A Life Verse

I Samuel 3:2-10

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Our featured Scripture is from I Samuel 3:2 through 10. I tried to condense it without losing the meaning, but it is still rather long!

     And it came to pass at that time, while Eli [the 
     priest] was lying down...and when his eyes had begun 
     to grow so dim...and while Samuel was lying down, that 
     the Lord called Samuel....So he ran to Eli and said, 
     “Here I am, for you called me.” And he said, “I did 
     not call; lie down again.” ...Then the Lord called yet 
     again, “Samuel!”  So Samuel...went to Eli, and said, 
     “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did 
     not call, my son; lie down again.”...And the Lord 
     called Samuel again the third time. Then he arose and 
     went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call 
     me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the 
     boy, [so he] said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it 
     shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, 
     Lord, for Your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and 
     lay down....Now the Lord...called as at other times, 
     “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for 
     Your servant hears.” 
  • The message that God gave to young Samuel was not good news!
     ✡   I Samuel 3:13 – “‘...I have told [Eli]...
          that I will judge his house forever for the 
          iniquity which he knows, because his sons 
          made themselves vile, and he did not re-
          strain them.’”

     ✡	  I Samuel 3:14 – “‘...therefore I have sworn 
          to the house of Eli that the iniquity of 
          Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sac-
          rifice or offering forever.’
  • The fulfillment of the LORD’s message involved tremendous Israeli losses (30,000 soldiers) in a battle with the Philistines:
     ✡	 I Samuel 4:12, 14, and 17 – 

             ...a man of Benjamin ran from the battle 
             line...to Shiloh...and told Eli...“Israel 
             has fled before the Philistines, and there 
             has been a great slaughter....Also your 
             two sons, Hophni and Phinehas are dead, 
             and the ark of God has been captured.”

     ✡   I Samuel 4:18 – “...when he made mention of 
          the ark of God...Eli fell off his seat...and 
          his neck was broken and he died, for he was 
          old and heavy.
  • Generations later, Abiathar, a descendant of Eli, was a priest during King David’s day, even into Solomon’s reign – probably 45 years! He seemed to be loyal to David, until he joined the king’s son Adonijah in his bid to oust his father and take over the kingdom of Israel! Abiathar even counseled to have David killed!
     ✡	  I Kings 2:28 – When Solomon came to the throne, 
          he sent Abiathar packing!‘Go to Anathoth, to 
          your own fields, for you are worthy of death, 
          but...you carried the ark...and were aflicted 
          [with]...my father David.’”

     ✡	  I Kings 2:29 – “So Solomon removed Abiathar from 
          being priest...that he might fulfill the word of 
          the LORD which he spoke concerning the house of 

That’s the story of our featured Scripture, I Samuel 3:2 through 10. But what about A Life Verse? That’s the title of this Gem! But what is a life verse? It is a brief portion of Scripture that a follower of Jesus Christ selects that best defines his or her Christain life! My life verse is just nine words from Ephesians 1:6: “…His grace…has made us accepted in the Beloved.” Why did I choose this brief passage?

  • Many years ago, I and my two brothers experienced the loss of our father when he ran off with another woman, leaving my mother in poor health, with three boys (I was the youngest at age ten), and an illegally double-mortgaged dairy farm in Connecticut! We had to sell the farm the next spring to pay off debts. And my life fell apart! I loved that farm! And, for my life’s work, I wanted to be a dairy farmer, taking over that particular farm!
  • I felt like my life had been torn up by the roots! To cope…
I started drinking by age 12!I was an alcoholic by age 15!
  • I ran with the wrong kind of friends, and we were often in trouble – in school and with the police!
  • The consensus was,Those Norton boys, they will never amount to anything good!
We three boys bought into that consensus!I longed for acceptance! But I didn’t know how 
          to go about being accepted. 

…until at age 19 and in the Air Force, I found that in Jesus Christ, I was …accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6).

  • As much as the Father accepted the Son…
  • …in Jesus, by putting my faith in Him as my Savior, I was accepted by God the Father as much as He accepted His own dear Son!

I suppose these few words from I Samuel 3:5 could be used as a life verse in a joking way. It is when God called Samuel and he came to Eli and said, “‘Here I am, for you called me.’ ” Eli answered, “‘I did not call; lie down again.’

‘I did not call; lie down again.’That’s a great Scripture to build you life on, isn’t it? I mean, Eli the priest said it twice (again in verse 6)! It seems like too many Christians have taken this as their life verse – most likely without even realizing it!

  • “I’m thinking about becoming a pastor.” ‘I did not call; lie down again.’
  • “Is God calling me to the mission field?” ‘I did not call; lie down again.’
  • “Should I take that job of teaching that Sunday school class?”‘I did not call; lie down again.’
  • “They want me to be a deacon!” ‘I did not call; lie down again.’
  • “The Lord wants me to begin tithing.”‘I did not call; lie down again.’
  • “God is leading me to spend more time in Bible study and prayer.” ‘I did not call; lie down again.’

…You get the idea!

Somehow, these seven words from I Samuel 3:5 have gotten into the hearts of too mamy believers – invaded their thinking when the LORD calls! Even if they are not consciously aware of this passage, it is still the way a great number of Christians respond to God’s leading!

So which is more important to you?

  • Responding to the LORD’s call in a way that honors Him?


  • Going back to spiritual sleep?

When the LORD calls…
Don’t go back to sleep!