God Speaks to Samuel
Let’s read from the third chapter of I Samuel 3:1, “Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli, and the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.” It is interesting that the writer would say that the Word of the LORD was rare. God was not speaking much in that day because the hearts of the people were far from Him. I have heard people comment, “It doesn’t seem like the Lord is speaking, and when I read the Word it’s not living and real to me.” Number one, when our hearts are not open to God and the things of God, and we really don’t want to listen, then God doesn’t speak that much. Secondly, when God knows we aren’t going to obey what He says, He is not obligated to speak to us.
God’s Word was rare in those days because the priesthood was polluted and the people were being led astray. God began to speak to Samuel, but Samuel didn’t yet know the Lord in a real way. God called to Samuel, “Samuel, Samuel”. Samuel said, “Here am I”, but he thought it was Eli who was speaking to him. The Lord was speaking to Samuel, yet Samuel didn’t recognize it was the Lord speaking to him. The Lord continued to call out to Samuel, and Samuel kept going to Eli asking, “Didn’t you call me?” Finally Eli got the picture that it was probably the Lord who was calling Samuel. He instructed Samuel, “Samuel, if you hear that again, it must be the Lord speaking to you, so just say, ‘Speak Lord, Thy servant hears’.” God called Samuel again and Samuel responded as Eli had instructed him, “Speak Lord, Thy servant hears.”
Samuel was telling the Lord that he was ready to listen to what He had to say. He was saying, “Speak, Lord. I am Your servant. I am here to do whatever You want me to do.” I believe those are the two conditions for hearing God speak. Number one, you need an ear to hear, and number two, a heart to obey and to do what God wants done. Samuel did not know the Lord, but he was in the process of learning to recognize the voice of God. When Samuel said, “Speak, Lord, for Thy Servant hears”, this indicated he had an ear to hear, and a heart to obey what God was speaking to Him.