As we continue in our walk through 1 Samuel, we find ourselves today studying about the calling of Samuel. There are three main things I want to focus on from this chapter today.
1. God Initiates
I believe that God has called me to spend my life serving Him in vocational ministry, and this passage caused me to compare my own calling to that of Samuel. It seems that God is both calling Samuel to Himself in salvation (see verse 7) and to serve Him as prophet (see verse 10). In both circumstances, it is important to see that God is the one who is initiating. When God called me to Himself, it was not because I had done anything to deserve it; it was because Jesus died for my sin and God graciously extended the gift of grace to me. When He began calling me to ministry, it was not something that I was expecting. I did not see myself as a leader or having any really gifting in that area, and for a long time I doubted my call for those very reasons until God finally broke through to me to show me that both salvation and service to Him does not have as much to do with us as we think (or wish) it does.
God was direct in initiating a relationship with Samuel. He called out to him three times in the middle of the night and then spoke directly to him what He wanted Samuel to do. We need to realize that God is still initiating with us today. God has provided a way for you to have a relationship with Him though Christ, and whether you feel called towards vocational ministry or not, you can have confidence that God has given you a purpose—to glorify Him in everything that you do. My purpose in ministry and your purpose in teaching, being a stay-at-home mom, being a student, selling tractors, etc. is the same—to glorify God and make disciples.
2. Samuel Responds
I love Samuel’s heart here: his first response to the call of God is not to tell God how wrong He is for choosing him; it is a simple acknowledgement of his attitude towards God. “Speak, for your servant hears.” We would do well today to realize who we actually are—unworthy servants to the Kingdom of a magnificently worthy God. Unfortunately, we are often quick to forget whose kingdom we actually belong to. To daily remind yourself that your purpose is for God’s Kingdom and not your own is a great first step in realizing God’s purpose for your life.
3. Eli Accepts
One of the first tests that God gives Samuel as prophet is to let Eli know that his house will be punished. Pretty tough news to deliver to someone who he was so close to. But those who are called by God must deliver His message with boldness. And Eli was a man who loved God and wanted Samuel to follow in obedience. To this news, Eli’s response is: “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.” (v. 18) Eli was gracious at the decision made by God. Eli recognized the wickedness of his sons. He had attempted to rebuke the sinfulness of His sons but to no avail. The example that we can emulate from Eli is his peace and trust that He has in God and in His plan. This is clearly a mark of a man who was more concerned about the glory of God than of himself.
By: Graham Withers