Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE VOICE OF GOD”

First Samuel 3.1-10

 

If being a Christian wife and mother is the most difficult calling there is, and I am convinced that it is, then being a Christian husband and father is the most terrifying calling there is, requiring a thing called courage. Few things in life require as much hard work and intense labor and fierce commitment than motherhood after the fashion that is pleasing to God. But at the same time, I cannot think of anything that requires as much moral courage in the face of frightening circumstances as does fulfilling the calling to be a Christian father and husband.

I say this because not all of society is arrayed against motherhood. No one ridicules a strong and determined mom who is fiercely protective of her children. However, how does the world in which we live look upon a man determined to lead his home? He is thought to be an arrogant dictator. What about a man who is tender, thoughtful, and sensitive? That either man is thought to be a loving and sophisticated homosexual, or he is a married man who shares leadership and decision making responsibilities with his working wife. However, there is no room in our society for a man who is both a strong leader and decision maker in his home, as well as being tender, thoughtful, and sensitive. On top of all this, if he happens to love God and exercise spiritual oversight in a responsible and thoughtful way, if he has convictions that he will die for, then he is thought by neighbors and authorities to be a right wing white supremacist survivalist wacko in the making who is a potential threat to peace and order in society. This, despite the fact that God’s desire is for him to be the most peaceable of men.

This evening I will make no apology for advocating Christian manhood. I will not apologize for attempting to persuade men to provide leadership in their homes by taking their families to church instead of sending their families to church, by handling the family’s finances instead of getting an allowance as though you were an irresponsible child, by doing what is necessary to be inventive enough, crafty enough, tough enough, energetic enough, well educated enough, or whatever it takes enough so that your children can actually be raised by your wife because you are the sole provider for your family. Hard? Yes. Solution? Figure out a way to get it done. I will not equivocate on my conviction that every man in this room has a moral duty and holy obligation to provide for his wife and his children after he is gone, as well as while he is still alive. It is your duty to see that your life is insured, that education or financial planning to deal with life, and that equips your wife your children are provided for, should something catastrophic and unexpected happen to you.

Frankly, this evening, I am rather tired of people who interfere with men being leaders in their homes. I grow weary of wives who are quite satisfied with husbands who are not strong, who are not assertive, and who are not providers, who are not financially responsible enough to handle the checkbook, but who seem to be happy so long as hubby likes to play with the children when they both get home from work. I think a Christian woman should want more, pray for more, and demand more from her husband, and not satisfy herself with the results in her husband’s life of 50 years of radical militant feminism run lose in our society.

I have never heard of the United States Marine Corps training Marines by making life as soft for their recruits as they can. I do not believe that Navy SEALS are trained at the shallow end of a swimming pool, on warm and balmy days, by kind men who say nice things to trainees all the time, and who are always ready to pick them up should they slip and fall.

On the other hand, let us not forget that Marines, and Navy SEALS, and Army Rangers, are volunteers. They chose to take the course they have followed. It was their decision to submit to preparation to be the best fighting men they could be trained and equipped to be. Yes, they chose their narrow paths, so we have every right to expect them to strive to be the best. But so did fathers choose their paths. Everyone in this room has every right in the world to expect each man here who chooses to be a father to strive to be the very best father he can be.

Guy, you chose to be a father when you did what you did. I hope that what you did was marry the mother of your children and then become a father. Therefore, in reality, you are a volunteer in the calling you are presently participating in. And you know what? What you find yourself doing is scary. To be the man who is responsible for providing for a wife and for children, to see the wife properly led and to see the children properly raised, is frightening.

Oh, you may not be scared of going to work, though more and more men are these days. You are probably not scared of pulling overtime. You are likely not scared of working on the car. But you are scared of being spiritual. You are scared of getting a decent education so you can make the kind of money that will enable your wife to stay home with the kids. You are scared to get on your knees before God and beg Him to work in your life. You are scared to stand up to your sweet but bossy wife and tell her how the cow eats the corn, that there’s a new sheriff in town, and that by God’s grace you are going to once and for all settle the issue of who the leader in this house happens to be.

Please do not think that I am going to spend our time this evening trying to correct your fathering techniques. I am not going to provide tips for seizing control of the reins of leadership in your family. If you are some kind of irresponsible adolescent who does not control his own finances, I will not spend this evening’s message trying to get you to wrestle for control of your own paycheck so that you will be delivered from financial slavery. If you are some kind of passive weenie whose wife is the real leader in the family, I am not going to provide for you the steps necessary to correct your hormonal deficiencies or your spiritual impotency.

No, I want to do something different. I will not deal with your how-to this evening, but with your want-to. I want to take you to a portion of Scripture that I hope will do nothing less than profoundly bother you. It is a passage that I hope will provoke thought and maybe even make for some sleepless nights. Perhaps, it is a passage that will even frighten you a bit.

Turn in your Bible to First Samuel 3, where we will stand and read together verses 1-10:

 1     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.

 Let us take note of some important facts in the case of this boy, Samuel.

 Verse 1: “And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli.” Of course, Samuel was the little boy given by God in answer to his mother Hannah’s prayer. She then lent the boy to God and he lived at the Tabernacle with Eli, the high priest. Notice that even as a child the lad ministered unto the LORD before Eli. So much for parents who don’t give their children duties in the church, like convalescent hospital ministries, like cleaning the rest rooms, like straightening up the auditorium after each service, like policing the lawn and parking lot for scraps of paper, and like pulling weeds out front. This little boy was put to serving God before he was saved, while he was still little. It is a wicked and negligent father who does not require service to God from his children; or an ignorant one. But for a child to serve God in such a fashion dad must serve God first. Amen? Dad, what do your kids do in service to God at home or here at church?

“And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.” In Samuel’s day, God had only given six books of the Bible, the five books of the Pentateuch penned by Moses and the book written by Joshua, Moses’ successor. Therefore, the Word of the LORD was precious in those days because it was rare. They did not have the completed revelation of God’s Word, and God had not spoken to or through chosen men since the death of Joshua. Nowadays, when there is a Bible in the drawer of every nightstand in every motel and hotel in the United States, the word of the LORD is not thought to be so precious. Amen?

“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.” We know from First Samuel 4.15 and 18 that Eli was very old and very heavy. Therefore, this, coupled with his blindness, suggests that Samuel’s duties included tending to the personal needs of old Eli. In addition, if there is one thing that seems to be common to all aged men, it is the fact that they have to get up several times at night, every night. So Samuel, no doubt, had grown accustomed to listening for Eli to call him to help him take care of his needs.

“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.” This verse suggests another of Samuel’s duties. Remember, these are the days of the Tabernacle at Shiloh, before Israel had a king and before there was a Temple in Jerusalem. In these days, Jerusalem was still an enemy fortress and the priesthood was scattered throughout the land. In all probability, it was this young boy named Samuel who entered the holy place in the Tabernacle and trimmed there wicks of the lampstand and added oil to keep the candles lit at night. So you see, this lad had important duties to tend to while he was yet young.

“That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. 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.” Dads, take note. In the middle of the night God called out to this lad, the lad answered, and the lad thought the voice was the voice of Eli.

“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. Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.” Dads, take note again. The voice of God rang out in the night and again this little boy thought the voice was the voice of Eli. Samuel did not yet know the LORD, he was not at this time converted, and the Word of the LORD was not yet revealed to him.

“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. 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.”

Three times God calls out to this boy and three times this boy, accustomed to getting up nightly to tend to the needs of old Eli, responds by going directly to Eli. Dads, God could have chosen to speak in any voice He wanted, but He spoke in the voice of Eli. It was not Eli who was speaking but God, but that child thought the voice of God was the voice of Eli. That is a profoundly significant fact. After this third call, Eli perceived Who was calling Samuel, so he instructed the boy to return to his bed and wait for the call of God again. Notice that Eli told the lad, “If he shall call thee,” when instructing Samuel what to do in response to the call of God. Though Eli himself was a terrible father who did not restrain his own sons from committing great sin, and both he and his descendants would suffer the consequences of being a father who did not restrain his adult sons, he was Israel’s high priest and he had the insight and discernment to give Samuel proper guidance at this point in time.

Let us now look at the last verse of our text, First Samuel 3.10: “And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.” Please pay very careful attention to the specific details of this verse which is the occasion, I think, of Samuel’s conversion and the beginning of his life as a prophet of God.

Notice, first, “the LORD came, and stood.” Wait just a minute! Jesus would say, more than 1000 years after this occasion, that God is a spirit, and that they who worship Him worship Him in spirit and in truth. So, how can the LORD, which is the English word that translates the very name of God, which we usually approximate by pronouncing Jehovah, come and stand if He is a spirit?

Folks, I believe that this is one of those few occasions in the Old Testament era, before Jesus had taken upon Himself human flesh by means of the virgin birth, when He appeared in the form of a human being though He was not yet a human being. Perhaps the most famous of these so-called Christophanies, these pre-incarnate appearances of the Lord Jesus, was when Nebuchadnezzar cast the three Hebrews into a fiery furnace. You will remember that Nebuchadnezzar was astonished that though there were only three cast into the fire that was so hot that several of his guards were killed by it, not only were the three Hebrews saved alive and unharmed, but Nebuchadnezzar observed a fourth figure in the fire with them, like unto a Son of God. Another occasion on which Jesus made a human-like appearance before His birth of the Virgin Mary was to Joshua as captain of the LORD’s host in Joshua chapter 5.

Back to our text. The point that I seek to make is that what we have here is an appearance to a boy by the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, the mediator between God and men. In addition, I think He came to reconcile this outwardly obedient but inwardly sinful boy to God, and to outfit him for a lifetime of service to God. We can be thankful that the LORD called as at other times, “Samuel, Samuel,” and that Samuel answered the call of God, “Speak, for thy servant heareth.” Is it not amazing that this child, dutiful as he was, diligent in the discharge of his responsibilities both to Eli and to God as he was, obedient as he was, religious as he was, still did not know the LORD and had no spiritual insight until his encounter with Christ and his conversion? Truly, as we are told three separate times in God’s Word, there is not a single man “that sinneth not.” All are in need of the salvation which only Christ provides. That means, of course, that you are in need of the salvation, which only Christ provides.

 SERMON:

Let me bring some things to your attention this evening, dads, in the hopes that you are not someone who is without natural affection. In the hopes that you love your children and want God’s blessings in their lives, I want to bring some things to your attention.

I will assume that your desire is to raise sons and daughters who are morally clean and not fornicators, that you want your sons and daughters to follow the Biblical pattern of growing up and leaving mother and father to form an independent family unit, Genesis 2.24, instead of always depending on mommy or daddy to bail them out of every situation they inevitably find themselves in.

I am hoping that you want your kids to grow up to stand on their own two feet, to go to God to meet their needs instead of you. Moreover, I am hoping that your desire is not to provide something akin to social welfare for your kids when they are grown, but that your desire is to be the good man that leaves an inheritance for your grandchildren after they have reached adulthood, and have character that is formed in the absence of free handouts all the time.

I am hoping that you desperately want your children to come to know Christ, Whom to know is life eternal, and that you will do anything, anything, to lead the way to seeing your kids converted and then trained to live for Christ.

I am hoping that a mere profession of faith in Christ will not satisfy you, but that you want your kids to be godly, to be intensely spiritual.

But I say again that I do not intend, this evening, to show you how to do anything, to instruct you how to accomplish any task or goal, or to provide for you anything resembling a skill that I’d like you to acquire for use as a father. None of those things are my intention at this time.

My sole concern this evening is to concern you, to worry you, to cause you to fret, to rob you of some sleep at night, to nag at your conscience, to cause you to wring your hands a bit. I will do this by reminding you of our text for this evening, First Samuel 3.1-10. Using that portion of Scripture, and keeping in mind your love and concern as a father for your child or children, three things you need pointed out to you.

 WHEN YOUR CHILD HEARS YOU HE HEARS GOD

 May I remind you that God is omnipotent, that He can do anything He chooses to do? Yet, when He spoke to that little boy named Samuel, whose voice did the little boy hear? He heard the voice of Eli, the priest he served who was his adopted father.

Three times Samuel heard the voice of God and thought it was Eli’s voice, the old man he served and whose voice he was so used to hearing in the night. He would have been confused with no other person’s voice. Not one other human being alive on earth would that boy have confused with the voice of God, but Eli’s voice was to that boy the voice of God.

Sir, you are the most powerful authority figure in your child’s life. If anyone rivals your authority in the life of your son, whether it be your wife, whether it be your own father, whether it be this or any other preacher, then the volume of the voice of God is diminished in your child’s life. Such a thing is unarguably dangerous for your child, since we know from God’s own Word that He speaks in a still small voice. Therefore, when you speak to your child you must have authority that causes the voices of all others to seem insignificant to your child. No one’s voice should compete for the attention of your children as your voice does. No one’s voice should command the loyalty and immediate response that your voice commands. Not your wife, not your pastor, not your boss, not your friend, not your father, not your mother.

Anyone who would seek to replace your voice with their own voice in the life of your children, even if it is your own wife, is wrong and must be put in their place, by you. Only your voice should command the respect, the obedience, the fear, the attention, that God has set aside for a father in the life of his children. After all, you are the primary teacher of your child, Proverbs 1.8. And unless you are a wicked man who does not lead your children in the paths of righteousness, no one has any business thwarting your role in their lives.

This being so, with the voice of God and the voice of the father being the same voice, how important is it that you be godly, dad? How critical is it that you walk in the ways of righteousness yourself? How needful is it that you bring your children to church instead of send your children to church? And how urgent is your own need to learn how to be the right kind of father to your children so that you and God will not be at odds?

Oh, how wonderful it was that the voice that Samuel heard was the voice of someone who was in God’s service. How wonderful it was that old man Eli was training the boy to be about the Master’s business. And what wonderful preparation for service to God later was provided by Eli’s use of the boy in duties around the ark of God. No wonder God’s first commandment with promise is to honor thy father. No wonder the father is to be the one who presides as the spiritual leader over his household. No wonder dad should lead in prayer, should lead in devotions, should lead in Bible reading and story time. No wonder it should be dad and no one else who wears the mantle of spiritual leadership for his children.

Does the fact that your voice is the same voice God will speak with to your children scare you, dad? It ought to. Does it frighten you? It ought to. It ought to keep you awake at night pondering what would happen should God begin to speak to your child and, because you are not godly, you are not spiritual, or perhaps you are not even saved, the only result in your child’s life would be utter confusion, and then skepticism, and then resignation. Lord only knows how many dads here today have kids or step kids who are off in the world, precisely because when they spoke to their children, and when God spoke to their children with the voice of dad, there was confusion, and then skepticism, and then resignation.

 WHEN YOUR CHILD SEES YOU HE SEES GOD

Do you think it is an accident that God the Father designated you as the father of the child, and not the one who has big breasts to nurse with, and not the one who is soft, tender, and peaceful, and not the one who is smaller and physically weaker?

Do you think it is an accident that God the Father designated you as the leader in the home, you who are designated the father, you who are to provide for mom and the kids?

Mom, you see, represents the believer in submission to Jesus Christ in the home, while you represent the Savior in one respect and God the Father in another respect. What an awesome responsibility you have, dad. Not only does your child hear God when he hears you, but in a sense he sees God when he sees you. Your child will never see God with his physical eyes. Likely, he will never hear God with his physical ears. At least, not this side of eternity. So, when your little boy or when your little girl is thinking about God, is dreaming about God, is picturing in his or her mind the God who is prayed to, whose image and likeness and voice is most likely to be nearest to your child’s impression of the God who is?

What kind of a man are you, sir, who bears the image of God? All human beings are made in the image of God, but you more so in your child’s eyes than anyone else on earth. What kind of God does your child imagine from his impressions of his own father?

I would suspect that it is rather easy to convince a child that God is omnipotent whose dad is in his kid’s eyes strong and brave. In addition, I would expect that a child whose dad is kind and generous might have little difficulty receiving instruction that God is good, merciful, and gracious. But what kind of God must a little boy have whose dad is not good for his word, whose dad is not morally clean, whose dad is arbitrary, or whose dad is just too tired to go to church on Sunday evening, or on Wednesday evening? That might cause a child to think of God as wimpy. Amen? Or capricious, or unjust, or not holy.

We know, from First Thessalonians 2.10-11, what keen observers of their father’s children are. And we know that kids see evidence of dad’s holiness, of dad’s justice, and of dad’s unblameableness. What does your child see evidence of, dad? And what kind of God do you convey to a child by always renting nasty movies, or by looking at dirty books, or by telling dirty jokes, or by downloading porn off the internet? In addition, what kind of father would allow rock music and rap music in his home, where girls are portrayed as whores and violence and wickedness are exalted?

Dad, you are the father in the home. Why did Jesus show men how to pray with the words “Our Father, which art in heaven”? Dad, you are the father in your home here on earth. What kind of image of God do you create in the minds of your children by the kind of man you are?

 WHEN YOUR CHILD FEELS YOU HE FEELS GOD

In First Thessalonians chapter two, you might be surprised to see that the apostle Paul informs us that the comfort of the child is the primary responsibility of the father, and not the mother. It is the mother who performs nursing duties for her child, cherishing the little one. However, it is the father, Paul tells us, who does the comforting.

Surprised by this? You should not be. After all, the father’s role in the family most closely resembles God, and God is the God of all comfort, according to Second Corinthians 1.3-4: “Blessed be God, even the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

Ladies, please excuse the fact that I am a father and I seek to magnify my ministry as a father. I think men who are fathers ought to be big in personality, should seek to project their influence and their role in their children’s lives, and should be godly.

Find it hard to comfort your child, dad? Get over it. Find it hard to be compassionate? Comfort is not always compassion. Sometimes it means to look at your child and say, “Stand up and quit being a cry baby.” In addition, other times it requires such tenderness and care and the assurance to your child that “Everything will be all right.”

Dad? How are you going to do it? Do you think things are just going to turn out all right? Do you think the Bible is full of admonitions and directions to parents for raising their children because kids will turn out right no matter what you do? Nonsense. Remember, Samuel was raised in the house of Eli, who himself was unsuccessful as a father, and whose sons turned out badly. The result? Though Samuel turned out to be a most spiritual man of God, a critical player in the history of God’s people, his sons, too, turned out badly. He never learned how to be a good dad.

So you see, it is possible that your kids will be ruined. It is possible that your grandchildren will be ruined. And unless you know Christ and learn to be a godly father, you have little reason to believe that either your kid’s or your grandchildren’s lives will not be ruined in this lifetime and damned in the next lifetime.

True to my word, I have not tried to teach you how to be a good dad. I have not provided lessons for assuming your role as leader in your home. I have not given you lessons for standing on your own two feet and taking your matters of spiritual and material importance directly to God. What I have sought to do is frighten you, concern you, and even scare you. When you speak, your children hear the voice of God. When your children see you they see God, or the closest thing to God they will ever see. In addition, when your child feels you your child feels God.

Understand that you and God are not the same. I know that and you know that. However, in their minds, especially during the formative years, your kids do not know that. Not really. To them, God is like dad. That is scary. Moreover, you cannot run away from these issues of fatherhood, since that will only convince your children that God cannot be relied on, since their dad was not reliable. Dad? It is about time you get some things settled with God, don’t you think?

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org