ways.  Samuel became one of the greatest prophets in Israel, due largely to the heart he had for God as a young boy ... and godly parents who influenced him for the Lord.  Don’t underestimate those crude little bundles of undisciplined energy crawling around your floors at home … or in those church nurseries … God may be speaking to some of them right now!

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."  Mark 10:13