Summary: Tests of our faith shape our ministry.

The Door to Full Surrender

1 Samuel 3:1

Scripture Reading – 1 Samuel 3:1-10

Thesis – Tests of our faith shape our ministry.

Aim – At the end of this message, the hearer will know the trials and tests of our faith are part of God’s calling in our ministry.

Our devotional opens in chapter three with Samuel ministering before the Lord, training under Eli at Shiloh. Samuel was probably around twelve years of age at this time. However, some things are missing here. What was a twelve-year-old boy doing here ministering before the Lord? We must answer this question before we can go any farther. Samuel had yet to hear the call of the Lord. He did not know the Word of the Lord yet.

So how is it that he was in the temple training under Eli? Well we must first go back to chapter one for the answer to our question. Hannah, Samuel’s mother was barren. Her husband Elkanah had other children by his other wife Peninnah.

Peninnah would tease Hannah because she was childless. On one occasion that Elkanah and his family went to worship before the Lord as was their custom. Hannah prayed in her heart. The Lord heard her prayer and answered her cry with Samuel.

Hannah had told the Lord that she would dedicate her child to Him, if only He would give her a child. That is how Samuel came to be ministering before the Lord training under Eli before he heard the call of the Lord.

Then it happened. The Lord called to Samuel. He did not call him once. He did not call him twice. God called to him four times. The commentators have likened these calls. To four distinct events that happen. When God calls us these four calls are:

1. Salvation

2. Revelation

3. Discernment

4. Spiritual Receptiveness

We do not have the time to look at these four distinct principals here in this chapter. What I would like to focus on is something maybe. Others have missed when looking at these passages. That is, did Samuel have a choice whether or not to answer the Lord’s call. Did he, have the opportunity, to say no, I would rather serve the Lord another way than in the temple at Shiloh?

I would like to say. Samuel did not have the opportunity to say whether he wanted to serve the Lord. We, on the other hand can say whether we will serve the Lord. It is here that I would like to examine these calls from the perspective of being two separate doors.

What if these calls were two doors? As Monty Hall would say behind door number one, we have the complete will of God for your life. Behind door number two we have life the way we would like it to be.

Which door would we choose?

The struggle for most of us is not whether we would choose to follow God but whether we would choose to follow God completely.

Some of us think we have chosen the door of full surrender to God. Yet I think not. The fear of what might be behind the door of full surrender is what holds most of us back.

Most of us have the desire to follow God. Few of us will do it at any cost. No one convinces us that God loves us to the degree where we are willing to give Him complete permission to do as He wills with and in us.

If we have the desire to walk with Christ fully, we need to know that a cost is involved. We may agree in our mind with the principle of God and we may do OK just with that knowledge of God. However when we have said as Samuel did, "Speak for your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:10 b).

Our lives will not remain the same. The Bible clearly tells us that those who achieved greatness did not achieve that greatness until their desires were out of the way and God’s desires became their desires.

It was more than just a change of habits.

The Bible calls it circumcision.

Circumcision is painful, bloody and personal.

God plans to use us in the lives of others in a great and powerful way. Expect the trials that we go through to be greater than those of others. We may ask why? Like Joseph, who went through greater trials than most patriarchs.

The calling of Officership has such responsibility that God cannot afford to entrust this calling to us without ensuring complete faithfulness to the call.

He has invested so much in us on the behalf of others. He wants to speak to others through our lives on a much larger scale than somebody else’s life. The events of our lives frame the message. He wants to speak through our lives.

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