Imagine turning in for the evening, ready for a good night’s rest.
A single lamp is lit, slowly going out. A silence fills the house as everyone drifts off to sleep.
But suddenly, a booming voice calls your name!
This is exactly what happened to a young boy named Samuel.
“Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.
And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
In l Samuel 3, we find that the Lord calls Samuel three times, and it isn’t until the fourth time that he responds back to Him.
For each time He calls on Samuel, the boy assumes that it’s Eli, and runs to him.
How often do we do the same?
Suddenly there’s interference and we find ourselves dropping the call between us and God, running in full pursuit of things He’s never called us to begin with.
Before we know it, our availability begins to open up for everything else, while the time for God begins to dwindle away, shy of just a sliver.
But as we acknowledge Him and allow ourselves to be present when He calls, He can use us in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine.
That’s exactly what God had planned for Samuel, if only he would answer the call.
Not only that, but once we begin to tune into God’s voice and allow Him to speak life into our situation and the direction of our future, we oftentimes want to make sure we’re surrounded by people who will hold us accountable, who will help us grow in our walk with God.
“Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before (l Samuel 3:7 NLT).”
But when he came to Eli, Eli didn’t hesitate to tell Samuel who was speaking to him and direct him on what he should do. He led him in the right direction, God’s direction, rather than the wrong one.
And thankfully, we have a patient God, one who is in full pursuit of our time. For even as Samuel fails to respond to God at first, that doesn’t stop Him from continuing His pursuit.
How very different Samuel’s life would have been if he hadn’t answered God.
We even find that “As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable.” l Samuel 3:19
Samuel then speaks for the Lord, on His behalf. But before that came to pass, God first had to speak to Samuel.
In turn, sleepless nights aren’t as bad as we may think them to be. For it is during the late hours of the night, when silence and slumber settle over the world as a whole, that God often presents Himself.
He wants an intimate and personal relationship with you. He speaks, you listen, you speak, He listens. Never at any point in time have you served a selfish God.
But the question is will you answer His call and listen to the voice of the very God who created you into existence – or will you tune Him out for the noise of the world that surrounds you?
If so, I ask that you might pray with me for those who are struggling in this season of life and are seeking a word from God, that they might make themselves available to His call and be open to all that He has yet to reveal and/or show them.
For, it is through His word that we can be reminded of just how important it is to hear Him when he speaks – and the great impact it can have on us becoming who God has called us to be.