Have you ever been driving, then look around and think, “How did I get here?”
Have you ever looked around in your life and thought, “How did I get here?”
I talked about how we want a word from God, but often miss the way He speaks to us in a previous blog. Samuel knows all about that, too. He wasn’t driving and thinking about what was next on his to-do list when he heard from God. No, he was sleeping and probably going over all of his duties to be completed in the temple the following day.
Samuel was surprised when he heard his name being called, and thought it must be his teacher, Eli. He ran to Eli saying, “I’m here.”
To interject into Samuel’s story – how many times have we been called but thought it was a mistake? That surely we were not being asked to do something, whether we felt we were unworthy of the task or that we were unwilling to complete the task. We rationalize it away, convincing ourselves we didn’t really hear God speaking to us.
Anyway, Eli instructed Samuel to go back to sleep, probably thinking Samuel was having a dream or something. Kinda like when Grey calls me from his bed to tell me there’s a gorilla in his room.
But Samuel heard his name being called again and again. Finally Eli realized this was God calling Samuel, and told the boy to answer, saying “Speak, God. I’m your servant, ready to listen.”
The thing that stood out to me in studying this scripture is that Samuel’s initial thought was not that God was speaking to him. He was present and eagerly awaiting assignment from Eli. He was here.
But when I was reading this, God showed it to me with the word hear.
Hear, I am.
Not trying to be Yoda, but to emphasize the readiness to hear.
You can be here, but not hear. You may be showing up, be on the right committees, and placing yourself in the right places. You may be here, but not still not hear.
I love that God spoke to Samuel when he was sleeping. I think Samuel is a lot like us. He had lots to do during the day that required his time and attention. He had people counting on him. He was focused on his duties, and he was good at fulfilling them.
What he wasn’t good at, was listening to God. That may be a stretch, as it is indicated in the text that this encounter was the first time Samuel heard from God. It is weird when it first happens, and, like I said before, we try to rationalize it into things that are familiar. We really don’t have a context for how the Holy Spirit works in us, until it works in us.
So, maybe you’re here. You’re not sure how you got here. But you’re ready to hear. Speak, God, I am listening.
His voice is louder than the circumstances you’ve found yourself in. He’s louder than your shortcomings. He’s louder than your failed marriage and wayward kids. He’s louder than your addiction. He’s louder than the finances. He’s louder than the voices telling you that you’re not enough.
God is not waiting to speak to you when you’re better. He doesn’t need you to get your act together first or find Christian friends.
He just wants you to be here, ready to hear.
I know you’re busy. I know you aren’t sure if it was God telling you to do it or just your mind wandering. Maybe you’ve checked your day planner and there’s no time you can carve out to spend in your Bible. He’ll meet you in the middle of the night. He’ll be here … whether that’s while you’re sleeping in bed, riding to work, planting in your garden, or stocking shelves.
And when He speaks, say “Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.”
1 Samuel 3:1-10 “Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God.
Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did.
Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.” Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before.
So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”
Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”