The Last Judge…the First Prophet
1 Samuel 3:1-21
I. SOMETHING is DIFFERENT about this one. (1 Sam. 1-2)
A. It starts with FAITHFULNESS and LONGING. (1 Sam. 1)
B. A BLESSING given to the LORD. (1 Sam.1-2)
C. A FOCUS on the CONTRAST. (1 Sam. 2)
We’ve seen several Judges rise and fall throughout this series. Today we come to Samuel, the last judge. But right from the beginning of this it seems like something is different about Samuel. God is doing something here that we don’t see in the selection of the others.
1. Kid’s Question: What is something that you have wanted…really wanted…for a long time?
2. When have you felt your faith…or what your faith was calling you to…drew a stark line of contrast from the people or the culture around you?
II. Samuel LEARNS how to LISTEN. (1 Sam 3:1-21)
A. A PROCESS of LEARNING. (v.1-7)
B. The WISDOM of OTHERS. (v.8-9)
C. A HEART that is RECEPTIVE. (v.10)
D. A WILLINGNESS to ACCEPT and share HARD truth. (v.11-21)
This is a familiar Sunday School story, but let’s focus in on what is happening here. Samuel will one day speak for God to the people of Israel. He is the last judge…but also the first prophet. But there are some things he needs to learn along the way.
3. What is your own experience of hearing from (or listening to) God? Do you find it easy or challenging? Did it take time for you to learn?
4. How open are you to the role of others in helping you hear the voice of God? Are there things that hold you back from being open with your questions?
5. When has God spoken a hard truth to you? How did you respond? What was the result?
III. LISTENING to God in this TEXT. (v.10; Ps 119:18)
A. God RESPONDS to FAITHFUL LONGING. (1 Sam 1:19; Ps 34:18)
B. The COMMUNITY helps us learn to HEAR. (v. 8-9; Acts 15:28)
C. TRUTH can bring PAINFUL purifying. (v.11-18; Job 5:17-18; Heb 12:5-6)
D. God’s nature is to REVEAL and ACCOMPANY. (v.19-21; Jer. 31:33-34; Mark 3:13-14)
Just as Samuel needed to learn to listen, the text has been given to use to help us listen. There are some things in the early life of Samuel that speak powerfully into our world where for many people God often seems gone or at very best disinterested. What is God speaking to us through this passage?
6. What is something that you are deeply longing for now? Is sharing it with the community something that God might use to help you hear Him more clearly?
7. How can we be open to any “painful purifying” that God might call us to? How can we lean on our church community in those times?
8. Do you really believe that God’s very nature is to reveal himself and be “with us”? What makes that difficult to believe at times? What can help us hold to this truth?