It was one of my favorite stories as a child. Young Samuel has just gone to bed when he hears a voice call his name. He runs to Eli, who has also turned in for the night. Eli assures Samuel he didn’t call for him and sends the lad back to bed. (See 1 Samuel 3)
The second time Eli might have been a bit peeved, but responds kindly—this was a new situation for the boy. Mumbling under his breath something about not being a nurse maid, he instructs Samuel to get back in bed.
When Samuel appears the third time, I imagine Eli’s immediate response was about to be less than kind—when it suddenly dawns on him Who is calling the young child’s name…God!
Words get sucked back, and Eli wakes up enough to tell Samuel exactly what he should do if the voice calls his name again, say this, “Speak, Lord. I’m ready to listen.”
Are you ready? Being ready isn’t always convenient, or easy, or even welcome. But I believe it’s important to listen…and obey.
I believe the voice of God can come as silently as a nudge, a gut check, or a hug around your heart.
I also believe the voice of God can sound like the voice of a friend, a spouse, or maybe even a pastoral leader.
Sometimes I’m listening hard, sometimes I’m asleep, sometimes I’m not even paying attention.
At times I try to pretend I’m too busy to be bothered. While other times I’m afraid so I fill my ears with other noise—like a child covering her ears and singing loudly: Lalalalalalala.
But I need to listen, especially if I identify myself as a servant.
And I need listen, to hear and obey.
”Go ahead Master. I’m listening. What do you have for me today?”