3:1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. 3:2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3:3 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. 3:4 Then the LORD called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” 3:5 and 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. 3:6 The LORD called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 3:8 The LORD called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. 3:9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 3:10 Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 3:11 Then the LORD said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. 3:12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 3:13 For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 3:14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.” 3:15 Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 3:16 But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” He said, “Here I am.” 3:17 Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” 3:18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, “It is the LORD; let him do what seems good to him.” 3:19 As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 3:20 And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the LORD.
Summary – This is the well known story of the calling of Samuel the great prophet who later anointed David the King. God called, “Samuel, Samuel,” but Samuel did not know who was calling. Eli wisely guided him, knowing that the Lord was calling. Eli guided Samuel in how to respond to God. When Samuel listened to the Lord, He revealed the sad result of sin in Eli’s family – “because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.” When Samuel told this to Eli, Eli showed a faithful response, “It is the LORD; let him do what seems good to him.”
Insight – While the days of prophets like Samuel are past, since God’s Word is definitively recorded in the Bible, like Samuel, sometimes we do not know whether the Lord or some other voice is leading us. The example of Samuel here is that we may need the help of others, older and wiser believers, to discern this. Just as Eli helped Samuel properly respond to the Lord. The most important example for us here is that Samuel is faithful to the Lord. He was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.
Child’s Catechism – How did Samuel answer the Lord’s call? Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Discussion – After listening to His Word, has God ever called you to do something specific? What do you think God may be leading to you to do?
Prayer – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, like Samuel so long ago, give us minds to understand your truth, ears to hear your call to action and hearts to obey your Word and be faithful to the end. In Christ our Lord. Amen.