And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. — 1 Samuel 3:10
My two youngest daughters enjoy using the computer to talk online with their friends. Whenever a call comes on our phone line and my daughters are using the Internet, the name and number of who is calling pops up on the computer screen. They have the choice at this time to accept the call and get off line to answer it, or to ignore the call and continue talking with their friends. Often, from what I have heard, they choose not to answer the phone. When confronted about this, they will usually say that they did not know the caller. The screen had told them the caller’s name was “unavailable.”
In today’s text, Samuel did not know what the call of God sounded like nor “was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him” (verse 7). Still he answered, running to Eli the priest when he heard his name called, thinking that Eli had called him. As we see in verse 19, Samuel grew and the Lord was with him because he responded to God’s call.
In the world today, God calls Christians to be His messengers. Maybe they will not hear an audible voice as Samuel did, but their calling is just as real. Some may be called to preach or to minister to the sick. Others may be called to share their testimony with a neighbor or relative. Some may be called to give their time to writing a message of salvation and hope to those in need.
Regretfully, some choose to ignore God’s call. They may rationalize that they want to do something different or less demanding. As a result, they miss out on wonderful blessings the Lord wanted to give them. Because of their disobedience, they also put themselves in grave danger of missing Heaven and eternal life.
Like Samuel, we, too, can have the reputation among those who know us that we are the Lord’s. As we endeavor to hear the Lord’s voice in this noisy world, He will be faithful to guide our lives and to make us a blessing to those around us.
May we always listen for the Lord’s voice and be quick to answer, no matter what His message is. As we heed God’s call, others may feel inspired to follow our example. Many souls could be won for God’s kingdom as a result of our decision. Let’s each be a “Samuel” today, listening and answering God’s call, telling the world there is salvation and eternal life through the Savior of the world.
Samuel started his ministry under Eli’s guidance. This was a dark time in the history of the Tabernacle worship. Eli was the high priest, but he did nothing to restrain the behaviors of his two sons, even though he knew that they were desecrating the Tabernacle. Weak leadership often leads to moral decay as evidenced in the lives of Eli’s sons and the people of Israel, who apparently also worshipped idols at this time. Most seemed uninterested in God or His messages to them.
Verse 7 says, “Samuel did not yet know the Lord.” This means he did not yet have the experience of receiving God’s Word. When God called, Samuel did not recognize that he was hearing the voice of God. After hearing his name called for the third time and running to Eli, Eli understood that something great was happening and helped shape Samuel’s answer for when God called again.
Eli was 98 years old at this time and almost blind. He lived in a room next to the sanctuary. Samuel is thought to have been about twelve years old when the Lord called him. He slept near where the Lamp and the Ark of God were kept. The Lamp in the sanctuary was supposed to burn continually, not just during the night, and it was Samuel’s job to see that it stayed lit. Because of this as well as Samuel’s ministry in the Tabernacle, there was still a divine presence in Israel.
It is interesting to note that God chose to tell Samuel His message, rather than the high priest. Eli then had to seek God’s message from the child, Samuel. The phrase in verse 20, “all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba,” referred to the widespread reputation that Samuel was developing. Dan was the farthest north of the provinces, while Beer-sheba was the southernmost territory, thus giving a visual of the far-reaching effects Samuel had in the land.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The judgeship of Samuel
B. The call of Samuel
2. The summons of Samuel (3:1-21)
a. The call to Samuel (3:1-9)
b. The word to Samuel (3:10-15)
c. The words related to Eli (3:16-18)
d. The fame of Samuel (3:19-21)
Many times it may seem easier to ignore God’s message and continue on with what we are doing or “sleep” through it. We may ignore a phone call once in a while, a call to dinner because we are working, or a call to do something we don’t have time for, but let’s always keep our hearts tuned for the call of God!