Let us not underestimate the value children hold in the eyes of God. God will work with children and youth who give themselves to him – In other words, God expects that children will give themselves to Him. But too often they are given no opportunity to give themselves to Him. God is pleased when even little children give themselves to his service. Samuel was 12 when God called Him. Josiah was 8 when he became the King. The Bible says he turned not to the right, not on the left but walked in all the ways of David his father. Josiah was faithful to God. As 8 years old, the Bible describes him as serving God faithfully.
God is calling – R SkeeteOpening prayer –
Our Father and our God, thank you for life. Thank you Lord for your many blessings you’ve bestowed upon us today some of which perhaps we did not even recognize. Thank you for your protection and for putting it on our hearts to come to this place to listen to your word. If we’ve sinned against you dear God, forgive us. Put it into our hearts as was in the heart of Christ a love for righteousness and a deep hatred for sin. Open our understanding tonight that we may understand the word. As for me dear God I humble myself in your presence and I ask you to use me as you see fit. I seek no glory for myself, but I want all to come to you as you stated very clearly in your word in Isaiah 42 verse 8, I am the Lord that is My name, My glory will I not give to another. So, take all the glory Father and give us all the blessings I pray, in Jesus name, Amen
God is calling
1 Samuel 3:1.
Samuel was the first of the great prophets. The first prophet was Enoch, but the truly first great prophet was Samuel. Samuel shares a distinction that only Christ is the only other person who has that distinction. Christ is prophet, Priest and King. Samuel was Prophet, Priest and Judge and the Judges function as Kings before they were Kings – the only person in the Bible besides Christ who occupied those three offices. So, Samuel was a powerful Prophet handpicked by God.
1st Samuel 3 reading from verse 1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. 2 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; 3 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; 4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
Now, we are introduced to three people in those first five verses that we read. Name the three people – Samuel, Eli and God. We shall read microscopically as if you are looking for every molecule of meaning in God’s Word. The Bible says it came to pass at that time verse 2 of 1 Samuel 3 when Eli was laid down in his place and his eyes began to wax dim so that he could not see and hear the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord where the Ark of God was. There was an apartment somewhere attached to the temple where Eli slept and Samuel slept. So, the Bible says Eli was laid down in his place in verse 2 and verse 3 end by saying Samuel was laid down to sleep and the very fact that Samuel ran unto Eli according to verse 5 tells us that there was some distance between them different compartments where they were sleeping.
Now here are two men, Eli was what? The high Priest. He is sleeping. Who was Samuel? A child. How old at that time when the Lord called him? Give me a good guess 12. Eli probably sixty something who knows. Here is the high Priest, and I want my little brothers and sisters to listen carefully. Here is the high Priest, the Pastor, the Bishop and here is a little twelve-year-old boy who was faithful. God needed something done in the nation of Israel and God bypassed that Priest and called that child. The Bible says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever – the Bible says in Malachi 3:6 I am the Lord I change not. Let me tell you quickly in case you fall asleep, God will do the same thing today if circumstances make it necessary. If the adults will not do what they’re required to do, God will not hesitate to call a child. Because children have very few questions for God. If God says do this, they do it. We are intellectual so we have to request of God a doctoral dissertation explaining why? But a child will say ok and we’ll do it from the heart. Let me say it again with not a hint of being funny, if God cannot find an adult who will willingly and humbly do his work, God will call a child and power that child and use that child.
And so, the Lord called Samuel and Samuel ran to Eli and Eli said I call not lie down again. 6 And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him. Now what does that verse mean? Of course, Samuel knew there was God. He was serving God in God’s temple under the authority of God’s Priests. Samuel knew that. But Samuel did not have that intimate knowledge of God and so the Bible says now Samuel did not yet know the Lord. And there are children in churches all over the world who do not yet have an in-depth knowledge of God but God has His eyes on them for service and it could be one of these children in this church. God can have His eye on you for service much younger than 12.
Listen to Jeremiah 1:4 -5 4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Before Jeremiah was conceived, God had His eye on Jeremiah. How that happens I can’t explain. I accepted by faith. God knew an unborn man. God knew an unconceived man. And so, in the womb, Jeremiah was a hand-picked fetus. I don’t mean to be crude, but I want to make my point.
- In the womb, John the Baptist was a hand-picked baby.
- In the womb, Jesus was a hand-picked servant of the Father
- Luke 1:80. Let’s go there quickly our subject is God is calling Luke 1 reading verse 80 – the Bible says 80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit. Now the Bible says the child grew and waxed strong in spirit. What child is this? John the Baptist.
- Now go to Luke 2:40 – 40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit. Stop.
My brothers or sisters, God may have His eye on your little boy or your little girl, preparing that child to serve as a special messenger in these last days. And tonight, I say on Biblical authority, God is calling and He could be calling you or me. He could be calling the baby in your arms not yet able to walk, because children are capable of righteous behavior.
How old was Josiah when God called him to be king? Eight. The Bible says he turned not to the right, not on the left but walked in all the ways of David his father. Josiah was faithful to God. At eight years old, the Bible describes him as serving God faithfully.
Now the other side is also true.
Let’s go to Genesis 19 as we continue of the subject God is calling. Genesis 19 we shall read from verse 1. Genesis 19:1-4 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; 2 And he said, behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. 3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. 4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
Let’s look at that expression – all the people from every quarter. Every city has quarters. There’s perhaps other word we can use – neighborhoods. There are some neighborhoods where the “not so rich live”. Am I telling the truth? There are some neighborhoods where the “very wealthy rich”. There are some neighborhoods where the “middle class rich”. You drive through the neighborhood you can almost identify or this is an upscale neighborhood, this is not so upscale. But you see sin doesn’t care about those divisions, not as righteousness. The verse says all the people from every quarter from the hood to the suburbs they came to commit a terrible act against those angels. But look again at verse 4 as we read microscopically:
But before they lay down the men of the city even the men of Sodom compassed the house round both old and young. What do you understand by both old and young? There were children in that crowd of sexual deviants. Now whether they came to actually practice or just learn, they were there. So, the grown men who had a history of that kind of life, the young boys were amateurs at it and the little boys just perhaps coming to watch that they may be initiated into that kind of life. Which leads me to a very, very solemn reality. At a certain period in life; children cannot be held responsible for what they do, the parents must be held responsible. Alright you tuning me out. Let me say it again whether you tune me out or not. At a certain age in their lives children cannot be held responsible for what they do and even as they grow they cannot be held responsible for some of the things they do because in the eyes of God they are under the supervision and the tutelage and the training of professedly Christian parents.
Let me tell you something that will cause you never to invite me back. If your child at 9 and 10 and 11 and 12 has no interest in spiritual things, it’s not your child’s fault and you can decide whose fault it is. I have to be plain and direct and straight. Somewhere I read, I must go back and search exactly the reference. Ellen White says in the judgment many parents will be shocked to learn they were responsible for the loss of their children. Those children came to observe with the approval of the adults.
In verse 5 the Bible says 5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. That tells us immediately that the intentions of that group of males, old and young was wicked. The intention was wicked – do not so wickedly – children!
Let us go John chapter 8. Remember the story of the woman taken in adultery. She’s brought the men want to stone her and she’s brought to Jesus and they were trying to trap Jesus. You can’t trap God. By the way, if we will be faithful to God and study His word as a matter of life and death you can’t trap us either. Are you with me? You cannot trap a child of God in his or her words. If that person makes God’s word the source of his or her wisdom. Because the spirit in the word will instruct you what to say. The Bible gives that promise. John 8:8-9 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last – The suggestion is if the opposite of eldest is what is young, they were young people there to participate in the stoning.
Go with me to 1 Samuel 15:3. Our subject is God is calling. This is Samuel giving instructions to Saul. Of course, the instructions of Samuel came from God. So, God is telling Saul, 3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have. You know the history of Amalek? When the Israelites were crossing, the wilderness leaving Egypt, the Amalekites attacked them. Now they weren’t prepared for war, you see. So, the Amalekites attacked them and attacked those who at the back of the line – you know the old, the slow, the weak and God swore that He would blot out Amalek from under heaven. But it took Him hundreds of years to do it. Why do you say that was? He was giving them time to? Repent. So, even when God makes a threat that comes out like thunder, He gives us time to repent. Why? He prefers not to destroy. Destruction of people is a strange act for a God who created life. Understand that. Remember the words of Ezekiel 33:11 why will ye die or house of Israel why don’t you turn from your ways. I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked. And so, He swore I will blot out Amalek but He gave them hundreds of years to change.
And so, God told Saul 3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling. Why would God say destroy infant and suckling? Because God who knows the end from the beginning, could see where those lives would lead. But let me tell you something that’s nice about God. It’s an act of mercy when God destroys a sinner. And you’re saying how? The Bible teaches proportionality that’s a big word means not much, but let me say it again proportionality. Listen to this and see if you can guess what it means, Revelation 22:12 12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Are you with me? That is where proportionality comes in. What do I mean? God if my life has been this sinful the punishment will be that. If my life has been this sinful the punishment will be that, if I’m lost.And so, there is proportionality. Now God seeing a sinner is so bent on an unrighteous life that nothing will turn him back, God frequently cuts that person off because the sooner He cuts the person off, the less the person suffers when eventually the person is destroyed in the flames of hell – an act of mercy because there is no benefit to the sinner to continue a life of sin. All he is doing or she, is adding to the length of punishment because the righteous are rewarded according to their deeds, the sinners are rewarded according to their deeds. So, God knowing the life, cuts it off early. But,
- I wanted you to see, infant and suckling.
- I wanted you to see, Genesis 19 – young boys came to sodomize the angels or watch, in any event they were in spirit and part of that terrible event.
- I wanted you to see, John 8 – the crowd that came to stone the woman, they were young people among them
- But I also wanted you to see that God put his hand on Samuel and He called him.
Patriarchs and Prophets page 573 paragraph 1 God is pleased when even little children give themselves to His service. God is calling as He called Samuel. He may be calling some little child in this church. Now he’s calling all children but for some, He has a special call for a special work and He’s knocking at their hearts. Now God does not call a child with no regard for the adults in that child’s life, because when He called Samuel, Samuel still had to serve under Eli. Eli had to nurture and train Samuel. He still had to serve under Eli. So, a call from God to a child is not a call to the child to go his own way. The adults must still be respected. They provide the training but it must be training consistent with the mission that God has placed on that child.
In the Manuscript Releases Volume 14 page 205 paragraph 4 we read these beautiful words and very serious: to each human being God has assigned an individuality and the distinct work. You know you’re always run across people who want to be somebody else? That’s an insult to God. God has made you so you can be like nobody else. Now, yes, we should try to be as loving as Jesus’s, we should perhaps try to be as faithful as Daniel was, we should try to be as a whatever as Joseph was, but we’re not called upon to be Joseph. You don’t watch the TV because you want to be Angelina Jolie. God didn’t call you for that.
- He called you to be Nathan.
- He called you to be Rebecca.
- He called you to be Nikhil.
- He called you to be Bliss
And tonight, I want my young brothers and sisters to know that God is calling you.
- He wants you to read His word every day so you can listen to His voice.
- He wants you to put away those games that do not benefit your mind.
- He wants you to turn off the TV sometimes and open your Bible and open the writings of our prophet – Messages to Young People or Desire of Ages, you can understand it.
- He wants you to respect your parents.
- He wants you to support the Church
- He wants you to be in His house and
- He wants you to be so faithful to Him that He can use you to bring your little friends. Not your little friends take you to sin but use you to bring your little friends
And so tonight I make my appeal first to my little friends, my young brothers, my young sisters. God wants you. You didn’t hear me. You said nothing. Let me say it again, God what? Wants you. Listen to these words and I’ll make my appeal. Signs of the Times April 22 1903 paragraph 5 we were brought into existence because we were needed. God let you live, because He wants you. Now, there’s someone else who wants you, what’s his name? Satan! Who will get you? Let’s decide tonight, Father I give my life to you. You’re calling children, here I am. And so, when God called Samuel, Samuel said, here I am.
How many of my young brothers and sisters will say, Father if you’re calling me I answer the call, here I am. Can I see your right hand? If you will say to God, here I am – I want to offer special prayer for you. If you will say, here I am. I’m a child, God is calling me, I answer. I want to pray and I want God to bless you. Any child who will say, Father, if you’re calling, I answer here I am like Samuel, here I am. I am a child, God is calling – I am 10,11,12,13,8,6,5 years old – God is calling, don’t say no to God who loves you so much, He’s using my voice but He is God. God is calling, two voices are calling you, one is God, just answer His. I’m going to pray. Here is what we’re going to do, we shall all kneel and then I will pray
Let’s kneel heads bowed eyes closed
Father in Heaven, I kneel in your presence as a big brother to my little sisters and my little brothers who have answered the call. They may not understand everything Father you know that. All they understand tonight is that Jesus is calling them and He wants to use them and they have answered the call. Dear God in the name of Jesus with heaven and earth as my witnesses, I ask you please put your spirit in their hearts so that they will lean towards you in all that they do all the days of their lives and that Satan will have no advantage over them.
I pray dear God as they grow day by day, as they read your word, as they offer the childlike prayers to you, you will answer and become very close to them as you came to Samuel. Remember the words of your Son dear God He said suffer the little children to come unto me and they have come. And so, dear God I ask you to bless these boys and girls who have come. Grant them your spirit dear God. Use them to be a blessing to their little friends wherever they are. Let them be a blessing in their families. Send angels that excel in strength to protect them from harm and danger as they play, as they walk wherever they are, Father preserve them I pray. Give them a little for this church, let them grow up as faithful Seventh-Day Adventists from now until the day they die if you don’t come soon enough.
Dear God in Heaven, bless their homes, bless their parents and give these little boys and girls the courage to say to their parents’ mommy and daddy we’re about to go to sleep but we have not yet prayed, we need to pray. Let a little child lead them if that becomes necessary. Bless them in school, bless their minds that they may do well and follow that you may use the sharp intellect for the gospel. Now Father be with them, I thank you for them, I love them and I know you love them 10 times more. Watch over them and Father now I pause the prayer to speak to the adults:
How many will say, Father you are calling and I answer the call, use me in your service, would you raise your right hand. Please keep your hands up as I pray.
Dear God in heaven look at the hands raised now accept this commitment dear God. Register their response and grant to each person who has responded an extra measure of your sustaining spirit dear God please. So, that in us you may have in this part of the world a people who know God, who walk with God and with whom God walks. Now as we leave tonight take us safely Father. Remember our brothers and sisters by the internet some child may have answered this call on the internet bless that child I pray. An adult may have answered a call bless that man bless that woman dear God. You are a God who prefers to bless, so bless richly tonight. Bring us back tomorrow to hear your word again I offer this prayer from my heart. In Jesus name and for His sake. Let God’s people say Amen and amen