The book of I Samuel opens during the time of the Judges. Chapter 3 begins by letting us know a little about the spiritual climate:
“…In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.” I Samuel 3: 1
Perhaps The people didn’t hear from God because they didn’t want to hear from God. It was a low time spiritually for God’s chosen people.
They chose to go their own way. When they found themselves in a jam, they came back to seek Him out and ask for His help. Sadly, the reality for them corporately is often our reality individually. Are you and I seeking after God? Are you and I looking and listening and expecting Him to reveal Himself to us?
In a climate where God’s word was rare, it’s all the more remarkable that God chose to speak to Samuel. God called to young Samuel three times and each time he ran to Eli saying, “Here I am; you called me.”
According to verse seven:
“Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.” I Samuel 3: 7
Samuel grew up in God’s house. Even before he knew God personally, he faithfully and obediently served the Lord under Eli’s leadership. When Samuel heard his name called, he hopped right out of bed to respond. No playing opossum, no grumbling, no sighing. He was obeying who he thought was Eli.
Young Samuel spurs us on to teach and train our children in the ways of God even before they have a personal relationship with Him. We can begin to teach our own children (or grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or whatever child God has brought into our lives) about God even before they know God. And we need to start early!
We can intentionally seek out resources to teach our children. We can pray for our children. We can train them to obey us and respect our authority so they are ready to obey God when they make the decision to live for Him.
We can ask the Lord to empower us to live out the gospel faithfully to those living under our own roof. We can ask Him to empower us as parents and grandparents to teach our little ones in His ways and His will, as we pray fervently for the day each responds to His salvation call.
After three times, Eli finally realizes God is speaking to Samuel. Eli instructs the boy in how to respond and when God calls the fourth time, Samuel is ready. He is fully engaged, focused, and ready to hear what God has for him.
In our world of multi-tasking and continual noise–TV, social media, trying to cook dinner, do laundry, and pay bills all at the same time –isn’t it refreshing to note that God initiated the call to Samuel. And Samuel listened and responded.
Samuel’s immediate “Here I am” challenges us to say, “Yes, Sir” to God when He calls us.
The woman of God listens to God.
What if we opened our Bibles each day and repeated Samuel’s words – and really meant them:
Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.
We can each declare with Samuel, ‘Here I am,’ as we ask: “what hard thing do you have for me today? Is there a difficult person I am to love on? Is there someone who needs encouragement? Someone who needs to hear the life-giving message of the gospel – the good news?”
The woman of God listens to God and then follows where he sends.
Samuel’s teachable spirit was rewarded. Because his heart was open to hear, God spoke to Him and used him throughout his life.