1 The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.8 The Lord called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Listening is very, very important. Tell me, what do we use to listen? Silly question, right? Of course you know the answer! When we were children, we were taught that we listen with our ears.
When we were in a place where it was very noisy—a place where, maybe, lots of people were talking and we tried to get our mom’s attention—we had to work quite hard.
“Mom,” we would say.
“Mom,” we would say a little louder.
“Mom,” we would say more insistently.
“Mom!” We finally would shout quite loudly and tug on her sleeve.
We had to speak really, really loudly in order to get our mom’s attention. We had to speak loudly enough that she could hear us over the noise of the other people talking.
Sometimes, you see, it is really hard to listen when we are surrounded by lots of noise.
In the verses at the beginning of this blog post, the Bible tells the story of a little boy, not much older than some of us were when we first learned about how noise interferes with communication. One night, as he was fast asleep, he thought he heard someone call his name. Well, you know this story, don’t you? And, if you don’t, you can read it above.
Once Samuel realized the Lord was calling him, he replied, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”
And, do you know what happened then?
The Lord and Samuel had a conversation. That’s right. They had quite a talk. And, what they talked about will be the subject of another blog post that we will share together sometime.
Why do you suppose that God waited until night time to talk to Samuel?
God waited until it was very, very quiet. Because God knew that when it was very quiet, Samuel would be able to listen better. Samuel would be able to hear God’s voice.
In the first part of Psalm 46:10, the Bible says:
10 “Be still and know that I am God.”
One of the hardest lessons to learn is how to be quiet and listen. That’s right. It is really, really hard to be quiet and listen. No matter how old you are, it's hard to be quiet and listen. But, if you work at it, you can learn to listen. Listen to each other. And, listen to what God might want to say to you. Listen with your natural human ears. And, listen with your supernatural, “spiritual ears.”
Will you pray with me.
Precious Father, thank You for loving us. Thank You for teaching us that, if we will be quiet, we can listen to hear what You might wish to say to us through Your Word—the Bible—and through the still, small voice of Your Holy Spirit who lives inside our hearts.
We thank You that You have told us that if we will be still—if we will sit in quietness before You—we will know that You are God. Help us to learn to listen. We pray in Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen.