‘The lamp of God had not yet gone out’ – Samuel 3:3
Samuel’s Calling: ‘Here I am’
The passage in the bible about Samuel’s calling has a very clear pattern to it. By the third time God has called Samuel’s name you barely need to read the words to predict what is about to be said. It is then ironic that, for Samuel and Eli (who is also present at the time), God’s call is very much unexpected and unpredictable.
The unexpected nature of God’s calls contradicts the regular pattern of life.
“Here I am.”
You may recognise these words from the start of yesterday’s post. Samuel says exactly the same thing as Moses. His attention has been caught, but God’s call is so unexpected that Samuel thinks it is Eli calling him. Eli replies that he did not call and tells Samuel to go back and lie down. They both are not expecting God’s call and so go back to bed.
God knows us all personally. He knows every single person in the world by name. And yet, Samuel knows so little of God that he again replies “Here I am,” and goes to Eli thinking it was him calling. Eli replies in the same way as before and tells him to go back and lie down. Who else apart from Eli could be calling Samuel? Eli was the only person nearby. After all, ‘The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.’ (Samuel 3:7)
This was the third time God called to Samuel, and finally Eli realises it is God speaking to Samuel. He tells him to go back and lie down and listen when God speaks. Although Eli is nearly blind, God has shone a light on what is happening. My favourite line in this passage is: ‘The lamp of God had not yet gone out’. Even though his sight was failing, God’s light is eternal and never stops shining.
Whatever shadows hang over us in our life blocking our positive vision, God will always be there lighting the way.
At last Samuel receives the call from God. However unexpected, God was persistent and finally had Samuel’s full attention. As the passage ends, it is only really starting for Samuel. He is ready to listen and respond to what God wants him to do. In our repetitive lives, God grabs our attention by showing us unusual or unexpected things. Samuel ends by saying:
“Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Will we open our hearts and listen to what God is trying to tell us today?