Grace Baptist Church Decatur, IL

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Tune in to God
1 Samuel 3:1-10


Tune in to God!  Don’t Tune Out!  It’s nice to have the ability to hear from God, but we don’t often take advantage of the technology.


We were on the radio again this morning, and it’s a privilege...but many more are tuning in each week online, taking advantage of technology.

Thesis: We need to make sure our built-in radio is tuned to God.  Samuel tuned in to God while Eli had tuned God out.

[momma always said I had a face for radio!]

v. 1          The Word of the Lord was open vision—God was still on the air, but few had tuned in!

There is one interview with a pro football player that stands out in my mind as we think of tuning into God. This player told a sports reporter why he chose to go to a certain city to play ball. He was honest enough to say that God spoke to him and he responded back. “In other words I talk to God.”
He was the late Reggie White, who at that time had just completed the terms of his contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he had made the All-star team almost every year since he became a professional. After his contract with Philadelphia had been fulfilled, White, who is also an ordained minister – hence his nickname, "The Minister of Defense" – had been free to sign with any team he wished. And he had several offers that would have made him a very rich man. But when decision time came, White shocked most football observers and many of his friends by signing with the team which was located in the smallest city of all the National Football League franchises – the Green Bay Packers. The reporter who was conducting the interview asked White how he had reached his decision to play for the Packers. I will not soon forget what White said next. "I spent a lot of time praying about this," White said. "And one day as I prayed, I heard God say, ‘Reggie,
go to Green Bay.’ So that’s what I did."
White saw something in the way the interviewer looked at
him at that point because White said this: "You know, when you tell people you’ve been talking to God, they don’t have a problem with that. That’s praying. If you believe in that sort of thing, it’s okay. But when you
say that God talked to YOU, then they think you’re crazy or something! Isn’t prayer supposed to be a conversation with God? And in a conversation, don’t BOTH parties talk?"

Throughout the Bible you will find men and women who share their story of how God spoke to them. The key to hearing the voice of the Lord had to do with their willingness to tune into God’s voice. There are also many instances in the Bible when the individual tuned God out. These individuals did not want to listen to what God was telling them so they changed the station.

Prop – Radio on podium.  Play with the station. Tuning it in and tuning it out…

There once were two men of God…one became God’s honorable spokesman because he tuned into God whereas the other one tuned God out and paid the price of his actions and died in dishonor.  The two: Eli the fallen priest and Samuel the Prophet of God.  One man was a failure & the other man successful.  One finished poorly and the other finished strong.  One tuned in / the other tuned out…

Read 3:1-10/pray



·       His Sinful Sons [2:12, 17a]

v. 22 says they were full of lust…they were unsaved, ungodly, selfish, didn’t respect the things of God

v. 18        But Samuel…

        No doubt Eli’s sons laughed at Samuel and ridiculed him.

·       His Selfish Disobedience [vv. 22-26; 3:13]

read 2:29        The reason he is so overweight was he, along with his sons kept taking the best from the offerings. They would actually steal more meat than they needed and they would binge like gluttons and they would get fatter and fatter. The truth is they stole from the offerings that were meant for God. They stole from their own people.

·       His Severe Judgment [vv. 29-30]

Thru v. 36 God removes him from his office.



·       His Call from the Lord [3:1-10]

About 12 yrs. old…was sleeping…at first he thought it was blind Eli calling him.  The old man may have been removed, set on the shelf, but Eli remembered what the voice of God had sounded like before he tuned out! 

        Young Samuel got tuned in!

·       His Message from the Lord [vv. 11-14]

The person who is surrendered to the Lord and is willing to tune in will receive the signal and learn God’s will!

·       His Message to Eli [vv. 15-20]

He was faithful to deliver the message, though it couldn’t have been pleasant. [Situational ethics?—no, let the truth set you free / prevail!]

How could a priest like Eli miss the mark?  He made some crucial errors:
a. Wrong Emphasis: Eli emphasized teaching his colleagues and clients, not his family.

He addressed his sons but did nothing to correct them.
He saw it and ignored it. He pretended it would go away.
When he addressed his sons they did not listen to him and Eli did not make them listen.
The result of Eli putting his head in the sand caused his ears to tune God out more and more and this led to his demise, his family’s demise, and the nation’s demise.
The truth is if we fail to be tuned into God it will affect our lives, our families’ lives, and our nation’s security.

b. Wrong Expectations: Eli thought his sons would “get it” just because they lived in the house of the Lord.
c. Wrong Example: Eli failed to live out in his home what he taught in his work. He tuned God out…so no wonder the boys never tuned in!
d. Wrong Entanglements: Eli got so caught up with his profession he blinded himself to his failure.

        We all must keep God 1st, family 2nd, ministry 3rd.

Eli tuned out!

He was too busy listening to worldly stations of the day. Stations like:
Materialism 101.5 FM
Indulge yourself 95.9
Killing you softly 86.3
Party Hearty 108.1


He proves you’ll never make it to Sunday school if you keep hitting the snooze at 930 AM on the dial!

Sins of your Father, Golden Oldies 93.7

The “All-Satan” Station 66.6

Power of the Air parodies

This was the so-called Christian Rock of Van Halo, Twisted Scripture, Def Shepherd


In the end, Samuel dies with all of Israel mourning his death.
1 Samuel 25:1


Eli on the other hand died in dishonor because he tuned God out of his life…which contributed to the nation losing the presence of God and His blessings.

Read 1 Samuel 4:12-22



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All Sermons and PowerPoint Slideshow Presentations ©Copyright Jerry Shirley and Grace Notes Ministries® unless otherwise credited.  These resources are yours to use freely, but only in public worship services or private study groups and devotions.  They may not be sold, republished or retransmitted in any form without written permission.