Then the LORD said to Samuel, "See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. (1 Samuel 3:11 NRSV)

Young Samuel heard the voice of God. He was in the service of the prophet Eli. He was still a boy--but a boy whose mother had consecrated him to God. Eli's sons had proven unfit to wear their father's mantle. That is not unusual. Ministry is not something that can be inherited. It is a calling, a vocation. The word comes from the Latin, VOCARE. A voice is involved--a distinct inner voice that must be obeyed.

Samuel heard that voice. He was lying down. It was early in the evening. He heard a voice, "Samuel! Samuel!" Being the obedient child he was, Samuel replied, "Here I am!" and ran to see why Eli needed him. Eli said, "Samuel, I didn't call for you. Now, go back to bed." Again the voice called, "Samuel!" Again he rushed back to Eli's room. "Here I am," he said, "for you called for me." "I didn't call for you," Samuel retorted, "Go back to bed."

A third time the voice called, "Samuel!" and a third time Samuel went to Eli to see what the old priest wanted. By this time, it has begun to dawn on old Eli that something unusual is happening here. So he tells young Samuel, "Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, `Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.'"

Samuel did as Eli instructed and soon the voice called again, "Samuel! Samuel!" Samuel answered, "Speak, Lord, for your servant hears."

And the voice of God spoke to young Samuel and an important volume of Sacred History was begun. Samuel listened and responded to the voice of God.

Are you reasonably certain that right now at this time in your life you are where God would have you be--doing what God would have you do?

God of all, lead me to doing what you would have me to do. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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