It was a difficult time in Israel as depravity, apostasy and backsliding were rampant in the land. At this time, the ark was gone from Israel. Eli, the nation’s high priest, was lazy and complacent, allowing his sons to debauch the priesthood. Under their leadership, adultery and fornication were rampant in the temple. But Eli had become so used to his life of ease that he would not do anything to stop them.
At one point the Lord wrote the word “Ichabod” (meaning “the Spirit of the Lord has departed”) over the whole religious system. Once again, satanic forces had risen to great power and to the natural eye, God’s work had lost so much ground, the odds of recovery seemed improbable.
But the Lord had a man in place all along—a little child named Samuel. While all the ministers around him were indulging in fornication and gluttony, Samuel was learning to hear God's voice. As he became more and more intimate with the Lord, the Holy Spirit filled him with a prophetic word. He became a testimony—living proof of the power of God!
Scripture says that as Samuel grew, none of his words fell to the ground, meaning that he consistently spoke with power and authority. Because of his godly authority, no nation was able to lift a hand against Israel for over forty years.
“And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established (found to be trustworthy) to be a prophet of the Lord. And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord” (1 Samuel 3:19-21).
Once again, the Lord raised up a single man as a testimony to a whole nation. God needed no army, no human organization, no “new thing.” All he needed was one righteous man—someone whose ministry was committed totally to His holy ways!