Hearing an Invitation

January 19, 2022

1 Samuel 3.1-10

1 The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.

One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

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.”

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

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. 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 lay down in his place.

10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

According to the historian Josephus, Samuel was about 11-years-old at this time.  That makes a lot of sense in the events of the story.  12 was the age where a boy becomes a man.  The time when he would then be responsible for himself and move into his work.  As Samuel is becoming a man he hears the call of God to him to follow him.  And once he understands who is speaking to him, he is able to listen to the call.

The audible voice of God, while not often heard by people, comes to Samuel.  The voice of God comes to us calling us to follow as well.  Sometimes it is in words we are sure we have heard, and might have.  Sometimes in the words we have read.  It may be in the words someone else speaks to us, calling us to follow, or calling us to serve/follow in a particular way or place.  We are still called and invited to follow.

The invitation from God to follow is not just once, it is all through life.  We might only think of the initial call to follow, as we hear with Samuel today.  But notice that there are two books in the Bible with his name attached and with actions by and to Samuel interspersed.  He will take part in the calling of kings to serve, particularly Saul and David.  God will lead him to bringing others to serve in that office.

The invitation to follow for us is not just that first call where we hear the words of God that we belong to him.  That is the starting point.  He invites us to have life with him.  And then he invites us deeper and deeper into relationship that gives understanding, opportunity for service, certainty of faith, and so much more.  The call continues into life that we are God’s people in the grace of Jesus.

The invitation continues.  And we continue to respond as did Samuel, “Speak, for your servants are listening.”

SongSpeak, O Lord


We praise you, our Father, for making your divine truth real to us in Jesus Christ.  We ask that what we do, how we live, and the way we love, may increasingly become a worthy response.  Amen.