“The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was.” 1 Samuel 3.1-3
When we think of the prophet Samuel we typically think of a few experiences in his life that come to mind. One is when he anoints David King, another might be when he anoints Saul king, but a third is found right here in chapter 3. Because there’s so much goodness in it, I will be moving slowly and covering what I consider the “conditions of the call” before the actual call from God itself which happens later in the chapter.
Samuel’s life was set up for spiritual success. His very name means, “because I asked the Lord for him.” He was prayed into existence by his mother Hannah, he was then dedicated to the Lord even before his birth, and then he was given to the house of the Lord at Shiloh to be a servant of the Lord all the days of his life. We all have choices to make and certainly Samuel could have strayed away, but he didn’t. He remained faithful as we will learn through this study.
So Samuel was set up for success. I refer to this as the “conditions of the call” that were all in place and pointing toward his success in faithfully ministering to the Lord. It’s like a good version of the perfect storm when weather conditions are just right for a monster storm to strike. In Samuel’s case, the conditions were all good for him to be everything the Lord created him to be.
We find more evidence of this in v.1-3. In verse 1 the text says “the boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli.” Samuel had accountability, instruction and was under the authority of the priest God put in place. Just as we adhere to ordination in many of our churches to keep the integrity of ministry, the sacraments and the priestly lineage, so Samuel ministered under Eli.
In V.3 we see too more examples of Samuel being “set up” for success. First, he was sleeping in the house of the Lord. He lived, ate and worked there. He was in God’s presence night and day. This is always a good thing! All his time, focus, energy and attention was on helping offer the sacrifice and prayers to the Lord.
Second, the Ark of the Covenant, the box where God’s very own presence dwelled was in the house. We read from Old Testament stories how impactful the Ark was when in a certain town, city or house. It often brought great wealth or great destruction if the people in the vicinity were not living for the Lord. Samuel certainly was “for God” and so the vision/call he was about to receive from the Lord was intentional and huge.
I too had great conditions for my ministry and faith in the Lord. I grew up in church, among a godly family, met Jesus at summer camp, and came from a long line of ministers. I am set up for success!
But so are you! All of us are adopted as God’s children, saved by God’s grace, chosen by God to be his holy and royal people. Even if your experience is different than mine or Samuels‘, you can have a place in God’s kingdom. And our present environmental conditions also matter. Surround yourself with worship, prayer, bible reading and service to God. Like Samuel, let God be the center of all your focus, energy and efforts. And when this happens, we will be more receptive to hearing his voice as our heart is conditioned to Him.
“Come Lord Jesus, help us be the people you have called us to be. Fills us with your Holy Spirit. Drench us in your love and touch our souls with your care. I thank you Lord for your grace and goodness. Even when I fall short, your strength sustains me. Come now, Holy Lord, allow me to keep my eyes on you. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen