“And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’
And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant hears.’”
1 Samuel 3:10
Reading through this passage this morning of the Lord’s calling of His prophet, Samuel, I was reminded of a devotion I wrote several years ago considering the unique ways in which the Lord revealed Himself in His calling of each prophet.
The devotion I’m referencing is from February 2012 (pre-blog), so I am going to begin by simply copying it in for us as a foundation to what God laid on my heart this morning. Because rather than something entirely new, I believe the Lord is building on what He revealed those years ago.
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.”
I love the assurances that God gives His prophets when He calls them. In some instances, as with Isaiah and Ezekiel, He shows them His glory. In others, like Jeremiah, He assures them with words such as, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). Knowing the sovereignty and the magnificent grace of our Lord, it isn’t a far reach to believe that He specifically chose these words and revelations for the individuals He called to carry His words to the people. He knew what they would face. He knew the difficult and challenging prophecies that they would declare. These assurances, these displays of His holiness, prepared and emboldened them for the road ahead.
These weren’t remarkable men. It was God who did remarkable things through them. They are known because God’s Spirit moved them, God’s words came to them, and they obeyed His calling no matter the cost. This should give us confidence in God’s calling for us. It may look like something that we feel entirely unprepared or unqualified for, but it is not about our qualifications. It is all about God, His glory, and the amazing things He can accomplish with a vessel that is willing to be whatever He desires. He is a perfect God, and He has a perfect plan with flawless timing. We can trust Him in this. He knew you before you were formed in the womb. He knows your every detail. And He knows the wondrous things He can do through you. Trust this marvelous God that we serve. Recall the love that He has poured out for us and revealed in the sacrifice of His Son. His purposes for your life will fill you with joy and satisfaction like nothing else, and He will prove Himself faithful and strong for you as you follow His leading.
Considering these varied callings, perceiving them as unique, personal preparation, perhaps this is what we see in Samuel’s story as well. A boy raised in the tent of meeting, working alongside the priest, Eli, as well as the priest’s sons who were wicked men.
The Lord’s first words to Samuel not only establish him as a prophet, receiving and declaring the word of the Lord, but perhaps also prepare this young man for what he is about to witness: judgment on the sons of Eli for their evil practices and continual blasphemy. Because the Lord explains the reason. Which emphasizes to Samuel both the Lord’s holiness and the gravity of their wrongdoing, and also provides assurance that the actions of the Lord here are just and are not given lightly.
The Lord is assuring Samuel of His character, that He is just and righteous. There is reason for the judgment coming to Eli’s house, and it does not need to cause trepidation in Samuel, only recognition of the Lord’s holiness, inspiring a holy, reverent fear that is right and good.
In this, we can see the Lord’s compassion, wisdom, and understanding. He knew what Samuel was about to witness and the ways in which it could impact him. The Lord knew what Samuel needed to be able to stand firm through that experience and not lose sight of who his God is. He knew what Samuel needed in order to not shrink from God’s calling.
He knows what we need as well. And His compassion, wisdom, and understanding flow in the ways He reveals Himself to us, if we will listen to Him. Samuel needed to respond with a listening ear before the Lord could speak into his life; perhaps that serves as a reminder for us as well. To seek Him. To humble ourselves. To be continually sensitive for His still, small voice calling to us, and respond, “Speak, for your servant hears,” quieting all to listen.
Whatever our path holds, wherever the Lord leads, He will give us what we need in order to trust Him here. At the same time, in His great wisdom and love for us, He will veil certain aspects to build and strengthen our faith as we continue to seek His face and learn that when we wait for Him and look to Him, He will come through in perfect timing and in His ways that resound with His glory and grace.