“Home-Study Lesson: 1 Samuel 1–15 (Unit 17)” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Unit 17,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
As a child, Samuel served in the tabernacle under the high priest, Eli. One night Samuel received a revelation from the Lord. Samuel learned to recognize the voice of the Lord. The Lord spoke through him, and the people recognized him as a prophet.
Before class, make preparations to produce several different sounds. (For example, you could bring items such as a bell, a whistle, or blocks of wood to hit together.) Select some sounds that students may recognize and others they may not recognize. (Instead of preparing to make sounds, you could record the voices of six individuals, choosing some people whose voices students may recognize and others whose voices they may not recognize.)
Invite students to close their eyes before each sound is made (or before each voice recording is played). After each sound, invite them to try to identify what (or whose voice) they heard.
Afterward, ask students why they recognized some sounds (or voices) and may not have recognized others. Encourage them to look, as they study 1 Samuel 3, for the voice that young Samuel learned to recognize.
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 3:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the spiritual condition of the people during Samuel’s youth.
What do you think it means that “the word of the Lord was precious in those days”? (Revelations from the Lord were rare.)
What might this tell us about the spiritual condition of the people at this time?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Samuel 3:2–6. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened in the tabernacle one night.
Why do you think Samuel did not recognize the voice?
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 3:7–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what helped Samuel recognize the Lord’s voice.
According to verse 7, why did Samuel initially not recognize the voice?
What did Eli counsel Samuel to do if he heard the voice again?
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 3:11–14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord told Samuel after Samuel recognized His voice. Invite them to report what they find.
Why do you think the Lord spoke to Samuel and not to Eli?
Explain that the Lord was displeased with Eli for allowing the iniquity in his household to continue without correction. The Lord was also giving Samuel guidance and instruction in preparation for his calling as a prophet.
What can we learn from Samuel’s experience that will help us receive knowledge from the Lord? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: As we increase our ability to receive and understand personal revelation, we will be able to recognize the voice of the Lord more easily and receive His guidance and instruction.)
You may want to explain that while Samuel may have heard an audible voice, the voice of the Lord is most often manifested to His children through the voice of His Spirit, which is usually not a voice one hears as much as one feels.
To help students understand how we can learn to recognize the voice of the Lord in our lives and receive His guidance, ask each student to silently read one of the following references and look for the answer to the corresponding question. (You may want to write the references and questions on the board or provide each student with a strip of paper with one of the references and the associated question written on it.)
After sufficient time, invite five students to each read aloud a different set of verses and the associated question and then answer the question in their own words.
Ask the class to list on the board different ways the Lord can speak to us. (After they identify several ways, make sure they understand that the Lord can communicate with us through visions, speech, dreams, and sometimes appearances. Most often we hear His voice through His prophets, the scriptures, and the Holy Ghost as impressions, thoughts, and ideas (see John 16:13–15).
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who described how the Lord communicates with us through His Spirit:
“The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all. …
“Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening” (“The Candle of the Lord,” Ensign, Jan. 1983, 53).
What are some preoccupations that may prevent us from hearing and recognizing the gentle whisper of the Lord’s voice?
How have you learned to recognize when the Lord is speaking to you through the Spirit?
Ask students to ponder an experience they have had when they recognized the Lord’s voice and followed His guidance. Consider inviting one or two students to share their experiences with the class. (Caution them about sharing experiences that are too personal or sacred.)
Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals what they feel they need to do to become more familiar with the Lord’s voice.
You may want to share an experience you have had when you recognized the voice of the Lord.
Encourage students to continue to learn to recognize the Lord’s voice and rely on the guidance He gives them.
Ask students to ponder the following questions: What is the biggest challenge you are facing in your life right now? Do you feel you can overcome it? Explain that as they study David’s experience with a giant challenge in his life, they will learn principles that can help them overcome any challenge they face. Tell them they will also learn about the blessings of having a good friend, how kindness can change a bad situation into a good one, and the importance of obeying the Lord with exactness.