The word of the Lord was rare in the time of Eli the Priest. That’s not a good thing. Prov 29:18 teaches us without prophetic vision the people cast off restraint (some versions translate that as perish). It’s a mess. Just like we have seen in the time of Judges, people were doing whatever they wanted (Judges 21:25). We need clear prophetic vision from the Lord to know what to do and when. So the background to Samuel’s call is that Israel is a mess with no prophetic leadership. It’s interested to note that one of the successful New Testament churches was in Antioch, which was led by prophets and teachers (Acts 13:1) so the people were well taught and knew what the Lord was wanting them to do clearly!
Samuel is a young intern in the Temple and the Lord calls out to him in the night. Samuel is available – he answers “Here I am!”, thinking Eli is calling. The Lord looks for our availability even more than our ability – are you available for the Lord to use you in your daily life to be a blessing in your workplace? Three times the Lord calls out and three times Eli tells Samuel to go back to bed. Eventually the penny drops and Eli realised it might be the Lord calling Samuel. At this stage Samuel doesn’t know the Lord’s voice. He is about to learn what God sound like. Jesus has also promised that as His sheep we would know God’s voice – prophecy is our inheritance!
So the next time Samuel is told to reply “Speak Lord your servant hears” – do you pray something like that every morning? The Spirit wants to guide you in paths of righteousness, and give us revelation to sort issues at work and speak to you to be a blessing to others.
When God speaks He lets Samuel know he is about to do something amazing that will make people’s ears tingle. He also wants Samuel to tell Eli he has been judged and found wanting for allowing his sons to do evil while beings priestly assistants. Samuel is scared to bring the revelation – what are you like when God gives you a picture or a word for someone at the Gym, your workplace or one of our church gatherings? It’s scary – will I get it wrong? Bring it in a way that allows people to test it out ( i.e. don’t say “God says…”) In the New Covenant we all get to hear God (Acts 2 makes that clear), but our revelation is only in part (1 Cor 13:9), it is tinged with our personality and mood and needs to be weighed and tested. The good can be held on too and the dross thrown out – chew the meat, spit out the bones as it were!
Samuel starts out not knowing God’s voice at all, then hearing and accurately passing it on. He is growing both physically and spiritually, so that he is an accurate and trustworthy prophetic person. In v20 we see him established as a prophet, one that the Lord also appears too. We can see a growth of prophetic revelation in his life. The same occurs in the New Testament, with us. We can all be stage 1 and the Lord may call you to go deeper…
- All shall prophecy – Acts 2 everyone can hear God for themselves.
- Gift of prophecy 1 Cor 14:1. People who prophecy regularly
- Prophetic ministry Romans 12:6 people who are wired prophetically, it’s their main gift
- Prophet Eph 4:11-16. Prophets themselves are gift to the church who equip others to step in to 1-4!
Have you ever heard from the Lord in a dream, vision, picture or prophetic word? It’s your inheritance, eagerly desire it!