Does God accept worship from some unbelievers?

1 Samuel 1:28 Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.

1 Samuel 3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.

A comparison of these two verses shows that Samuel as a young child was worshiping the Lord in the house of the Lord (cf. 1 Sam. 1:24) before he knew the Lord. Does this passage teach that God accepts worship from some unbelievers? 

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RajeshG's picture

In a case somewhat similar to Samuel's, Acts informs us of a woman who worshiped God but was still an unbeliever:

Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

Lydia worshipped God before the Lord opened her heart so that she attended to the message given to her by Paul.

Kevin Miller's picture

The way I read it, I Samuel 1:28 was only specifying that Samuel worshipped. The passage doesn't say anything at all about whether God accepted it or not.

The question I have about Lydia is how you would define "unbeliever " in her case. The commentators describe her as a proselyte to the Jewish faith. So she was believing in God and worshipping God in the same way that a faithful Jew would before Christ came to earth. Would we call a faithful Jew in the Old Testament an unbeliever?

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

The way I read it, I Samuel 1:28 was only specifying that Samuel worshipped. The passage doesn't say anything at all about whether God accepted it or not.

The question I have about Lydia is how you would define "unbeliever " in her case. The commentators describe her as a proselyte to the Jewish faith. So she was believing in God and worshipping God in the same way that a faithful Jew would before Christ came to earth. Would we call a faithful Jew in the Old Testament an unbeliever?

That's interesting that you think the Spirit merely mentioned that Samuel was doing something but did not intend for us to understand one way or the other about God's accepting his worship. Why do you think that He even mentions that information if we are not supposed to know anything more than it just happened?

Gentile proselytes who did not actually become Jews refused to accept fully all that God had revealed about Himself and His will. They were still unbelievers because they refused to become Jews fully.
 

Mark_Smith's picture

God at synagogue (except in her case there was no formal synagogue so they met by the river). This was not unheard of. I would not call it common, but it happened a lot. Paul commonly had success preaching to these Gentiles about Jesus.

I do not think it is fair to call her an "unbeliever." Rather, she is similar to the followers of John the Baptist. They did not have complete information.

RajeshG's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

I have no idea what you mean.

The concept of God's accepting something that is offered to Him is spoken of many times in Scripture:

Leviticus 7:18 And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be an abomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity.

Leviticus 22:27 When a bullock, or a sheep, or a goat, is brought forth, then it shall be seven days under the dam; and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 20:3 Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.

etc.

God either accepts what is offered to Him in worship (or what is offered to Him in some other setting) or He rejects it. Does that help?

RajeshG's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

God at synagogue (except in her case there was no formal synagogue so they met by the river). This was not unheard of. I would not call it common, but it happened a lot. Paul commonly had success preaching to these Gentiles about Jesus.

I do not think it is fair to call her an "unbeliever." Rather, she is similar to the followers of John the Baptist. They did not have complete information.

God had to open her heart to believe what Paul preached to her. To some extent before God did that, she was not believing all that she needed to believe. Admittedly, we do not have enough information to be certain about what her full spiritual state was at that point.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

The way I read it, I Samuel 1:28 was only specifying that Samuel worshipped. The passage doesn't say anything at all about whether God accepted it or not.

The question I have about Lydia is how you would define "unbeliever " in her case. The commentators describe her as a proselyte to the Jewish faith. So she was believing in God and worshipping God in the same way that a faithful Jew would before Christ came to earth. Would we call a faithful Jew in the Old Testament an unbeliever?

1 Samuel 3:1 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.

Samuel was worshiping the Lord (1:28) and ministering to Him (3:1) before he came to know the Lord (3:7). The clear implication of 1:28 combined especially with 3:1 is that he was worshiping the Lord and ministering acceptably to Him even before he knew Him.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

The way I read it, I Samuel 1:28 was only specifying that Samuel worshipped. The passage doesn't say anything at all about whether God accepted it or not.

The question I have about Lydia is how you would define "unbeliever " in her case. The commentators describe her as a proselyte to the Jewish faith. So she was believing in God and worshipping God in the same way that a faithful Jew would before Christ came to earth. Would we call a faithful Jew in the Old Testament an unbeliever?

 

That's interesting that you think the Spirit merely mentioned that Samuel was doing something but did not intend for us to understand one way or the other about God's accepting his worship. Why do you think that He even mentions that information if we are not supposed to know anything more than it just happened?

Why do you think there has to be "anything more?' There is a lot of narration in the Bible. Are we supposed to look at every aspect of the narration and try to figure out if "something more" is meant by the inclusion of that narration? That certainly IS a valuable way to meditate on the Word, but we can't make any definitive statements about some "deeper meaning" to the narration if the narration doesn't supply us with such definitive information. Consider the narration in I Samuel 1:24-25 "And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli." Can we make any definitive statements about why the narration tells us "three bullocks" were brought but only one was sacrificed? Some versions say it was a three year old bullock instead of three bullocks. If those translations are correct, then what is God's purpose in telling us the age? Sometimes narration is just narration.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

The way I read it, I Samuel 1:28 was only specifying that Samuel worshipped. The passage doesn't say anything at all about whether God accepted it or not.

The question I have about Lydia is how you would define "unbeliever " in her case. The commentators describe her as a proselyte to the Jewish faith. So she was believing in God and worshipping God in the same way that a faithful Jew would before Christ came to earth. Would we call a faithful Jew in the Old Testament an unbeliever?

 

1 Samuel 3:1 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.

Samuel was worshiping the Lord (1:28) and ministering to Him (3:1) before he came to know the Lord (3:7). The clear implication of 1:28 combined especially with 3:1 is that he was worshiping the Lord and ministering acceptably to Him even before he knew Him. 

I think I Samuel 2:25 is much clearer in regards to whether Samuel was ministering acceptably before God. It says, " And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men." To me, the clear implication in this verse is that Samuel had a faith relationship with God rather than being an unbeliever. How could he be described as being in favor with the Lord if he was an unbeliever?

I think the concept of "not knowing the Lord" as related in 3:7 is referring to Samuel not yet having had any direct revelation from God. Barnes Notes on the Bible has this explanation - "Did not yet know the Lord - i. e. in His supernatural communication, as follows at the end of the verse." Matthew Poole's Commentary explains the verse this way - "Either, first, He was not acquainted with God in that extraordinary or prophetical way. Or rather, secondly, He did not yet understand, any more than before, that it was not Eli, but God, who spake to him." Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges says, "This verse explains why Samuel failed to recognise the Voice. ‘Knowing the Lord’ here denotes not the general religious knowledge of a pious Israelite, but the special knowledge communicated by a personal revelation."

I think it's a mistake to assume that I Samuel 3:7 is telling us Samuel was still an unbeliever as he was getting a direct prophetic revelation from God.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

The way I read it, I Samuel 1:28 was only specifying that Samuel worshipped. The passage doesn't say anything at all about whether God accepted it or not.

The question I have about Lydia is how you would define "unbeliever " in her case. The commentators describe her as a proselyte to the Jewish faith. So she was believing in God and worshipping God in the same way that a faithful Jew would before Christ came to earth. Would we call a faithful Jew in the Old Testament an unbeliever?

 

That's interesting that you think the Spirit merely mentioned that Samuel was doing something but did not intend for us to understand one way or the other about God's accepting his worship. Why do you think that He even mentions that information if we are not supposed to know anything more than it just happened?

 

Why do you think there has to be "anything more?' There is a lot of narration in the Bible. Are we supposed to look at every aspect of the narration and try to figure out if "something more" is meant by the inclusion of that narration? That certainly IS a valuable way to meditate on the Word, but we can't make any definitive statements about some "deeper meaning" to the narration if the narration doesn't supply us with such definitive information. Consider the narration in I Samuel 1:24-25 "And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli." Can we make any definitive statements about why the narration tells us "three bullocks" were brought but only one was sacrificed? Some versions say it was a three year old bullock instead of three bullocks. If those translations are correct, then what is God's purpose in telling us the age? Sometimes narration is just narration.

Narration may be just narration, but when a statement explicitly speaks of something with reference to or pertaining to God, we do well not to just treat it as narration.

If she took three bullocks and only sacrificed one, it may have been because only one could be sacrificed at a time.

Regardless, I do not believe that any statement in the Bible about someone worshiping God is ever merely narration.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

1 Samuel 3:1 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.

Samuel was worshiping the Lord (1:28) and ministering to Him (3:1) before he came to know the Lord (3:7). The clear implication of 1:28 combined especially with 3:1 is that he was worshiping the Lord and ministering acceptably to Him even before he knew Him. 

 

I think I Samuel 2:25 is much clearer in regards to whether Samuel was ministering acceptably before God. It says, " And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men." To me, the clear implication in this verse is that Samuel had a faith relationship with God rather than being an unbeliever. How could he be described as being in favor with the Lord if he was an unbeliever?

I think the concept of "not knowing the Lord" as related in 3:7 is referring to Samuel not yet having had any direct revelation from God. Barnes Notes on the Bible has this explanation - "Did not yet know the Lord - i. e. in His supernatural communication, as follows at the end of the verse." Matthew Poole's Commentary explains the verse this way - "Either, first, He was not acquainted with God in that extraordinary or prophetical way. Or rather, secondly, He did not yet understand, any more than before, that it was not Eli, but God, who spake to him." Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges says, "This verse explains why Samuel failed to recognise the Voice. ‘Knowing the Lord’ here denotes not the general religious knowledge of a pious Israelite, but the special knowledge communicated by a personal revelation."

I think it's a mistake to assume that I Samuel 3:7 is telling us Samuel was still an unbeliever as he was getting a direct prophetic revelation from God.

You say, "How could he be described as being in favor with the Lord if he was an unbeliever?" Since examining that possibility is a major point of this thread, we cannot assume something cannot be true because we cannot see how it could be true and then use that to say that it could not be true. That would be circular reasoning, I think.

Finding favor with God and man, I believe, does not require saving knowledge for a very young child such as Samuel was. If Samuel was doing what was right and pleasing before God and man, he would be enjoying favor with both.

Proverbs 3:1-4 does not seem to emphasize (at least explicitly) that having faith is a condition aside from which obedience to God's law is worthless:

Proverbs 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

I do not find it convincing to say that 3:7 pertains to his not knowing the Lord in the sense of receiving a prophetic call or having prophetic revelation given to him from God.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

Why do you think there has to be "anything more?' There is a lot of narration in the Bible. Are we supposed to look at every aspect of the narration and try to figure out if "something more" is meant by the inclusion of that narration? That certainly IS a valuable way to meditate on the Word, but we can't make any definitive statements about some "deeper meaning" to the narration if the narration doesn't supply us with such definitive information. Consider the narration in I Samuel 1:24-25 "And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli." Can we make any definitive statements about why the narration tells us "three bullocks" were brought but only one was sacrificed? Some versions say it was a three year old bullock instead of three bullocks. If those translations are correct, then what is God's purpose in telling us the age? Sometimes narration is just narration.

 

Narration may be just narration, but when a statement explicitly speaks of something with reference to or pertaining to God, we do well not to just treat it as narration.

This is why I specifically said that thinking about such matters "certainly IS a valuable way to meditate on the Word," We certainly need to look at the passage and the surrounding context to see if we can determine whether more is involved than just narration. We don't want to just be making things up without Scriptural evidence.

Quote:
If she took three bullocks and only sacrificed one, it may have been because only one could be sacrificed at a time.
Really? Now it sounds like you are just making something up. Is there any Scriptural evidence to show that only one bullock at a time could ever be sacrificed at the temple? The passage tells us there were three priests at the temple, Eli and his two sons. Doesn't that suggest that, logistically speaking, three animals actually could be sacrificed at the same time?

Quote:
Regardless, I do not believe that any statement in the Bible about someone worshiping God is ever merely narration. 

So do you then believe that every statement describing someone worshiping would also be telling us whether God accepted or rejected that worship? That's what it sounds like you're saying.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

Quote:

If she took three bullocks and only sacrificed one, it may have been because only one could be sacrificed at a time.

Really? Now it sounds like you are just making something up. Is there any Scriptural evidence to show that only one bullock at a time could ever be sacrificed at the temple? The passage tells us there were three priests at the temple, Eli and his two sons. Doesn't that suggest that, logistically speaking, three animals actually could be sacrificed at the same time?

When I said only one could be sacrificed at a time, I did not mean that it was physically impossible for more than one to be sacrificed simultaneously. As far as I can recall, the passages that speak of a bullock being offered for an ordinary individual person on a regular occasion never speak of that person's providing more than one at a time on a specific occasion to be offered for him.

Thinking about it further, I question whether there were any instances of more than one bullock being offered at a time on a given altar. For more than one to be offered simultaneously, there would have to be multiple altars. I do not recall any ordinary occasions where multiple offerings were offered simultaneously for the same person by offering them on more than one altar.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

Quote:
Regardless, I do not believe that any statement in the Bible about someone worshiping God is ever merely narration. 

 

So do you then believe that every statement describing someone worshiping would also be telling us whether God accepted or rejected that worship? That's what it sounds like you're saying.

Since everything revealed about God in the Bible is certainly intended to profit us for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16-17), I do believe that the default should be hold that it is intended within its context not just to communicate merely that worship occurred but also to convey to us in some manner (either explicitly or implicitly) whether that worship was pleasing to God or not.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

You say, "How could he be described as being in favor with the Lord if he was an unbeliever?" Since examining that possibility is a major point of this thread, we cannot assume something cannot be true because we cannot see how it could be true and then use that to say that it could not be true. That would be circular reasoning, I think.

I wasn't trying to assume anything. I was simply asking, since you described Samuel as an unbeliever, if you personally had any Scriptural indication from any other passages that an unbeliever's life could be described as "in favor with the Lord."

Quote:
Finding favor with God and man, I believe, does not require saving knowledge for a very young child such as Samuel was. If Samuel was doing what was right and pleasing before God and man, he would be enjoying favor with both.
Your statement seems to be assuming something to be true and then using that to say it is true. Isn't that the same king of circular reasoning you were saying I was expressing?

Quote:
Proverbs 3:1-4 does not seem to emphasize (at least explicitly) that having faith is a condition aside from which obedience to God's law is worthless:

Proverbs 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

You are absolutely correct that this is not an explicit statement that faithless obedience produces favor from God. It's not even an implicit one. I think the implicit message is that when "the heart" is keeping the commandments, that the heart is a heart of faith; that when mercy and truth are written on the tables of one's heart, that the heart is a heart of faith. 

Quote:
I do not find it convincing to say that 3:7 pertains to his not knowing the Lord in the sense of receiving a prophetic call or having prophetic revelation given to him from God.
Here's a few other commentaries, then.

Adam Clarke Commentary - "Samuel did not yet know the Lord - He had not been accustomed to receive any revelation from him. He knew and worshipped the God of Israel; but he did not know him as communicating especial revelation of His will."

Wesley's Explanatory Notes - "Did not know — He was not acquainted with God in that extraordinary or prophetical way. And this ignorance of Samuel's served God's design, that his simplicity might give Eli the better assurance of the truth of God's call, and message to Samuel.

John Trapp Complete Commentary - "Ver. 7. Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord,] i.e., He knew him not in that way peculiar to prophets: for otherwise he knew the Lord a far deal better than Eli’s two sons did, [1 Samuel 2:12] and yet he and they had all one tutor. 

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Whole Bible - "1 Samuel 3:7. Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord— The second clause in this verse explains the first: Samuel was not yet instructed in the will of GOD as a prophet; he had not yet received any immediate revelation from him."

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

When I said only one could be sacrificed at a time, I did not mean that it was physically impossible for more than one to be sacrificed simultaneously. As far as I can recall, the passages that speak of a bullock being offered for an ordinary individual person on a regular occasion never speak of that person's providing more than one at a time on a specific occasion to be offered for him.

Thinking about it further, I question whether there were any instances of more than one bullock being offered at a time on a given altar. For more than one to be offered simultaneously, there would have to be multiple altars. I do not recall any ordinary occasions where multiple offerings were offered simultaneously for the same person by offering them on more than one altar.

So this bring me back to my main point. Are we able to determine from the passage whether there is "anything more" we need to understand about worship from the fact that three bullocks were brought? We know from the passage that one one was sacrificed at that particular time. We are not given information regarding what happened to the other two. The information that three were brought is therefore just narration, describing a fact of how many were brought, and there is not "anything more" we can derive from the information.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

When I said only one could be sacrificed at a time, I did not mean that it was physically impossible for more than one to be sacrificed simultaneously. As far as I can recall, the passages that speak of a bullock being offered for an ordinary individual person on a regular occasion never speak of that person's providing more than one at a time on a specific occasion to be offered for him.

Thinking about it further, I question whether there were any instances of more than one bullock being offered at a time on a given altar. For more than one to be offered simultaneously, there would have to be multiple altars. I do not recall any ordinary occasions where multiple offerings were offered simultaneously for the same person by offering them on more than one altar.

 

So this bring me back to my main point. Are we able to determine from the passage whether there is "anything more" we need to understand about worship from the fact that three bullocks were brought? We know from the passage that one one was sacrificed at that particular time. We are not given information regarding what happened to the other two. The information that three were brought is therefore just narration, describing a fact of how many were brought, and there is not "anything more" we can derive from the information.

This is your main point?

Anyway, this is not just narration. It shows the godliness of Hannah after she had chosen not to go up to offer the yearly sacrifice until she had weaned Samuel (1 Sam. 1:21-22). When she did finally take him to the house of the Lord, she brought the yearly sacrifice not just for that year but also for the previous years that she had not done so.

And, no, I do not have anything further to specify about when those other two bullocks were offered, what the process was, etc.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

This is your main point?

There are a few different threads of conversation we're having here. It was my main point in response to one particular question you had asked me. You said "That's interesting that you think the Spirit merely mentioned that Samuel was doing something but did not intend for us to understand one way or the other about God's accepting his worship. Why do you think that He even mentions that information if we are not supposed to know anything more than it just happened?"

I answered, "Why do you think there has to be "anything more?' There is a lot of narration in the Bible. Are we supposed to look at every aspect of the narration and try to figure out if "something more" is meant by the inclusion of that narration? That certainly IS a valuable way to meditate on the Word, but we can't make any definitive statements about some "deeper meaning" to the narration if the narration doesn't supply us with such definitive information."

It was this point I was referring to when I just said "So this bring me back to my main point. Are we able to determine from the passage whether there is "anything more" we need to understand about worship from the fact that three bullocks were brought?" 

Quote:
Anyway, this is not just narration. It shows the godliness of Hannah after she had chosen not to go up to offer the yearly sacrifice until she had weaned Samuel (1 Sam. 1:21-22). When she did finally take him to the house of the Lord, she brought the yearly sacrifice not just for that year but also for the previous years that she had not done so.
So are you able to determine from the passage that these bullocks were to take the place of the yearly sacrifices that she missed? Does the Bible give any indication in any of the sacrificial instructions that "make-up" sacrifices can be offered to replace ones that were skipped? The passage does tells us she missed some sacrifices, but the passage doesn't give us any indication that Hannah's godliness was being illustrated by bringing three bullocks instead of just one. You can't just make things up to prove that "anything more" is intended to be conveyed by the narration.

 

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

Quote:
Anyway, this is not just narration. It shows the godliness of Hannah after she had chosen not to go up to offer the yearly sacrifice until she had weaned Samuel (1 Sam. 1:21-22). When she did finally take him to the house of the Lord, she brought the yearly sacrifice not just for that year but also for the previous years that she had not done so.

So are you able to determine from the passage that these bullocks were to take the place of the yearly sacrifices that she missed? Does the Bible give any indication in any of the sacrificial instructions that "make-up" sacrifices can be offered to replace ones that were skipped? The passage does tells us she missed some sacrifices, but the passage doesn't give us any indication that Hannah's godliness was being illustrated by bringing three bullocks instead of just one. You can't just make things up to prove that "anything more" is intended to be conveyed by the narration.

I provided a reasonable explanation. You cannot prove that the passage is mere narration and not intended to teach us anything more than that. That is just your assumption.

To use your methodology, we can only know what we are to profit from in any passage if God says something explicitly, which is something with which I vehemently disagree.

I think that we have reached the point that further discussion of this specific point will not be profitable. Let's leave it here.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

So are you able to determine from the passage that these bullocks were to take the place of the yearly sacrifices that she missed? Does the Bible give any indication in any of the sacrificial instructions that "make-up" sacrifices can be offered to replace ones that were skipped? The passage does tells us she missed some sacrifices, but the passage doesn't give us any indication that Hannah's godliness was being illustrated by bringing three bullocks instead of just one. You can't just make things up to prove that "anything more" is intended to be conveyed by the narration.

 

I provided a reasonable explanation. You cannot prove that the passage is mere narration and not intended to teach us anything more than that. That is just your assumption.

To use your methodology, we can only know what we are to profit from in any passage if God says something explicitly, which is something with which I vehemently disagree.

I think that we have reached the point that further discussion of this specific point will not be profitable. Let's leave it here.

But this point is rather foundational to the entire thread, isn't it? We are trying to figure out what the passage teaches. Some passages teach deep applicational meanings and some passages just teach that certain events happened. Both teachings are valuable.

My methodology in this thread is certainly NOT to just look for explicit statements. I've acknowledged that looking for "anything more" is a valid way to meditate on the passage. Your explanation about the animals is, of course, as reasonable a guess as any other guess regarding why three bullocks were brought. It's also valid to consider that the passage might be saying "a bullock of three years old" instead, and we could make all sorts of guesses as to why a three-year-old bull was brought instead of a 2 or 4 year old one.

I'm rather surprised that you are so dead set against any assumption that this might be narration when your own opinion that "something more" is being taught is, itself, just an assumption as well. This is why I'm trying to get you to explain, from the passage, why you think we can determine whether God accepted or rejected Samuel's worship.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I'm rather surprised that you are so dead set against any assumption that this might be narration when your own opinion that "something more" is being taught is, itself, just an assumption as well. This is why I'm trying to get you to explain, from the passage, why you think we can determine whether God accepted or rejected Samuel's worship.

People did not just get to do whatever they wanted in the house of the Lord because they were curious or wanted to try it out or whatever. In other words, there is no basis for holding that Eli was just allowing Samuel to do things in the house of the Lord "for kicks." Had Samuel's worship not been acceptable to God, Eli would have been sinning in allowing him to do whatever he was doing in the house of the Lord.

The strong contrast between what is said about what Samuel was doing (1 Sam. 2:18-21) versus the wickedness of Eli's sons (1 Sam. 2:12-17) also points to divine acceptance of Samuel's worship.

So does Eli's blessing Elkanah and his wife for having lent Samuel to the Lord (1 Sam. 2:20-21) to minister to Him (1 Sam. 2:18).

Furthermore, comparing the explicit statements that use exactly the same verb and construction about Eli's sons not knowing the Lord (2:12) and Samuel's not knowing the Lord (3:7) shows that Samuel was an unbeliever, even as they were:

1 Samuel 2:12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.

WTT 1 Samuel 2:12 וּבְנֵ֥י עֵלִ֖י בְּנֵ֣י בְלִיָּ֑עַל לֹ֥א יָדְע֖וּ אֶת־יְהוָֽה׃

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

 WTT 1 Samuel 3:7 וּשְׁמוּאֵ֕ל טֶ֖רֶם יָדַ֣ע אֶת־יְהוָ֑ה וְטֶ֛רֶם יִגָּלֶ֥ה אֵלָ֖יו דְּבַר־יְהוָֽה׃

The difference between Eli's sons and Samuel were that they were sons of Belial who were doing wickedly in the house of the Lord whereas Samuel was faithful in heeding whatever instruction he had received, even though he like them did not know the Lord.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

People did not just get to do whatever they wanted in the house of the Lord because they were curious or wanted to try it out or whatever. In other words, there is no basis for holding that Eli was just allowing Samuel to do things in the house of the Lord "for kicks." Had Samuel's worship not been acceptable to God, Eli would have been sinning in allowing him to do whatever he was doing in the house of the Lord.

How does Eli's sinfulness prove your point here? Eli was already sinning by allowing his sons to perform their wickedness in the temple. Therefore, Eli's supervision doesn't tell us anything about God's acceptance or rejection of Samuel's worship.

Quote:
The strong contrast between what is said about what Samuel was doing (1 Sam. 2:18-21) versus the wickedness of Eli's sons (1 Sam. 2:12-17) also points to divine acceptance of Samuel's worship.
In the exact same manner, the contrast would also point to the faith condition of Samuel's heart as opposed to the faith condition of Eli's sons.

Quote:
Furthermore, comparing the explicit statements that use exactly the same verb and construction about Eli's sons not knowing the Lord (2:12) and Samuel's not knowing the Lord (3:7) shows that Samuel was an unbeliever, even as they were:
It could also show that Eli's sons had not received prophetic revelation from God.

Or, it could also be used as "knowing" the Lord in one particular way in regards to Eli's sons and "knowing" the Lord in a different way in regards to Samuel. The context of 3:7 lets us see that Samuel's "not knowing" the Lord had to do with a prophetic word from the Lord, and the context of 2:12 is clear that the "not knowing" had to do with rebellion. This is why we look so closely at the context to find the meaning God wants us to have.

 

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

People did not just get to do whatever they wanted in the house of the Lord because they were curious or wanted to try it out or whatever. In other words, there is no basis for holding that Eli was just allowing Samuel to do things in the house of the Lord "for kicks." Had Samuel's worship not been acceptable to God, Eli would have been sinning in allowing him to do whatever he was doing in the house of the Lord.

How does Eli's sinfulness prove your point here? Eli was already sinning by allowing his sons to perform their wickedness in the temple. Therefore, Eli's supervision doesn't tell us anything about God's acceptance or rejection of Samuel's worship.

I think that you have misunderstood what I am saying. We are not given any information that Eli was sinful in any respect concerning what he allowed Samuel to do in the house of the Lord.

In other words, what I am saying is that had Samuel's worship and ministry in the house of the Lord not been acceptable to the Lord, Eli would have been sinning in that additional way and God would have judged him for that as well. Because Eli was not judged for allowing Samuel to worship and minister in an unacceptable way, we can be confident that Samuel's worship and ministry were acceptable to the Lord.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

I think that you have misunderstood what I am saying. We are not given any information that Eli was sinful in any respect concerning what he allowed Samuel to do in the house of the Lord.

In other words, what I am saying is that had Samuel's worship and ministry in the house of the Lord not been acceptable to the Lord, Eli would have been sinning in that additional way and God would have judged him for that as well. Because Eli was not judged for allowing Samuel to worship and minister in an unacceptable way, we can be confident that Samuel's worship and ministry were acceptable to the Lord. 

How can you be sure that if Eli had sinned in regards ot Samuel's worship, that God would have included it in this particular judgment against Eli? I'm confident that Eli's failure with his sons was not the only sin Eli had ever committed. Therefore, this judgment would not be a full accounting of every sin and would not necessarily include potential failures or sins regarding any other people Eli was teaching or ministering to.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

I think that you have misunderstood what I am saying. We are not given any information that Eli was sinful in any respect concerning what he allowed Samuel to do in the house of the Lord.

In other words, what I am saying is that had Samuel's worship and ministry in the house of the Lord not been acceptable to the Lord, Eli would have been sinning in that additional way and God would have judged him for that as well. Because Eli was not judged for allowing Samuel to worship and minister in an unacceptable way, we can be confident that Samuel's worship and ministry were acceptable to the Lord. 

How can you be sure that if Eli had sinned in regards ot Samuel's worship, that God would have included it in this particular judgment against Eli? I'm confident that Eli's failure with his sons was not the only sin Eli had ever committed. Therefore, this judgment would not be a full accounting of every sin and would not necessarily include potential failures or sins regarding any other people Eli was teaching or ministering to.

 

The Spirit highlights explicitly and profoundly the contrast between Samuel's activities and those of Eli's sons. Had what Samuel been doing been unacceptable to God, God would have stated that He was judging Eli both for what he had allowed Samuel to do and for what he had allowed his sons to do.

Moreover, the Lord would not have blessed Hannah through Eli for her lending Samuel to the Lord had his worship and ministry been unacceptable to the Lord (1 Sam. 2:20-21). Eli did not have any ability to control what God did in that respect.

There is not even a hint of anything sinful about Samuel in anything that is said in 1 Samuel 1:28-3:21.

You are mistaken in asserting that we cannot know anything about the nature of Samuel's worship and ministry. We absolutely can know that what he was doing was pleasing to God. In fact, the Spirit says so explicitly by speaking of His being in favor with God and men (2:26). That statement would have been impossible to make had Samuel's worship and ministry been unacceptable to God.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

You are mistaken in asserting that we cannot know anything about the nature of Samuel's worship and ministry. We absolutely can know that what he was doing was pleasing to God. In fact, the Spirit says so explicitly by speaking of His being in favor with God and men (2:26). That statement would have been impossible to make had Samuel's worship and ministry been unacceptable to God.

Where did I assert that we can't know "anything" about the nature of Samuel's worship? I was the one who first mentioned 2:26 earlier in the thread, so I don't understand what you think I am mistaken about. (well, I did make a typo and call it 2:25, but then I quoted 2:26 in the post.)

You presented 1:28 and 3:1 as showing acceptable worship, and I said 2:26 " is much clearer in regards to whether Samuel was ministering acceptably before God." Verse 1:28 and 3:1 don't really tell us that his worship was acceptable, as that information isn't included within those verses, but I pointed out that 2:26 clearly does tell us that.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

How can you be sure that if Eli had sinned in regards ot Samuel's worship, that God would have included it in this particular judgment against Eli? I'm confident that Eli's failure with his sons was not the only sin Eli had ever committed. Therefore, this judgment would not be a full accounting of every sin and would not necessarily include potential failures or sins regarding any other people Eli was teaching or ministering to.

 

The Spirit highlights explicitly and profoundly the contrast between Samuel's activities and those of Eli's sons. Had what Samuel been doing been unacceptable to God, God would have stated that He was judging Eli both for what he had allowed Samuel to do and for what he had allowed his sons to do.

Just repeating your earlier comment doesn't tell me how you can be so confident this is true. Are you actually claiming that Eli's failure with his children is the only sin Eli had committed in his life?

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

How can you be sure that if Eli had sinned in regards ot Samuel's worship, that God would have included it in this particular judgment against Eli? I'm confident that Eli's failure with his sons was not the only sin Eli had ever committed. Therefore, this judgment would not be a full accounting of every sin and would not necessarily include potential failures or sins regarding any other people Eli was teaching or ministering to.

 

The Spirit highlights explicitly and profoundly the contrast between Samuel's activities and those of Eli's sons. Had what Samuel been doing been unacceptable to God, God would have stated that He was judging Eli both for what he had allowed Samuel to do and for what he had allowed his sons to do.

 

Just repeating your earlier comment doesn't tell me how you can be so confident this is true. Are you actually claiming that Eli's failure with his children is the only sin Eli had committed in his life?

I think you can answer that question yourself. If you cannot understand what I have said, I am not going to try to explain it any further.

RajeshG's picture

Unlike the cases of Samuel and Lydia, whose spiritual states in the passages discussed above have been disputed, Acts 10 informs us about a Gentile whose spiritual status we can know with certainty.

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

God sent an angel to Cornelius to inform him that God had taken note of his prayers and alms. The angel also informed Cornelius what he needed to do:

Acts 11:13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; 14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

Cornelius and his entire household had to hear words from Peter by which they all would be saved. Indisputably, therefore, Cornelius was an unbeliever whose prayers God heard and whose alms God took note of.
 

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