1 Samuel 3; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 581, 582
I will listen and answer when God speaks to me.
“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9).
Have you ever heard your mom calling and pretended that you did not hear? The opposite happens in today’s story. Samuel heard someone calling him and tried to answer.
The little boy was an answer to his mother’s prayers. Hannah had prayed for a son. She had promised God that she would give her child to Him to be His servant.
And so it was that she took her little boy Samuel to live with priest Eli in the tabernacle. Samuel was very helpful and was like a son to Eli.
Samuel became a joy and delight for the old priest. And Samuel loved the old man.
“In those days the Lord did not speak directly to people very often” (1 Samuel 3:1, ICB). But God would soon speak to Samuel in a most unusual way.
Eli’s eyesight was failing. He was almost blind, and he really needed Samuel’s help. One night Eli and Samuel had gone to their rooms and were about to fall asleep when suddenly Samuel heard a voice calling “Samuel!”
Samuel sat up with a start. A lamp still burned nearby. Did Eli need him?
Samuel got up and went to Eli’s room. “Here I am,” he said to Eli. “You called me.”
But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.”
Samuel quietly returned to his bed. I’m sure Eli called, he may have thought as he closed his eyes.
Again Samuel heard a voice. “Samuel! Samuel!”
The boy sat up and looked around. Then he scurried out of bed and dashed to Eli’s side. “I am here,” he said. “You called me.”
“No, Samuel, I didn’t call you,” responded Eli. “Go back to bed.”
So Samuel returned to his bed. I’m sure I heard Eli, he likely thought as he snuggled under his blanket again.
“Samuel! Samuel!” That voice again!
Samuel jumped up and rushed to Eli again. “I’m here,” he spoke softly. “You called me.”
“No,” Eli answered. “I didn’t call you.” Then Eli realized that the Lord must be speaking to Samuel. So he told Samuel, “Go to bed. If he calls you again, say, ‘Speak, Lord. I am your servant, and I am listening’ ” (1 Samuel 3:9, ICB).
This time when Samuel heard the voice call him, “Samuel! Samuel!” he answered as Eli had told him. “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Then the Lord said, “I am going to do something that will shock those who hear about it. I will do to Eli and his sons everything I have promised because his sons have done terrible things.”
Samuel was shocked. He probably didn’t sleep much the rest of the night. In the morning he quietly went about his duties. He was afraid to tell Eli what God had said. But Eli soon approached Samuel and asked, “What did the Lord say to you? Don’t hide it from me, Samuel.”
So Samuel revealed all that the Lord had said. And Eli knew that God had made Samuel His messenger.
God gave Samuel the first of many messages Samuel was to deliver to God’s people in the years to come. Samuel truly was God’s servant throughout all his life. And God wants you to serve Him too. You can be God’s messenger. You can share with others what God says as you learn more of His Word, the Bible.