1 Samuel 3:1-9
By J. DANA TRENT
Thousands of messages inundate us daily. It’s no wonder we sometimes feel we don’t know God. The constant noise that surrounds us can muffle even God’s powerful voice. It often takes repeated attempts and the wisdom of others to help us discern our Creator’s call.
First Samuel is set in the early life of Israel, a precarious time when the “word of the Lord was rare.” Though the Israelites had known strong leaders like Moses, tribal wars threatened to destroy the nation because “all the people did what was right in their own eyes” (Judg. 21:25).
Samuel is now a young boy. His mother, Hannah, had dedicated him to the Lord as soon as she weaned him (1 Sam. 1:27-28). As Christians we dedicate ourselves to God’s service through baptism, which can occur at different ages based on the tradition.
The Lord calls to young Samuel several times before Eli realizes what is happening and tells Samuel how to respond. As baptized Christians, how many times do we miss God’s call? How many times do we mistake God’s voice for a human voice? Like Samuel’s call, our spiritual purpose is not necessarily loud or disruptive; it may be a quiet murmur in the night. We often find it difficult not only to hear our call but to understand its meaning. Our loved ones and colleagues can help us discern God’s purpose, just as Eli instructed Samuel to return to his place and tell God he was listening. Though we may miss God’s call at first, God continues to stand before us until we answer.
God, help us learn to respond, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Amen.