By PASTOR MARK MOLINA
Living Waters Church
Last week, we saw that God called Samuel by name. The first few times he heard his name called, Samuel thought that it was Eli the priest calling him. But when he ran to Eli, he told him that he didn’t call him and instructed him to go back to bed. When we hear the call of God for the first the time, we often respond like this. What? Who?
It was natural for Samuel to go to Eli, after all he was the priest over Israel at that time. We see two things here: a young boy who immediately responded and an old man who only wanted to sleep. One was eager; the other seemed tired and disinterested.
A relationship with our Heavenly Father is a process. It is ongoing. We can start off on our journey of faith with great eagerness. Then like Eli, we can lose any desire but to survive the struggle and strain of our area of service. It did not have to be this way for Eli, but this is what Eli chose. He chose a place that was separate and away from the presence of God. So God began to look for another.
“Again the Lord called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ ‘My son,’ Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down,’” (1 Samuel 3:6 NIV).
We see the ready response of Samuel once again – Samuel got up! When God calls us we have to be willing to get up and go! Others may tell you to go back to your place, lie down and be quiet. This is more of a reflection on their relationship with God; it has nothing to do with you.
“Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him,” (1 Samuel 3:7 NIV). It is a natural part of the journey and process to ask, “Is this really God calling me?”
When God called my wife and I down here to the RGV, it was the same way for us. Lord, is this really you? Leave Oregon and go to South Texas? What? Are you sure? I did what Samuel did; I went to my Pastor, my spiritual authority, and spoke with him. Unlike Eli, my Pastor encouraged me to do all that God had put on our hearts. My Pastor has not lost the ability to discern the voice of God from the voice of man. He cared enough to “get up from his place” to pray in the will of God for our lives. He showed me how to respond!
“A third time the Lord called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy,” (1 Samuel 3:8 NIV). Finally! Eli at last recognized the voice he once knew so well. His response was not, “Let me go with you and we will see what the Lord has to say.” We will see he gave him the wisdom he needed in the moment, but Eli never got up nor moved. He just went back to sleep. This is why God was replacing and removing him. He had become nothing more than a lazy, old man in his relationship with God. Even when God was speaking all he wanted to do was sleep. How do we respond when we know God is trying to speak to us?
“So Eli told Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”’ So Samuel went and laid down in his place. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening,’” (1 Samuel 3:9-10 NIV).
Now Samuel finally knows that it is the Lord calling him. He answers with, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” When we know God is calling us, how do we respond? May we all never hesitate to respond the same way: “speak, for Your servant is listening.”