There are times when we as followers of YHWH may hear from the LORD, but it is easy to rationalize or expect that it is not the LORD calling. Samuel experienced this early in his walk with the LORD. Thankfully, Eli was able to help coach him on how to listen to the LORD. Samuel was also concerned about sharing what he heard from the LORD, and Eli helped with this also. Clearly Eli had some faults in his walk with the LORD, as we have read from the preceding chapters of 1 Samuel. However, the LORD was still able to use him to help prepare a young man to become a great prophet. Samuel was able to learn from his elder even though his elder was far from perfect, in fact had some glaring flaws.
The LORD will not speak to all of us in the same way he spoke to Samuel. However, when we feel like he is speaking to us, whether in audible voice or through the written word or through other people, let us be still and come humbly before him with an attitude to listen and invite him to speak to us more clearly. Let us ask him to help us understand his direction and his heart for whatever matter lies before us.
Notice that Samuel’s prayer was not complicated, but quite simple. It was simple and very genuine. He did not need an elaborate prayer to engage the LORD.
The Prophetic Call to Samuel
1Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.
2It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), 3and 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, 4that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he 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. 6The LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” 7Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. 8So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. 9And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” 11The LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12“In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13“For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. 14“Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
15So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17He said, “What is the word that He spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the words that He spoke to you.” 18So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the LORD; let Him do what seems good to Him.”
19Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail. 20All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD. 21And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, because the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.