In this passage, Samuel meets God for the first time as a boy. Visions were rare in those days so it must have been a surprise to Samuel when God spoke with him, as it turned out to be an important message! The story applies to our lives in many ways.
God had to call three times before Samuel recognised it was the voice of God. From this we see a bit of God’s personality in that he waited for Samuel to respond first before giving him the message. He displayed patience and understanding towards the young boy. He even understood that Samuel needed guidance from Eli to recognise it was God calling him.
In 1 Samuel 3:15, we see Samuel being too afraid to tell Eli about the vision. What was he afraid of? Did he think he was too young? Too much responsibility? Moses and Jeremiah also didn’t feel up to the tasks they were given (Jer. 1:6-8, Ex. 4:10) but God sent a swift reply for them to not be afraid and not use their inexperience as a reason to shy away from responsibility, as he was with them. Jonah was also afraid of the role he was given.
If we do receive a message, we should not shy away, but listen. Reading the Bible regularly, praying often, and attending church meetings all open up opportunities for God to speak to us. In addition, our church leaders have been appointed to guide us and have a lot of wisdom and experience, and we should be seeking advice regularly.
If you haven’t felt God speaking to you, then I encourage you continue to do what’s right in God’s eyes, just like Samuel was doing before his calling. Samuel’s life was dedicated to serving God; we can do the same by actively focusing on Christ’s example in the Gospels, and choosing not to conform to the world (Rom. 12:2). Our God is a patient God and if he has anything important to say to you, he will wait till he has your full attention! Following in Samuel’s footsteps, we should be responding regularly to God with,
‘Speak Lord, for your servant hears’.
Chris Aitken, The Church of God in Glasgow