1 Samuel 3:10
And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for your servant hears.
I. THE SLEEP. — You may think of Samuel as now a boy about twelve years of age. The night was far advanced. The golden candlestick with its seven lamps, in the Holy Place, had not yet gone out, as it usually did about the time when the morning began to dawn. Its light shone on all the sacred things. That night God was present in a special manner. He was near to Samuel. But to Samuel it was as if none of these things had been; he was all unconscious of them — for he was asleep. There is,
1. The Sleep of Carelessness. — Some mothers tell me about their boys, that they are not bad-hearted, and that what they have to complain of, is not so much want of heart, as want of thought. They never seem to think. And the consequence is, everything goes wrong. I cannot tell how bad, how dangerous that is, what damage it has done — want of thought. Though their eyes are open, their minds are asleep. It is the sleep of carelessness. Some young people go to church who never listen to what is said — who never hear what is said. I very much fear there are many young people who never think about God, or the soul, or their pressing danger, or the way of salvation.
2. There is what I might call the Sleep of Sin. This is in some respects worse than the other. At first, conscience is uncomfortable, uneasy, and they think they will never do the wrong thing again. But when the sin is repeated time after time, conscience becomes quiet, the heart gets hard, and at length there is sound sleep, so that nothing frightens, nothing alarms.
3. There is the Sleep of Security. Security does not mean safety. It means the sense of supposed safety, and is sometimes the most dangerous state of all.
II. GOD'S AWAKENING CALL. — There are various ways of awaking sleeping people. Sometimes a call will do it; sometimes a gentle tap at the door; sometimes a loud knock.
1. There is God's call in the Word. This is what most, and most effectually, he uses. Strange and unlikely messages have proved words of awakening to some, rousing the sleeper thoroughly out of his slumbers. Often it is the simple story of Jesus' love — His coming and dying for sinners.
2. There is God's call in Providence.
III. THE LYING DOWN AGAIN. — In Samuel's case, this was all right and good, he was an unusually dutiful child. Whenever he was called, up he sprang, and that again and again. In the case of most the lying down again is fatal. The second sleep is likely to be sounder than the first, and to lie down again, when once awakened, is of all things the most foolish. Sometimes, when God awakens, and there is much anxiety and fear — a desire to be saved, and a willingness to do anything to get salvation. We get quit of our anxiety and fear, and try to throw off our good impressions, and are ashamed to have been so much concerned. Friends often say to us, "Go, lie down again:" not that they would do us any harm, but, like Eli at first, they do not know that the voice that is calling us is the voice of God. Satan always says, "Go, lie down again;" for he does not wish us to be saved. And many yield to the temptation.
IV. GOD'S CALL RECOGNISED AND ANSWERED. — All the three earlier times, "Samuel did not yet know the Lord."
(J. H. Wilson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.