1 Samuel 3:1-10
Now here is a reading with an easy message. Not a message that is easy to live up to, but one that is easy to spot. As children of God we need, like Samuel, to be ready and willing to listen to God’s message for us. Of course the story talks about God’s voice in a very literal way – it is a voice so much like a human voice that the boy Samuel quite believes it is coming from the mouth of his elderly guardian, Eli. I suspect that our experience is that God’s voice is not always as clear and as obvious as that!
The story is also making a more subtle point though; God has an important message for Samuel (not a very happy one, you will find, if you read on), but God waits patiently until Samuel is ready to ask him to speak. How unlike the traditional adult-child relationship, where it is the child who is meant to only speak when spoken to!
Our God waits to be invited into our hearts before he speaks – now that is worth some pondering on!
The Lord appears to Samuel
3 In those days, when the boy Samuel was serving the LORD under the direction of Eli, there were very few messages from the LORD, and visions from him were quite rare. 2 One night Eli, who was now almost blind, was sleeping in his own room; 3 Samuel was sleeping in the sanctuary, where the sacred Covenant Box was. Before dawn, while the lamp was still burning, 4 the LORD called Samuel. He answered, “Yes, sir!” 5 and ran to Eli and said, “You called me, and here I am.”
But Eli answered, “I didn’t call you; go back to bed.” So Samuel went back to bed.
6-7 The LORD called Samuel again. The boy did not know that it was the LORD, because the LORD had never spoken to him before. So he got up, went to Eli, and said, “You called me, and here I am.”
But Eli answered, “My son, I didn’t call you; go back to bed.”
8 The LORD called Samuel a third time; he got up, went to Eli, and said, “You called me, and here I am.”
Then Eli realized that it was the LORD who was calling the boy, 9 so he said to him, “Go back to bed; and if he calls you again, say, ‘Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.’ “ So Samuel went back to bed.
10 The LORD came and stood there, and called as he had before, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak; your servant is listening.”