The witness of Samuel's Faith - Part 3:
After Hannah placed her young son Samuel to work in the Lord's service at the Tabernacle in Shiloh she brought him a new coat each year when she and her husband came to worship - 1 Samuel 2:1919 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.
. Eli again blessed she and her husband and she bore three (3) more sons and two (2) daughters - 1 Samuel 2:20 & 2120 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.
21 And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.
The Priesthood - Eli was priest and judge of Israel for 40 years, 1 Samuel 4:1818 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.
b, and it appears he knew right from wrong in God's sight but he allowed his sons Hophni and Phinehas to perversely and selfishly minister as priests. However, he encouraged the boy Samuel who ministered in the Tabernacle at Shiloh for the Lord, 1 Samuel 2:1818 But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.
. Samuel grew in stature before the Lord and gained a good reputation with the people of Israel - 1 Samuel 2:2626 And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.
Status of prophesy - When Israel fell into sin after Joshua died God rarely communicated with them through a prophet and this is the sense of the phrase: "And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision." - 1 Samuel 3:11 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.
b. Samuel was the first of the great prophets of Israel, Acts 3:2424 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.
. The first recorded occurrence of God's Word being revealed during Samuel's time was while he was still a very small boy ministering in the Tabernacle and an unidentified prophet came to Eli. This prophet reminded Eli of what God had done for his family in the past and prophesied that because he had honored his sons Hophni and Phinehas above, or more than God, they would both die in one day because of their wickedness/ disobedience and Eli's family would be cut off from their position as God's priests and God would appoint a faithful and true priest to serve Him - 1 Samuel 2:27 - 3627 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?
28 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?
29 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?
30 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.
31 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.
32 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.
33 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.
34 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.
35 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.
36 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.
Then we read that the young boy Samuel himself prophesied by the Word of God. Samuel was sleeping when the Lord called to him. He thought it was Eli summonsing so he responded to Eli's bed asking what he wanted but Eli told him he hadn't called. This scenario was repeated two more times when Eli finally realized it was the Lord calling to Samuel and so told him to wait the next time and hear what The Lord said. Samuel did and God told about the destruction of Eli and his family. The next morning Samuel was hesitant to give Eli the bad news but Eli insisted and Samuel told all God had revealed to him; that judgment was coming on Eli's progeny because Eli had done nothing to correct the disobedience of his sons. Samuel continued to grow in knowledge and understanding of God's Word while gaining the respect of all in Israel - 1 Samuel 3:1 - 201 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.
2 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;
3 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;
4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
5 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.
6 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.
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.
8 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.
9 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.
10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
11 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.
12 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.
13 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.
14 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.
15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.
16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.
17 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.
18 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.
19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.
. We then read that Samuel heard the Word of God again and he passed it on to Israel, however we don't know what that message was - 1 Samuel 3:21 - 4:1a.
Israel's faith - Israel went out to battle the Philistines but they were soundly trounced with 4000 killed. "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." - 1 Samuel 4:33 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.
. They asked the right question, i.e., "Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us this day before the Philistines?" but they came up with the wrong answer, which should have been as plain as the noses on their faces. They missed the point and made a big mistake. Among other things the arc contained the tablets on which Moses had written the law and it was the appointed place for God to reside among them in the Tabernacle's Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and then just once each year to bring the blood of a sacrifice to atone for his sins and those of the people. It was only to be moved upon God's instructions.
After the Elders called for the ark Eli's sinful sons Hophni and Phinehas supervised hauling it from the Holy of Holies to the battlefront and upon its arrival the Israelites got so pumped up and sure of victory they shouted loudly enough "that the earth rang."- 1 Samuel 4:4 & 54 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.
5 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.
. They had great faith, but it was wrongly placed, for it was in their own judgment that the presence of the arc would assure them victory and not in the Word of God.
The Philistine's faith - When they heard Israel shouting the Philistines realized God's arc was with Israel and they feared being aware of what God had done for Israel against the Egyptians with the plagues and all - 1 Samuel 4:5 - 85 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.
6 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.
7 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.
8 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.
. However, the Philistines also had faith, & in themselves as men, as they stated: "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." - 1 Samuel 4:9 & 109 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.
10 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.
. In the battle Hophni and Phinehas were killed and the Philistines captured the arc and took it away - 1 Samuel 4:1111 And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.
God's Word fulfilled - An Israeli messenger from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the battlefield to Shiloh where Eli sat waiting, his heart trembling because he knew it was wrong for his sons to have taken the arc from the Holy of Holies. He was 98 years old, very heavyset and upon hearing the news about the arc he fell backwards, broke his neck and died. The wife of Phinehas was ready to deliver a child and when she heard the news about the loss of the arc and the deaths of her husband and father in law she went into labor and delivered a son but died in the process. The midwife named the boy "Ichabod," stating "the glory is departed from Israel: for the arc of God is taken." - 1 Samuel 4:12 - 2212 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.
13 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.
14 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.
15 Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see.
16 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?
17 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.
18 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.
19 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.
20 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.
21 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.
22 And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.
Faith in what? - Many people today who call themselves Christians give faith credit for their accomplishment/s: victory in sports; business success; marital bliss; growth in church membership; missionary endeavors; etc. On the other hand many people who make no claim whatsoever to faith in God are like the Philistines and say "quit yourselves like men, and fight," and in many cases these people appear more successful than "Christians" in many of life's endeavors. So it may be asked about "Christians," is it by faith in God's Word or by sheer determination, brains and/or luck?
God's Word always precedes the faith that acts: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:1717 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
. It follows that every instance of accomplishment by faith examined in these Faith Studies for the last 3