Samuel grew up in the church. No, really. He actually lived and grew up right there in the temple. His parents dropped him off there when he was a toddler. 3:1 tells us he “ministered before the Lord under Eli.” The apprentice priest. Samuel’s whole life was spent serving God.
I was struck today that, even after years of doing the right things, Samuel didn’t recognize God’s voice when He called. 3:7 tells us why:
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord; The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
It reminds me of Matthew 7. Some people in this example were trying to talk God out of sending them to hell, arguing that they had prophesied in the name of the Lord, and had even cast out demons and performed other miracles in God’s name. Shouldn’t that earn them a ticket to heaven?
Jesus tells us that on that day when judgment is declared, God will say to those busy people, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!
I hope you are an active, productive member of a Bible believing church. I hope you visit the sick, volunteer in the nursery, mow the lawn, and serve on all kinds of committees that help your fellowship make a difference in your community, to the glory of God.
But let me ask you if you recognize God’s voice. Do you know Him? Have you had that personal, one-on-one conversation with Him, and told Him your heart’s condition? Have you repented of sin, accepted His grace – the work of Jesus on the cross? Are you nurturing a relationship by reading what He wrote to you, by talking to Him, by listening for His voice very day?
Doing things for the Lord is great. But if you’re doing those things without knowing Him, without Him knowing you as His child, hear Him say that He sees you as an evildoer.
Samuel finally recognized God’s voice and said, “Speak Lord. I’m listening.”
I pray you’ll say the same.