3 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 house 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 A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” 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.”
(1 Samuel 3:1-10 NIV)
Listening is a vital part of our relationship with the Lord.
God gives us His Word as one of the primary ways He speaks to us. As we read His Word, we must also listen to His heart, not just gather information or construct our “to-do” list.
Some will debate that God does not speak audibly today as He did to Samuel; some will argue that He does. We will not debate that point in this space.
We will, however, call out the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and his prompting in our hearts, to lead us and guide us. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, our advocate, and God living in us, in John 14. Listen to Jesus’ words:
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
(Jesus speaking, John 14:25-27 NIV)
The Lord speaks to us and calls us to Himself through His Word, and His Holy Spirit living in us as followers of Christ. May we learn to listen to His heart toward us, His desire to have a deep and abiding relationship with us, to be our Savior, yes, but also to be our teacher, and our best friend.
May we learn to embrace all of the relationship that God offers us, and that our heart most deeply desires as well.