2006-04-04 - Samuel's Story
1 Samuel 3:1-10 (NET) Now the boy Samuel continued serving the Lord under Eli's supervision. Word from the Lord was rare in those days; revelatory visions were infrequent. 2 Eli's eyes had begun to fail, so that he was unable to see well. At that time he was lying down in his place, 3 and the lamp of God had not yet been extinguished. Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord as well; the ark of God was also there. 4 The Lord called to Samuel, and he replied, "Here I am!" 5 Then he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But Eli said, "I didn't call you. Go back and lie down." So he went back and lay down. 6 The Lord again called, "Samuel!" So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But Eli said, "I didn't call you, my son. 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 Then the Lord called Samuel a third time. So he got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me!" Eli then realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 9 So Eli said to Samuel, "Go back and lie down. When he calls you, say, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." So Samuel went back and lay down in his place. 10 Then the Lord came and stood nearby, calling as he had previously done, "Samuel! Samuel!" Samuel replied, "Speak, for your servant is listening!"
Samuel was dedicated to the Lord before birth. In fact, Hannah dedicated him before conception even. He, literally, grew up in church. Hannah gave him to Eli once she had weaned him. As a boy, verse one says Samuel served the Lord under Eli. Nevertheless, verse seven is quite clear - "Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the Lord had not spoken directly to him yet." (NCV) There was a lot of action in and around Samuel's life but no relation.
Like Samuel, I grew up with a lot of action about God in my life. I had what has been called in some circles jokingly a drug problem; I was drug to church every time the doors were open. I in fact really enjoyed it. I loved Sunday school throughout my childhood and teen years. I can remember wanting to be picked to teach on youth Sundays and stuff like that. I invited friends to Awanas. I liked reading the Bible, especially the apocalyptic portions. I mistook action for relation and did not discover the difference until God snuck up on me one night at a FCA meeting my freshman year of college.
Sadly, I am not alone in that. A lot of us just have lots of action. Maybe our parents brought us up in church. We give to charities. We may even be regular attendees at a local church, or even teachers, elders, and deacons at that church. But, despite all the action, until we speak one-on-one with God. there's no relation.
As with Samuel, He must call us. If he ain't calling, we cannot answer. If Jesus isn't at the door, we cannot invite him in. Genesis 6:3 tells us the spirit will not always strive with man. Jesus says, "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation." (Mark 3:29) Other warnings about this can be found in Ephesians 4:30, 1Thessalonians 5:19, and Hebrews 10:29. I know from my own life experiences that the tugs at my conscience and the knocks on my heart got further and further apart as I blew them off. I have heard the same thing in the testimony of other Christians. How long has it been since there was a tug by God on your heart - a knock at the door? Has it been a long time? Then pray for a knock to come again, and answer it.
Eli could not answer for Samuel. Eli could tell him how to respond, but he could not answer for him. I cannot accept Jesus for you. You must make the commitment. You must form the relation. God may be knocking right now. Please answer.
God, thank you for calling out to me so many years ago.
Thank you for the strength and courage to answer. Give me a passion for others
to show them how to answer. If anyone reads this that is not your child,
I hope today will be the day, that you call their name and they too respond.
Here I am Lord; your servant is listening. - Amen
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted