Worship Service – January 16, 2022

Scripture; 1Samuel 3-4:1a

Message: “Things Change”

This sermon was posted last January 17,2021 and is posted this week because of church cancellation last week due to icy weather conditions. I thought it would be a good reminder as we head into this New Year that,”Things Change “.
Our church service this week we will be using last weeks undelivered scriptures and message.

1Samuel 3-4:1a

The Lord Calls Samuel

(1) The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
(2) One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. (3) The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord , where the ark of God was. (4) Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” (5) And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
(6) Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
(7) Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord : The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
(8) The Lord called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. (9) So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord , for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
(10) The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
(11) And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. (12) At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family-from beginning to end. (13) For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them. (14) Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ “
(15) Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, (16) but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.” Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
(17) “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” (18) So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”
(19) The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. (20) And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. (21) The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.
(1) And Samuel’s word came to all Israel.

This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

There’s a story of a woman who was flying from Seattle to San Francisco. Unexpectedly, the plane was diverted to Sacramento along the way. The flight attendant explained that there would be a delay, and if the passengers wanted to get off the aircraft the plane would re-board in 50 minutes.
Everybody got off the plane except one lady who was blind.
A man had noticed her as he walked by and could tell the lady was blind because her guide dog lay quietly underneath the seats in front of her throughout the entire flight.
He could also tell she had flown this very flight before because the pilot approached her, and calling her by name, said,”Kathy, we are in Sacramento for almost an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?”
The blind lady said, “No thanks, but maybe Buddy would like to stretch his legs.”
Picture this:
All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they looked up and saw the pilot walk off the plane with a guide dog for the blind! Even worse, the pilot was wearing sunglasses!
People scattered. They not only tried to change planes, but they were trying to change airlines! True story. THINGS AREN’T ALWAYS AS THEY APPEAR .
Our reading in Samuel today, takes place at the end of the period of the judges, when there was as yet no king over Israel. There really was no nation per se. Rather the Israelites lived in a lose alliances of tribes with no single leader. When enemies attacked or when decisions affecting them all needed to be made, leaders known as “judges” were called forth, but there was no institutionalized national leadership structure or formal way of selecting leaders. There was no “White House”, no office in which the authority to head all the tribes resided.
Unfortunately, the people adopted that same loose attitude toward their responsibilities to the covenant with God, like many of our churches today.
The book of Judges, which describes that period, closes with these words: “In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Sound familiar? That’s where things stood when 1 Samuel begins.
As a result one this free-for-all approach to religion, people weren’t hearing much from God, largely because they weren’t interested in listening for Him. Our reading from chapter 3 opens by saying, “In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.” In other words, for a long time, people had felt like they were on their own, they could do their own thing, when it came to religion. The person on whom the practice of religion focused in those days was Eli, who was both a judge and the high priest. The temple in Jerusalem would not be built until several years later, so what worship there was, took place in the portable tabernacle that had been created while the people of Israel were in the wilderness after leaving Egypt generations earlier. At the time of our reading, that tabernacle was permanently set up in Shiloh. And there Eli lived, in a dwelling adjoining the tabernacle.
Samuel was a boy who had been dedicated by his mother to the service of God, and he was living in the tabernacle itself, likely carrying out cleaning and serving duties. In our scripture reading, we learn the story of how during one night, God called Samuel’s name, and Samuel ran to Eli, thinking it was he who called. Saying,”Here I am.” The same words that inspired,John Michael Talbot to compose,”Here I am,Lord.” Which we sang as our first hymn this morning.
After this happened three times, Eli realized that it was God calling Samuel, and he instructed Samuel how to answer and then listen for God. (Verse 9) So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, “Speak, Lord , for your servant is listening.” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The rest of the chapter tells us what God had to say once Samuel answered. God gave Samuel a very harsh message about Eli and his family. Verse 15 tells us that he was afraid to tell Eli the vision. Although Eli himself had been faithful to God, were told in chapter 2:12-17, his two sons, who were also priests, had abused their positions, taking sexual liberties with women serving in the tabernacle and demanding from those who came to offer sacrifices forbidden portions of the sacrificial animals for their own dining pleasure. In the concluding verses of chapter 2 we’re told that ,Eli had not stopped them, and now, as Samuel learned from God, God was rejecting Eli and his sons, and they would be punished for their sins. Things were going to change.
All of that came true, and as Samuel grew, God continued to speak to and through him. Eventually, Samuel became the new spiritual leader of the people.
The chapter opened by saying the Lord had been silent for a long while, but now through Samuel, God opened communication with all the people. And the message Samuel heard that night was that things were about to change, and change dramatically. Eli was out; Samuel was in. Eli had forfeited the blessing of God. “Things Changed”, God’s blessing now fell on Samuel. God had been silent; He would be silent no more. Visions had not been widespread. Well hang on to your seats, because they were going to be coming now! The old ways were over; God was breaking into their lives with a new beginning. Things were changing, and how!
We can predict some things that change. We will get older, our kids will grow up, some of the passions of our youth will burn out or become less important, but for the most part, many of the changes that occur in our lives will come as surprises. In each of those circumstances, as “ Things Change”, we need to pray and ask God to reveal to us how He might be at work, and then listen for what God might want us to hear. We need to say, like Samuel,”Here I Am!” “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Henry F. Lyte, expressed the sense of rapid changes taking place in his life when he wrote the hymn, “Abide With Me.” Which I’d like us to sing at the conclusion of our message today. Because in one of the verses he wrote, “change and decay in all around I see.” And then he went on to write, “O thou who changest not, abide with me.”
The author of the book of Hebrews, said, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Theologians even have a word for this characteristic of God: immutability. It means “unchangeableness.”
We should recognize, however, that the fact of God’s immutability in no way hinders him from using change as a tool of His will.
We have difficulty imagining that some unwelcome experience will ever be completely a thing of the past. As it happens, that very difficulty works against faith, for if there is one thing that the Christian faith asserts, it is that God will not let things remain as they are. Sin and evil will not be permitted to shape society forever. The kingdom of God coming in its fullness will change everything. But even before that, God alters attitudes and passions right now. There is a reason that accepting Christ is called “conversion” to convert means “to change.”
In reality, some things do stay the same, or relatively so, for a long time, but eventually most “Things Change” in some way. God does not change but he often works through the changes in our lives. We have a perfect example of that in this story of Samuel. God took the initiative and broke the silence. The change God then instituted brought fresh opportunity for people to come back to the covenant, to walk in the ways of righteousness, and to hear God’s word for their own lives. Just as He does today!
When ,”Things Change” in our lives, may we be as open to listen for God as was Samuel. Just say; Here I am Lord. Speak,for your servant is listening. Abide with us.
In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20220116



Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Thursday afternoon from 2 to 4.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at 570-267-4570 (cell) or Email: joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Loose change goes to Kenya/Rev. Malaho

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