Samuel was one of the great prophets of the Old Testament. His mother prayed for years to have a child and promised to give him to the Lord if she did. The Lord blessed her with a son and when Samuel was old enough she left him with Eli the priest at the house of the Lord. So Samuel grew up ministering before the Lord.
“The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 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. Then the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’ 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.
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.’
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
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. 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.
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
The Lord then revealed to Samuel that He was going to judge Eli and his sons for their unrepentant sin. The next morning Eli questioned Samuel about what the Lord had told to Samuel. At first Samuel did not want to tell him, but Eli persisted and so he told Eli. Eli accepted Samuel’s answer and indeed everything Samuel said eventually came true (1 Samuel 4).
1 Samuel 3 ends with this statement,
“The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.” – 1 Samuel 3:21
Samuel went on to lead Israel for many years and eventually anointed both Saul and David as kings over Israel.
“Speak, Lord, your servant is listening” could be used to describe Samuel’s attitude not only during this scene, but His entire ministry. Samuel listened and did as the Lord commanded him. Samuel was a powerful man of God not because He had great abilities on his own, but because he listened to the Lord.
1 Samuel 3:21 shows that God revealed Himself to Samuel through His word. We also have the Word of God, through which the Lord will reveal Himself to us.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”- Hebrews 4:12
Scripture contains the word of God which is active and alive. It is God speaking. Each time we come to read scripture and spend time in prayer our attitude should be the same as Samuel.
“Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”
The Lord will reveal Himself to us and lead and guide us through His Word and the Holy Spirit in our lives.
One of the great joys of our faith is listening to the Lord reveal His heart for us.
“We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
‘What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived’—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
The “the things God has prepared for those who love him” are beyond anything a “human mind has conceived” and they have been prepared “before time began”. God reveals these things to us through His Spirit working in us and through the Word.
When we take the time and attitude to come to scripture and listen to His will and plan for us, to what He has done for us, through us, and in us, it is too marvelous for words. He will at times call us to what may be difficult in the present, but the ultimate result will be glory.
That we have the very words of God to us is a spectacular blessing that we often take for granted. Let us take a step back and recognize the beauty and power of what is before us and to read the Word and spend time in prayer listening.
“Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”