Sunday, 3 November 2013



  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.

Here is proof: the Lord can be served in all kinds of circumstances:

[i] Samuel was but a child and so limited in many ways. The Holy Spirit records that he ministered unto the Lord

[ii] Samuel served under the tutelage (again with restraints) of old Eli. Whilst this might have been of some advantage, yet Eli's life/testimony left much to be desired (2:29) Would be unfair to be very hard on Eli - his advice to Samuel when the Lord was speaking to him was invaluable advice (v9) 

[iii] There was no open vision in those days. Not only did he not have a full canon/Scripture (only completed around 96AD when John finished writing revelation) but there was no ongoing revelation either at that time: (text)

Important to note that Samuel did have access to some Scripture. He had at least the 5 books of Moses, and chronologically at least, the Book of Joshua, Judges and Ruth. You can't serve God without some knowledge. Acceptable service is built on and flows from faith and true faith is built on knowledge: I know whom I have believed and am persuaded…

But in those days, the going was exceedingly tough, and yet Samuel still maintained a veritable testimony for God: 2:21/2:26

I accept that the Bible says that Samuel did not yet know the Lord (v7) but I do not take this to mean re: salvation. He did not know the Lord speaking to Him in a prophetic sense - a consequence of the word/Lord being precious or rare in those days.

It is this last part - the scarcity of prophesies from the Lord- that we will examine. 

A number of reasons may be advanced why this is so:

A/ God is sovereign in the dispensing/timing of His revelations.
Man cannot work his way towards creating conditions when God MUST reveal something more about Himself and His purposes.
God speaks when and how He will and always when it suits Him.
If God did not speak, then we know little about Him.
As it is:  Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand? (Job 26:14)
E.W. Bullinger renders this verse:
"Lo, these are but the outlines of His way, a whisper only, that we hear of Him: His wondrous power, who then, can comprehend?"

Flesh/blood has not revealed unto the doctrines we now contend for.
Eye hath not seen nor ear heard…but the Spirit has revealed them unto us and has done so in a sovereign manner.

B/ Another reason why there was no open vision then was that God did not give us a full revelation all at one time.
He, very wisely, filtered all information to us over a long period/time.
Sometimes, it came very slowly - Other times, it flowed freely: Consider the many Psalms which came to us in David's lifetime Consider the many Proverbs which came to us in Solomon's  lifetime

In Galatians 4, Paul described this process as being like the pupil sitting under a Schoolmaster
No one learns by being swamped with tonnes/information at one time.

C/ But there was another, more sinister, element at play also:
We have already considered God's sovereign ways…but now we have man's responsibilities.
We must view the relative silence/God here in the light/context.
Which is this: Israel at this time had sunk into great sin against God.

[i] Among the God fearing people - Samuel's mother was 1/2 wives of his father (1:1-2) 
Polygamy always brought sorrow/Bible.

[ii] The sons/Eli as priests were very wicked people (2:12-17/22-25)
They were eventually judged for their sin (2:25/3:11-14/4:11)

[iii] Eli, although basically a good man, was lax about his sons (2:29)

And this sad typical scene/Israel may be attributed: scarcity/word.


A/ Positively, the word/God was precious - what the saints did have, they held dear to themselves, meditating often upon it and cherishing it, feeding upon it and esteeming it more than their meat and drink

B/ Negatively…it had a most adverse affect upon the people:
Where there is no vision…the people perish (Proverbs 29:18)
Seen again: Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD. (Lamentation 2:9)
Lord Grey said: "The lamps were going out all over Europe"  - a reference to the beckoning WWI when millions perished.
Likewise…when the demand for the word/God plummets (as it is doing all over Europe again and the West in general) then men/women die in their sins - uninstructed, unconverted and unsaved (Romans 10:14-17)

C/ Let us not think that such a calamity affects only the heathens whether of the East/West - that only unsaved folk suffer.
It is true too of the Church/Jesus Christ.
Any discernible thirsting for the word/God among professing saints?
Many Evangelical churches no longer preach the word/God!
Might believe it, but only because it has been preached faithfully in the past
They are living on their capital - they have substituted a fun/games mentality for the word/God. Any Bible study is a superficial tag on.
This will lead to the demise of that church - just as giving up eating wholesome food has a detrimental effect on your health.

D/ Soon the Lord was to speak again
He spoke through a man of God to Eli (2:27ff)
He would speak again through Samuel, who seems to be put at the head of a whole line of prophets: Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.  (Acts 3:24)
Often his messengers were prophets speaking of wrath, but at least, the voice/Lord was heard in the land and preached repentance, which at the  very least suggests pardon/mercy from a gracious God.


A/ We have already considered the idea of a partial revelation, given over a long period/time. It took about 4,000 years to write the OT.
It took only 100 years to write the whole/NT.

We have now a complete canon/Scripture - No more revelations from God - and so a rejection of the Charismatic Movement and the likes of Benny Hinn and other "faith prophets" 
We have a complete Bible.
We are not looking for the Lord to give more revelations, but to instruct us as to what is already written in the full canon/Scripture.
Hence our prayer: Psalm 119:18 Open thou mine eyes…etc.,

B/ What advantages we have at this time

[i] Our knowledge of the Lord Jesus and His work is much more than even the Prophets.
Although, it is to the prophets we turn (in the Bible) yet we do so in the light/gospel narratives and the epistles.
We don't read Isaiah 53 and ask: Of whom spake the prophet? (Acts 8:34)

[ii] The prophets desired to see/hear the things we now take for granted (Matthew 13:16-17) See also Hebrews 11:39-40.

[iii] Again, we have a fuller outpouring of the Holy Spirit than them.
Although we should not minimise their experiences, yet we should recognise/appreciate and make the most of ours.
Think of how stale the Jewish church went in the days/our Lord.
Think of the writings/commentaries that buried the Bible's message.
By comparison: Think of the hundreds of mighty commentaries - Matthew Henry/Calvin/Spurgeon etc., we have in our day

All because we have the full canon/Scripture in our day.


A/ Israel/Samuel's day did not take full advantage of their privileges.
That cannot remain a static situation - soon despised the Giver (2:30)
It is our responsibility (as well as our joy/pleasure) to take full advantage of all that we have in our full revelation age.

B/ How well do you know your Bible? 
Do you read it daily? 
Do you read it to learn more about its Glorious Author? 
Do you obey it?
Does this Book keep you from sin or does sin keep you from this Book? (Bunyan)
Do you meditate upon it?
Is your experience that of Solomon: When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. (Proverbs 6:22)
If not: It should be and it can be and it can be now.
Jesus said: Search the Scriptures (John 5:39)
Let's cry out to God for a hunger/thirst for His word.


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