Our study in 1 Samuel actually began with the end of Judges where we see that "... everyone did what was right in his own eyes." It was a very chaotic, immoral, and wicked time. It was so wicked that even the priests (Hophni and Phinehas, sons of Eli) abused their privileges, took advantage of the people they were to serve, dishonored God in worship, and were involved in sexual immorality. Yet we also noted that God was still at work, stubbornly working out His plan of redemption for a people who deserved nothing but death.
The beginning of chapt 3 gives us some insight as to why things might have been so wicked during that time ... "the word of God was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision." Chapter 3 and into chapt 4 shows the movement from the word of God being "rare" to "all Israel ... knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord ... the word of Samuel came to all Israel."
The question we must ask is whether or not that movement needs to take place in our own personal lives and in the life of our church family. Is the Word of God "rare" or is it frequent? When we speak to one another, to our children, to our students, in our homes, in our classes, etc. is our conversation richly seasoned with God's Word or is God's Word rarely our focus? Let's be careful and not get so caught up in our fun times together building relationships that we neglect the Word of God in those relationships.
We know from the first two chapters of 1 Samuel what happens when it is rarely heard - immorality, chaos, injustice, abuse of worship, etc. We also know that God's Word is: "living and active" (Heb 4:12); "breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16); "a lamp to my feet and light for my path" (Psa 119:105); "sweeter than honey' (Psa 119:103); "the sword of the Spirit" (Eph 6:17); "spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation" (1 Pet 2:2). As 1 Samuel goes on and Samuel's role as prophet grows we'll see many things happen for God's glory and the good of Israel.
Let's be a people who are all about God's Word! Some of us need to make that movement from rare to frequent exposure to God's Word. Let me exhort all of us to read and study it at home, read it with our children, memorize it, consistently put ourselves in contexts where we will hear it taught (worship, Sunday School, Bible studies, etc.), integrate it into conversations with one another, and share it with unbelievers. God's Word is powerful and effective! Let's believe that ... and act like we believe it!