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Chapter Three (ESV)
1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.
2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own 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, and he said, “Here I am!” 5 and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.
6 And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”
- Some scholars believe Samuel was a teenager when the events of this passage occurred. He had been dedicated to the tabernacle and ministered under Eli the priest since very young. God chose to speak to a young person at this time, instead of Eli, who was much older and had the actual position of priest. Samuel heard but didn’t recognize it was God’s voice.
- Does hearing God’s calling so clearly seem possible? How do I distinguish between his voice and the other voices in my life? Samuel needed Eli’s guidance for this. What people around me could help me discern when God is trying to communicate with me and what he’s saying?
Often, the most effective way to hear God’s voice is to still our minds and quiet our hearts for a considerable amount of time. Set aside twenty minutes in a quiet place and make myself comfortable. Invite God to communicate with me. Don’t read or pray. Just sit and listen, bringing my mind back if it wanders.
Sometime in the next week, schedule another twenty minutes of silence and once again listen and wait for God to speak to me. Don’t give up. This practice will pay off.