By Danya M. Jordan
“Here I am; You called me.” It’s a scriptural response and passage you may have heard before, but I just noticed five words of this profound Bible story I had never paid attention to before.
“The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. ..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.
God called him again. 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. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’” –1 Samuel 3:1, 4-11 NIV
Did you notice it? The Lord came and stood there, calling as at other times…That phrase hit me hard.
God talks with us all the time, yet we are so distracted, we do not listen. Or we may think it’s someone or something else instead of God. It took Eli to prepare Samuel to really listen the next time the Lord “came and stood there” and called him.
Also, how many times did the Lord call Samuel’s name? TWICE. It is even more significant when the Lord calls your name twice. Almost like when your parent called you by your first AND middle name. J
Other examples of this emphasis are: Genesis 22 when Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac to the Lord. “But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’” –Genesis 22:11 ESV
When the Lord was calling Moses in Exodus 3, not only did He provide a pyrotechnic Light display with a Burning Bush, he called him. “When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’” –Exodus 3:4 ESV
One other example is in the New Testament when Jesus came to visit Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Martha was busy and Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, remember? “But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’” –Luke 10:41-42 ESV.
The Lord sweetly calls us, emphasizing our names, and He calls as at other times. Samuel was blessed to have Eli help focus his attention and be ready for God’s next calling.
How often do we blow off the Eli’s in our lives and dismiss their insight?
Who is an Eli in your life, who can help you focus on God, preparing you to listen to Him calling you? The Lord is talking to you, calling your name, calling as at other times. Listen to God, and listen to your “Eli”, so you can listen to Him.
Thank God for the intentional times to slow us down and help us hear the Lord speaking. “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
–“And the Lord said to Samuel: ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.’ …The Lord was will Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord.” –1 Samuel 3: 11, 19-20 NIV
–“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” –Psalm 46:10 NIV
–What will you do this week to quiet yourself, focus, and listen? Shhh… can you hear Him calling as at other times?`
–How many times has the Lord called your name? What will you say?