Early Religious Impressions
1 Samuel 3:7
Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed to him.

A study of this story will show parents and teachers much which ought to be supremely helpful in their dealings with those young persons who come under their care.

I. THERE IS, FIRST, THE PERIOD OF CONSCIENTIOUS ROUTINE. For a while every child born of Christian parents, and trained as Samuel was, will follow the traditions his father and mother have passed on down to him in course of education. What is it possible for any child now to do, as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, under the family rule? Young people can be taught to pray, to take the care of some practical schemes of usefulness, to study the Word of God diligently, to contribute money to religious causes, to become interested in the poor, to speak words of counsel and encouragement and warning to such as need direction or assistance. The grand old moralities are always within their reach; fidelities at school, courtesies to the aged. consideration for the weak, keeping the Sabbath, aiding in household cares, and full obedience to all God's commands. How far is this truly religious? Children differ extremely. Some of them become spiritual Christians quite early; some never know the date of any experience that might be considered regeneration; some are alert, imaginative, poetic, sensitive; others are slow, heavy, and run to rigid moralities with supreme delight and conscientious satisfaction. It is always right to do right, and God loves a virtuous, correct life. Of this we can be comfortably certain. As to the spiritual condition of Samuel at this period of his career, there is found one verse in the record which has given some trouble: "Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him." Evidently there passed a vivid and permanent change over this boy's heart and history in that night's experience: God called him.

II. AWAKENED RESTLESSNESS IN CHILDREN. There is a period in the history of almost every one who, reared in a Christian land, has been more or less directly under the pressure of the truth, in which he really faces the great question of his relation to God. And the effort is often an earnest one and is directed towards a positive decision concerning a religious life. This period you may recognise in yourself, or detect in others, almost always by certain unmistakable signs. There will be outward manifestations of solicitude which will show how seriously the soul contemplates its own experience. Skill, however, and especially patience, will be needed to understand these revelations of inward struggle. They often partake of the nature of strategy, and press their advance in the line of a precise contradiction. Then they will have to be read, like Hebrew syllables, from right to left. Every individual of us, in these communities lit with truth, comes one day to see that his path to heaven is unlike that of any other person, and henceforth he must journey on alone. That thought is revolutionary. But the thing to be remembered is this: "And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child." Men and women may forget this, and grow as sorrowfully "amazed" as was Mary when she rebuked Jesus for not paying more attention to her feelings. They ought to recollect those calm words: "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.

WEB: Now Samuel didn't yet know Yahweh, neither was the word of Yahweh yet revealed to him.

The Child Samuel
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