1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20
The boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli; it was rare for the Lord to speak in those days; visions were uncommon. One day, it happened that Eli was lying down in his room. His eyes were beginning to grow dim; he could no longer see. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying in the sanctuary of the Lord where the ark of God was, when the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’ Then he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ Eli said, ‘I did not call. Go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down. Once again the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ He replied, ‘I did not call you, my son; go back and lie down.’ Samuel had as yet no knowledge of the Lord and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. Once again the Lord called, the third time. He got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ Eli then understood that it was the Lord who was calling the boy, and he said to Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if someone calls say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The Lord then came and stood by, calling as he had done before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’
Samuel grew up and the Lord was with him and let no word of his fall to the ground. All Israel from Dan to Beersheba came to know that Samuel was accredited as a prophet of the Lord.
On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.
In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.
“Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”
I have had quite a few experiences where I believe I heard the voice of God.
The first came when I was feeling quite anxious and had been mulling over my concerns for quite a few days. I remember visiting a friend of mine at her office and I was enjoying the comfort of the room when I heard it: “Don’t be afraid”. It was a soft voice, and what I felt was warmth in my heart. I felt comforted.
The next time was at a silent retreat in Malaysia. I was meditating on the Beatitudes when Jesus turned to me and spoke with me. It was about something that I was not even aware of. It was a few weeks after that, when I realised that the conversation I had with my Lord Jesus was prophetic. It was a beautiful experience!
In today’s first reading, Samuel heard God’s call but did not know it was God that called him. More importantly, he responded thinking it was Eli who had summoned him. While he was ‘wrong’ in that sense, the fact is that he took action and responded. Imagine if he had just ignored the ‘callings’ and just continued to lay in his bed. God rewarded Samuel for his faithfulness by making him His prophet.
Unlike Samuel, too many times we hear/feel/sense the Holy Spirit but choose not to respond. I know that there have been times when I have chosen to ignore the ‘little voice’ that prompts me to do or say something or be there for somebody. Yet when I do act on these promptings, I often find that there was indeed something positive that came out of it.
Let us pray that we are able to overcome our disbelief and pride and be open to God’s constant ‘little voice’.
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer: Father God, We pray that we may open our ears and our hearts and be able to respond to You.
Thanksgiving: Father God, thank You for showing what it means for us to be open to You. Thank You for giving us an example in Samuel to follow.