The prophet Samuel really didn’t have much of a chance to be a little boy. You may remember his mother Hannah took him to live with the priest Eli when he was small. She dedicated him to God because she had asked for a child for so long and God heard her prayer. As a child, Samuel dressed in an ephod just like a priest would and he carried out ministry duties under the supervision of Eli.
Eli was grandfather-age by this time and he and Samuel actually lived in the temple. When it was time for bed, Eli slept in his assigned bedroom, but Samuel slept in the temple where the ark of the covenant was placed – God’s presence resided there. One evening when Samuel lay down to sleep, he heard his name. He ran to Eli to see what he wanted. It happened a second and a third time until Eli said, “Go and lie down and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord for your servant is listening.’” 1 Samuel 3:9.
This time when Samuel heard his name he responded the way Eli told him to. Scripture says of young Samuel, “he did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” This statement got me thinking about when Samuel came to “know the Lord”. It was when the Word of the Lord was revealed to him and he had a clear understanding of where it was coming from. Samuel was dedicated to God by his parents and physically given to the ministry. He dressed like one of God’s people, talked like one of God’s people, and carried out duties every day for God. He was on first-name basis with the highest priest in the land. Samuel was even in the very presence of God, but he did not yet “know” him. Like Samuel, I think many believers today can identify.
Growing up, I had some things in common with Samuel. As an infant, my parents dedicated me to the Lord, I was always involved with church, and I knew all my pastor’s as well as any friend. I looked the part, I talked the part and I dressed the part. But my calling and awakening came when the Word of the Lord was revealed to me. And when the calling came, much like Samuel, at first I mistook it for another voice; an earthly voice. I wasn’t accustomed to hearing the voice of the Lord in my life and so I assumed I was hearing something or someone else.
1 Samuel tells us that “in those days the word of the Lord was rare”. But in our day, the word of the Lord is everywhere. You probably have half a dozen Bibles in your home. That is where the Word of the Lord will begin to be revealed to you. To know the Word of the Lord is to know the Lord. He IS His Word! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1. We cannot hope to rely on our church affiliation or how much we appear to know the Lord. Get to know God by allowing Him to reveal himself to you through His Word!