Summary: Samuel was ready to hear from God. He had a servant’s heart (practice), he was in the tabernacle (proximity) and he was willing to listen (position).
READY TO HEAR FROM GOD
Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background. A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office. The young man filled out his form and sat down with the several other applicants in the waiting area. After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified. Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled.” The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!” The employer said, “I’m sorry, but all the time you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code: ‘If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did so the job is his.”
We live in a world that is full of busyness and clatter, like that office. People are distracted and unable to hear the still, small voice of God as he speaks to them. What about you? Are you tuned in to God’s voice? Do you hear him when he speaks to you?
1 Sam 3:1 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."
Samuel was an answer to prayer. The background of his birth is found in the first chapter:
1 Sam 1:10 In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. 11 And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head."
Samuel, like Samson who lived a few hundred years earlier, was set apart from birth to be a Nazirite. His birth was also miraculous. He was special. Even though he was dedicated to the Lord and served at the tabernacle, he did not know God. This can happen in the church today.
Samuel was so close and yet so far away. Maybe you can relate to that. You can be dedicated to God as a child, raised in the church, attend Sunday school. You can spend your life surrounded by God’s word and His people but not have a personal relationship with him.