Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
—1 Samuel 3:7
I am presently serving with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in Kona, Hawaii. We have 22,000 staff around the world serving voluntarily. How can one mission recruit so many volunteers? The co-founder of YWAM, Darlene Cunningham, says the key is hearing the voice of God. When someone hears God calling them to work for him, they are willing to make great sacrifices. This is a foundational teaching for the mission, and it is reflected in a book titled Is That Really You, God? written by the other founder, Loren Cunningham.
We see in Samuel’s life that hearing God’s voice is something to be learned. Samuel was being mentored by Eli to be a priest in the temple. He learned about ceremonial washings, food laws, prayers, and reading the Law. His training would also have included offering sacrifices of sheep, goats, bulls, and other animals. But in all this training Samuel had not learned to hear God’s voice.
Three times God called Samuel, but Samuel thought it was Eli who was calling him. So Samuel went to Eli, and eventually Eli realized that the Lord was calling Samuel. So he instructed Samuel to say, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” In this way Samuel was mentored to know the Lord and the power of his Word. And God used Samuel in powerful ways to lead his people as a prophet of the Lord.
Lord Jesus, speak to my heart. Prompt me to listen and obey. By your Spirit, guide us to hear your call today and to serve you faithfully. Amen.
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