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Focal Passage: I Samuel 2:18-21; 26 A brief sermon outline prepared by Ken Sapp Introduction

Friar Michael Hayduk, pastor of St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic church in Cleveland Ohio visited the churches preschool and day-care center one day. A new group of little ones had started at the center, and one boy, about 3 years old looked at the priest in his robe and clerical collar and asked “Why do you dress funny?” Friar Hayduk told him he was a priest and this was the uniform priests wear. Then the little boy pointed to Hayduk’s clerical collar insert and asked… “Does that hurt… do you have a Boo-boo there?” Friar Hayduk took the plastic collar insert out and showed it to the little 3 year old boy. The name of the manufacturer is embossed on the reverse side. The boy felt the letters and the priest asked him, “Do you know what those words say?” “Yes I do!” said the boy, who was not old enough to read. “It says, ‘Kills ticks and fleas up to six months!’”

Tie-in to sermon

Today we are looking at the story of Samuel. He’s one of the youth mentioned in the Bible for whom we have some extensive background. At a very young age he’s placed in the role and uniform of a devout follower of God. But even though he may have wore the uniform (a linen ephod) and had a religious environment for his home.. it was some time before the boy fit the uniform, before he took on the character of a devout follower of God. Its one thing to wear a uniform… but its another thing to embody the characteristics so that the uniform is no longer needed to show others your identity.

I. Devout family – Born to Hannah and Elkanah

A. Father: Elkanah (I Samuel 1:1-8)

  1. Levite
    • PK (Priest Kid) a member of those chosen to be priests.
    • Attended religious feasts/ presented a yearly sacrifice.
    • During the time of Elkanah in the nation of Israel there was a general neglect & corruption of religion.
    • Eli the High Priests’ sons were typical of the neglect and Corruption of the religion of the day (2:1-17)
    • The father is the priest of the home… I Peter 2:9 describes us all as a royal priesthood. In Biblical times the head of the family carried out the priestly duties in the home.
  2. Leader in the Home
    • Elkanah took Hannah and his other wife, Peninnah, with him for the sacrifice showing himself the spiritual leader.
    • Who’s the driving force in your home when it comes to Spiritual matters? Who’s the spiritual pacesetter, the spiritual Leader?
  3. Loving husband
    • Encouraged wife to focus on blessings instead of afflictions
    • Sought to share in Hannah’s troubles.
    • “loved her more than 10 sons”

B. Mother: Hannah (I Samuel 1: 9 – 20)

  1. Fervent in prayer
    • seen as the solution to her problems
  2. Faith
    • Faith that her prayers for a son would be answered
  3. Faithful to Commitment
    • Dedicating her son to God by taking care of him until the time she left him. Hannah visited him yearly at the temple (Heartbroken) She brought him a linen ephod

C. Spiritual Mentor: Eli

  1. Leader – ministered under Eli and apparently to Eli – 2:18, 3:1
  2. Lenient father – Eli wasn’t the best mentor… as a matter of fact Samuels first message from God was a rebuke against Eli for his raising of his own sons and failing to restrain them.
  3. Lesson – Eli guided Samuel to obey God’s voice – While he was a leader in authority over Samuel, and although he wasn’t a perfect leader, he did teach Samuel an essential lesson – to Listen to and obey God’s Voice.

II. Divided family.

A. Triple parent home.

  1. Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife bore several children, but Hannah was barren until the time of Samuel. Because of this, Penninah taunted Hannah and provoked her. Even so, Hannah did not respond in like manner.
  2. Samuel was probably a victim of similar taunts by his older stepbrothers and stepsisters
  3. It wasn’t a perfect home, but God was honored there! God’s grace is sufficient to fill in the gaps


After church one Sunday morning a young boy suddenly announced to his mother, “Mom, I’ve decided I’m going to be a minister when I grow up.” That’s ok with us,” the mother said, “but what made you decide to be a minister?” “Well,” the boy said, “I’ll have to go to church on Sunday anyway, and I figure it will be more fun to stand up and yell then to sit still and listen.”

Tie In to Sermon

Samuel also made a decision to become one who speaks the “Word of God.” His parents started the process, but somewhere along the line, Samuel quit living off the faith of his parents and started living in his own faith in God.

III. Development into a man of God (I Samuel 1:21-28)

A. Dedication to God before his birth – Parents Choice

  1. He was taken to the temple at a young age
  2. After weaned from his mother’s breast (age 3)
  3. or from childish things (age 8-11)

B. Devotion to God – Samuel’s Choice

  1. Samuel worshipped God (1:28)
  2. Raised in a religious environment – the temple – parent’s choice
  3. Nazarite – Mother’s choice – did not cut hair, did not drink alcohol – avoided certain things to set themselves apart for God’s service
  4. Peer pressure from Eli’s sons to conform to their sinfulness. Even in the church there may be some negative pressure

C. Disciplined life – Samuel’s Choice

  1. Discipline of Samuel as opposed to Eli’s undisciplined sons (3:1-11)
  2. One night Samuel heard God and thought Eli was calling him. He ran to Eli, showing his ready obedience.
  3. He served God, but he did not yet know God or God’s call.
    • 1:28 Samuel worshipped God – his choice
    • 2:18 ministered in temple
    • 2:26 As he ministered to the Lord he grew before the Lord. Grew in strength, stature, understanding, and in favor with God and men. (The same was spoken of Christ in Luke 2:52)
    • 3:1 ministered
    • 3:7 “He did not know God”
    • 3:7 “Word of God was not yet revealed to him”
    • 3:19 God was with him
    • 3:21 God Revealed himself to Samuel through his Word
  4. Eli helped him recognize God’s call but it was his choice of Obedience that made him a man of God. Every youth must come to a point where he stops living off the faith of his parents and begins living in obedience as a result of his own faith in God!
  5. As a servant of God, Samuel listened and, as a result, God was able to ultimately speak through him as well.
    • God knew Samuel as an individual
    • Samuel was given the privacy to discover his identity with God… without someone telling him how to do it.
    • Eli encouraged Samuel

D. Divine Call – Samuel’s Choice (3:19-4:1) After hearing God, and coming to know God, He made a choice to obey God he became:

  1. Holy prophet – Your child proclaims God’s Word in life an action. Lifts up God before the nation
  2. High priest – Serves God – the youth are our leaders for tomorrow, but have a role even today and may hear God better than us at times.
  3. Honest judge – Person of integrity living a life of Godly values and wisdom.

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