“Then the Lord came, stood there, and called as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel responded, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”“ 1 Samuel 3:10.
For years a woman named Hannah tried to have a child. After many failed attempts to have a child, she turned to God and asked for Him to bless her with a child. Should she be given a son, she vowed to dedicate that son to God and His service. Shortly thereafter, Hannah became pregnant, and when she gave birth to a son, she named him Samuel, which means “God has answered my request.” True to her word, when Samuel was old enough to be weaned, Hannah took Samuel to the home of the priest Eli, and left the child there to be raised by Eli “in the presence of the Lord.”
During the time in which Samuel was growing up, the Bible says that “the word of the Lord was rare and prophetic visions were not widespread.” Because the majority of people in Israel at that time did not seek God, God did not speak to the people. However, Samuel was taught to seek God and he “grew in stature and favor with God and man.” Samuel would be a man that God would use to do great things.
One night, as Samuel was going to bed, God called out to him. Samuel heard his voice being called, but did not recognize that it was God’s voice, since he had never heard God’s voice before. Instead, Samuel thought it was Eli calling him, and he went to check on Eli. Eli told Samuel that he did not call him, and Eli sent Samuel back to bed.
Again, God calls Samuel, and again, Samuel thinks it is Eli. Eli, again, tells Samuel to go back to bed. God calls Samuel a third time, and this time when Samuel goes to Eli, Eli realizes what is happening. Eli tells Samuel that it is God who is calling him, and he tells Samuel what to do when God calls him again. Once more, Samuel is sent back to bed.
The fourth time that God calls, Samuel is ready. When he hears God’s voice calling his name, Samuel says, “Speak for Your servant is listening.” God then goes on to give Samuel the first of many messages that he would relay to the people of Israel. Samuel would go on to be one of the greatest prophets in all of the history of Israel.
God is still calling people today; the question is are we listening for His voice? Though Samuel did not recognize God’s voice at first, he was still able to hear God’s call because he always sought to serve God. Can the same be said of us? Are we seeking to serve God? Are we listening for His voice? Or do we allow all the distractions of this world to muffle God’s voice while we focus our attention elsewhere? Even when we may hear God’s voice, do we recognize that it is Him? We must follow Samuel’s example and open our hearts and minds to God. We must seek to grow in favor with God and man, and be ready to take part in God’s service. When we submit ourselves to God and seek Him, we will then be able to hear His call to us. Let us have open ears to hear, and willing hearts to serve God, just as Samuel did.