Samuel—The Little Boy Who Heard God’s Voice #1:
“Then the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see, and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, that the Lord called Samuel.” (1 Samuel 3:1-4a).
Let me give you a little bit of background to this story. In chapter one of First Samuel, a barren woman named Hannah was praying to the Lord, overwhelmed and frustrated, weeping in anguish. She told the Lord that if He gave her a male child, she would dedicate him to the Lord all the days of his life. The Lord was gracious and granted her favour, and gave her a son. She named him Samuel, because I have asked for him from the Lord. “Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her…and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young.” (1 Samuel 1:24). This is where we are as we enter into the third chapter of the book of First Samuel. The child Samuel was ministering to the Lord before the priest, Eli, although Eli’s own sons were corrupt, and did not know the Lord.
During this time period of history, the word of the Lord was rare, or precious, as the King James Version of the Bible translates it. There was no widespread revelation – no open visions. No doubt this was due in part to the wickedness of the sons of the priest, Eli. Three times in the first couple of chapters of First Samuel we see a contrast between Eli’s wicked sons, and Samuel. “Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord. But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod.” (1 Samuel 2:17-18). Even though Samuel was just a boy, and even though those around him were doing what was wrong in the sight of the Lord, Samuel did what was right. This sets the stage for the visitation of the Lord in Samuel’s life.
First of all, we see that Eli was lying down—sleeping, comfortable—in his place, not in the Lord’s place. Eli’s eyes had begun to grow dim—he chose to be blind to the sins of his sons, which perhaps was part of the reason for the cause of his physical blindness as well. But the young boy Samuel was lying down in the tabernacle where the ark of God was. The ark of God speaks of the presence of the Lord. The shekinah glory—the manifest presence of the Lord—dwelled in the tabernacle over the ark (between the cherubims). So Samuel was laying down in the presence of the Lord. It was here that the Lord first spoke to Samuel, and note that Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him (1 Sam. 3:7).
Our God is a God who speaks. He is a God who delights to reveal Himself to us. And yet sometimes, because we are so busy, we don’t take time to be still and wait in His presence, we don’t recognize His voice when He speaks to us. God is always speaking. The Lord Jesus gave us a promise that says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27). If you are a Christian, then you are one of the sheep of the Great Shepherd. Today, I want to challenge you to be still and know that He is God. Get alone in the secret place of prayer until you hear His voice, and allow Him to speak to you. I pray, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” (Eph. 1:17). Lord, open our eyes and ears to see you and know you better, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Pastor Chris Jordan