To refresh your memory of the story of the child Samuel and Eli (which is not printed here for the sake of space), please read 1 Samuel 3:1-19. In our text, young Samuel had every right to be afraid to tell Eli about the Lord’s judgment. Eli’s wicked sons profaned the temple and were not restrained by Eli. Because of this lack of restraint, God made an oath to bring calamity upon his house. These were certainly harsh words for young Samuel to relate. Notice the wording in verse 15: “And Samuel lay until the morning
, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared
to shew Eli the vision.” I tend to think he didn’t sleep very much—if at all—that night, after receiving this revelation from God. Perhaps he tossed and turned, worrying about what God told him to do. I began to ponder that a bit, as it relates to our telling one another the “hard things.” Are we afraid to tell our brother or sister things which the Lord has revealed to us about them? It may not be from a dream or a vision, but it is definitely something that God has revealed through the Word, experience, or observation.
Many times things are very clear to us ... we know we should say something to others, but we “fear telling Eli” about … a character flaw that could hinder their growth; mannerisms or sinful habits that distance them from their brethren, their children, or their wife; sayings that are not becoming of a Christian (e.g., slang, soft curse words); actions that do not show forth Christ in the community and that damage the witness of the church; words that have hurt and have “separated very friends” (e.g., critical, judgmental remarks); foolish jesting; lack of parental guidance of their children; worldliness, materialism, covetousness, and debt; dishonesty; lack of submission by a wife or daughter; immodesty of dress and tendency toward the world’s fashions; improper music; lack of zeal for the Lord …