“The boy Samuel was serving God under Eli’s direction. This was at a time when the revelation of God was rarely heard or seen. One night Eli was sound asleep (his eyesight was very bad—he could hardly see). It was well before dawn; the sanctuary lamp was still burning. Samuel was still in bed in the Temple of God, where the Chest of God rested. Then God called out, ‘Samuel, Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Yes? I’m here.’ Then he ran to Eli saying, ‘I heard you call. Here I am.’ Eli said, ‘I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.’ And so he did. God called again, ‘Samuel, Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, ‘I heard you call. Here I am.’ Again Eli said, ‘Son, I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.’ (This all happened before Samuel knew God for himself. It was before the revelation of God had been given to him personally.) God called again, ‘Samuel!’—the third time! Yet again Samuel got up and went to Eli, ‘Yes? I heard you call me. Here I am.’ That’s when it dawned on Eli that God was calling the boy. So Eli directed Samuel, ‘Go back and lie down. If the voice calls again, say, ‘Speak, God. I’m your servant, ready to listen’.’ Samuel returned to his bed. Then God came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen’.” 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (MSG)
When you were born, you were given a name. Your name identifies you and allows people to recognize you. When someone actually says your name, it causes you to respond. Instead of saying, “Hey, You,” the act of saying someone’s name evokes something within them. It takes away the generalities and makes it very personal and individual.
Samuel was a young boy living in a time of the Israelites’ history when God was silent. People were not accustomed to hearing the voice of God. As Samuel was living in the temple, someone called out his name in the middle of the night. To wake him from his sleep, it must have been more than a whisper. So, Samuel did the one thing that he knew to do: he went to Eli, the priest in the Temple of God. Three times this occurred, and Eli responded the same way with the exception of the last call. Something within Eli remembered the voice of God speaking to people, and he knew that God was calling out to Samuel. Samuel’s ear was tuned in to responding to his name, but he hadn’t yet tuned in to the frequency at which God was speaking. The posture of Samuel’s heart was to respond to his name, and God knew that. God knew that the life Samuel was living was in alignment with God’s purposes. As Samuel tuned in to God’s call, he had an encounter that changed his life. God is calling out to you, as well. He does not speak in generalizations; he does not see you as a number. God sees you specifically, individually, and he is calling you by name. But the location of Samuel’s encounter reveals something about God’s voice. He didn’t come to speak to him in the middle of the day when there was busyness and noise from so many different people. He came in a still moment, when the gift of silence turned into a divine moment. Also, Samuel’s location played an interesting role in his encounter with God. He was at the Temple where He was close to God’s presence on a regular basis. I believe that God still wants to speak to you. But, the posture of our heart has to be of readiness and availability to hear from God. Are you spending time in God’s presence? Does your heart desire to hear the voice of God? If so, lean into His presence, because he is calling you by name.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.