Samuel feared to show Eli - He reverenced him as a father, and he feared to distress him by showing what the Lord had purposed to do. It does not appear that God had commanded Samuel to deliver this message: he, therefore, did not attempt it till adjured by Eli, 1 Samuel 3:17.
Opened the doors - We learn thus incidentally the nature of some of Samuel‘s duties. This duty was quite Levitical in its character. In the interval between Josh and David, when the tabernacle was stationary for the most part, it may have lost something of its “tent” character, and among other changes have had doors instead of the hanging.
Samuel feared to show Eli the vision - Here was Samuel‘s first experience of the prophet‘s cross: the having unwelcome truth to divulge to those he loved, honored, and feared. Compare the case of Jeremiah Jeremiah 15:10; Jeremiah 17:15-18; Jeremiah 20:7-18.
Eli was a good man, pure in morals; but he was too indulgent. He incurred the displeasure of God because he did not strengthen the weak points in his character. He did not want to hurt the feelings of anyone and had not the moral courage to rebuke and reprove sin. His sons were vile men; yet he did not remove them from their position of trust. These sons profaned the house of God. He knew this, and felt sad in consequence of it, for he loved purity and righteousness; but he had not sufficient moral force to suppress the evil. He loved peace and harmony, and became more and more insensible to impurity and crime. But the great God takes the matter in hand Himself. When the rebuke falls upon him, through the instrumentality of a child, he accepts it, feeling that it is what he deserves. He does not show any resentment toward Samuel, the messenger of God; he loves him as he has done, but condemns himself. 4T 516.1
The guilty sons of Eli were slain in battle. He could endure to hear that his sons were slain, but he could not bear the news that the ark of God was taken. He knew that his sin of neglect in failing to stand for the right and restrain wrong had at last deprived Israel of her strength and glory. The pallor of death came upon his face, and he fell backward and died. 4T 516.2
What a lesson have we here for parents and guardians of youth, and for those who minister in the service of God. When existing evils are not met and checked, because men have too little courage to reprove wrong, or because they have too little interest or are too indolent to tax their own powers in putting forth earnest efforts to purify the family or the church of God, they are accountable for the evil which may result in consequence of neglect to do their duty. We are just as accountable for evils that we might have checked in others, by reproof, by warning, by exercise of parental or pastoral authority, as if we were guilty of the acts ourselves. 4T 516.3Read in context »
Samuel, who served God from his childhood, needed a very different discipline than one who had a set, stubborn, selfish will. Your childhood was not marked with grossness, although there were the errors of humanity in it. The whole matter has been laid open before me. I know you far better than you know yourself. God will help you to triumph over Satan if you will simply trust Jesus to fight these stern battles that you are wholly unable to fight in your finite strength. 2MCP 809.4Read in context »
Another warning was to be given to Eli's house. God could not communicate with the high priest and his sons; their sins, like a thick cloud, had shut out the presence of His Holy Spirit. But in the midst of evil the child Samuel remained true to Heaven, and the message of condemnation to the house of Eli was Samuel's commission as a prophet of the Most High. PP 581.1
“The word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. 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; 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; that the Lord called Samuel.” Supposing the voice to be that of Eli, the child hastened to the bedside of the priest, saying, “Here am I; for thou calledst me.” The answer was, “I called not, my son; lie down again.” Three times Samuel was called, and thrice he responded in like manner. And then Eli was convinced that the mysterious call was the voice of God. The Lord had passed by His chosen servant, the man of hoary hairs, to commune with a child. This in itself was a bitter yet deserved rebuke to Eli and his house. PP 581.2
No feeling of envy or jealousy was awakened in Eli's heart. He directed Samuel to answer, if again called, “Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth.” Once more the voice was heard, and the child answered, “Speak; for Thy servant heareth.” So awed was he at the thought that the great God should speak to him that he could not remember the exact words which Eli bade him say. PP 581.3
“And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of everyone that heareth it shall tingle. 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. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. 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 forever.” PP 581.4Read in context »
The literature that proceeds from corrupted intellects poisons the minds of thousands in our world. Sin does not appear exceeding sinful. They hear and read so much of debasing crime and vileness that the once tender conscience which would have recoiled with horror becomes so blunted that it can dwell upon the low and vile sayings and actions of men with greedy interest. 3T 472.1
“As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” God will have a people zealous of good works, standing firm amid the pollutions of this degenerate age. There will be a people who hold so fast to the divine strength that they will be proof against every temptation. Evil communications in flaming handbills may seek to speak to their senses and corrupt their minds; yet they will be so united to God and angels that they will be as those who see not and hear not. They have a work to do which no one can do for them, which is to fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life. They will not be self-confident and self-sufficient. Knowing their weakness, they will unite their ignorance to Christ's wisdom, their weakness to His strength. 3T 472.2
The youth may have principles so firm that the most powerful temptations of Satan will not draw them away from their allegiance. Samuel was a child surrounded by the most corrupting influences. He saw and heard things that grieved his soul. The sons of Eli, who ministered in holy office, were controlled by Satan. These men polluted the whole atmosphere which surrounded them. Men and women were daily fascinated with sin and wrong, yet Samuel walked untainted. His robes of character were spotless. He did not fellowship, or have the least delight in, the sins which filled all Israel with fearful reports. Samuel loved God; he kept his soul in such close connection with heaven that an angel was sent to talk with him in reference to the sins of Eli's sons, which were corrupting Israel. 3T 472.3Read in context »