I Samuel 3
Last night I heard someone call my name. It was weird because Eli had never called me after I went to bed.
I hugged my favorite toy, ran to his bed and asked him what he needed. He said he didn't call me and told me to go back to bed. Now that was really weird
I went back to bed but I heard my name called two more times in that night. Each time I ran to Eli's bed to ask what he needed; I'm glad he didn't get angry for me waking him. The third time, Eli said, "If the Lord calls you, say 'Speak Lord for Your servant hears.'"
I walked slower back to my bed. This time I looked in the other rooms in the Temple except the ones I wasn't allowed to go in, like the Holy of Holies. I didn't see anyone. Eli said he thought the Lord had called to me. I'm just a kid. Why would God speak to me?
I went back to my room and climbed under the blankets and hugged my toy. I didn't think I would be able to go to sleep but I must have because my eyes popped open when the voice spoke to me again. "Samuel! Samuel!"
The Lord is calling me. I need to say the words Eli told me to say. I cleared my throat and sat up. "Speak to me Lord, I am you servant and I'm listening."
I looked around the room and didn't see anything, yet I could hear the Voice. "Samuel, I am going to do something in Israel which will make the ears of everyone who hears tingle. On that day I will do everything to the house of Eli that I said I would do from the beginning to the end.
"I told Eli I would judge his house forever because he knew his sons Hopni and Phinehas did evil yet he didn't make them stop. He allowed his sons to continue their work in My Temple even though they dishonored me with their sins.
"I gave Eli a chance and have waited for him to remove his sons from their Temple duties or stop them in some other way. The time has come for Me to wait no longer. I will punish His house and will not accept any sacrifice from them."
The message scared me. I didn't want to tell Eli. I lay down in my bed but couldn't go back to sleep. When the sun first rose I got up to do my morning chores. I opened the doors of the house of the Lord then did my other chores.
Eli came into the room where I worked. "Samuel, my son, I've been looking for you. Tell me, what did the Lord say to you?"
I looked at him then at the ground. I didn't want to tell him what I heard.
Eli stepped closer and set his hand on my shoulder. "Now, there, my son. Don't worry. Please don't hide any of the words from me."
I looked up at his wrinkled face. I didn't want to hurt him, but I wanted to obey. I told him every work the Lord spoke to me then looked at the ground again and sighed.
Eli reached out his hand and lifted my chin until I could see his eyes. "It is the Lord's will. Let Him do what seems good to Him."
Eli walked away with slow sad-like steps.
I've thought about Eli's answer that day for a long time. Even though he didn't do something right, he understood when God said he needed to be punished, and he honored God with his answer. I wonder, though, why Eli didn't punish his sons even after he heard God's message.
1. Who called Samuel?
2. What did Eli, the priest, tell Samuel to do?
3. What message did God give to Samuel?
4. Why did God make that decision?
5. What did Eli ask Samuel the next morning?
6. What did you learn from this story?