1 & 2 Samuel: Day 2

Samuel’s Call

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Today's Text: 1 Samuel 3:1-21, 1 Samuel 4:1-22, Psalm 78:58-66, Acts 4:23-31

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-21, 1 Samuel 4:1-22, Psalm 78:58-66, Acts 4:23-31

Calling is rarely simple. I know this from my own life, but I’ve observed it in the lives of others as well.

Several years ago, I sat down with women from several different seminaries to ask them why they were going into ministry. These interviews were part of my doctoral research in which I explored the experiences of women and personal calling. For most, their stories were complicated and full of self-doubt. Their calling didn’t necessarily make sense to them. It was a huge risk or a financial sacrifice. As a result, some had resisted the call, while others had rejected it outright. But for nearly all of them, their story of calling was neither simple nor clear.

Too often, we assume calling is straightforward. If it’s really from God, there shouldn’t be any confusion, right? And yet, most biblical stories of calling are complex. Samuel’s is no exception. Three times the Lord called Samuel, and three times Samuel failed to recognize God’s voice. It was the fourth time, and only after receiving wise counsel from Eli, that Samuel finally came to recognize and answer the voice of the Caller (1 Samuel 3:10).

This is tremendously comforting to all of us who are discerning a call. After all, Samuel heard the literal voice of God, and still he was confused! This tells me that uncertainty, fear, and doubt do not negate the validity of a calling. Instead, they are the norm. In Scripture, nearly every person called by God for a task initially felt afraid, unqualified, or unprepared for the task. Few are the stories of confident leaders who trusted God without pause.

So, how do we discern God’s calling when it’s unclear? In their  commentary on 1 & 2 Samuel, J.D. Greear and Heath Thomas highlight four key obstacles to discernment: inexperience, expectation, unwillingness, and sin. Samuel was inhibited by the first two; he didn’t know the voice of God, and he wasn’t expecting to hear it. For some of us, it’s our own sin that blinds us; we’re too committed to our own security and comfort.

No matter the obstacle, Samuel’s story points to one great help in our discernment: wise counsel. Without Eli, Samuel might’ve circled the house twenty times that night, hearing the call but never recognizing it. Thankfully, Eli explained what was happening. Not only did he recognize God’s voice and know His ways, but he also named Samuel’s calling and instructed him on how to respond.

The women I interviewed reported similar counsel from pastors, parents, mentors and friends—individuals who were able to help them name their gifts, pointed them to Scripture, and encouraged them to boldly trust God. This is a blueprint for us all: it’s always best to discern God’s leading in the context of Christian community.

The good news is, our God is a pursuer. Over and over again, He called out to Samuel, and He does the same with us. God repeatedly beckons us in big and small ways until we hear and respond to Him. And all the while, He sends us the help of His Church, His Word, and His Spirit as guides. He does all this because no one is more committed to our God-given calling than the One who issues the call.

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Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, mom, and she holds a PhD on women and calling. She is a regular contributor to Propel, blogs at SheWorships.com, and her first book releases in October 2017.

  • Mary Cardenas

    I really love this one. It’s true, many of us don’t hear or recognize the calling the first time.
    Thankfully we serve a God that pursues us endlessly and beautifully! In ways specific to how we would respond!

  • This hit home for me, too.
    All I can say is thank you, Jesus, for relentlessly pursuing your children. You are so faithful in your promises!

  • This one really hit home with me. I’ve always struggled to determine what God’s plan is for me versus what is my own desire. It’s comforting to know that this does not mean I am any less a Christian or that my relationship with the Lord is weaker than others. I needed this lesson!

  • Kristen Clegs

    In chapter 4, the elders of Israel are devastated that “the Lord defeated us,” but, in asking why, they never go to the Lord for an answer – they ask the people. Instead of seeking divine wisdom, they resort to their own in a foolish move that alienates their people from the ark – God’s presence – for years to come. I’m reminded that I too often go to people with my problems before I go to God, who is really the only one that can fix them and guide me through. May I learn the danger of self-sufficiency and instead rely on God’s strength and wisdom in every situation!

  • Sarah Oliver

    I struggle with hearing God and and I struggle with trying to figure myself out and what my purpose is. I hope someday to know but I feel like I should have already known by now. I feel so lost.

  • Am late to the party but I really loved this. I’m faced with making some decisions about the future soon and wondering what God has planned…so this is do timely!
    Who do you guys go to for the wise counsel Samuel got from Eli?

  • I interpreted Samuel’s call a different way. One thing about scripture that fascinates me is how God hardens hearts and softens hearts. How he deliberately blinds people and how he deliberately makes them see. And it’s all for his divine purpose.

    I think if God wanted to reach Samuel in a way he would have understood, he would have. There are plenty of examples in scripture of God making himself known in ways that were obvious to his audience. However, I think God deliberately confused Samuel by disguising his voice to sound like Eli’s. The reason? So Eli wouldn’t reject the prophecy he was about to give Samuel.

    The prophecy would serve as confirmation of what Eli had heard earlier. Samuel came to Eli three times. Eli *knew* this was God. Nothing after the fact could dispute that. Who knows what kind of conspiracy theories Eli could have cooked up if he was unaware God was speaking to Samuel that night.

    In that way, God was using Samuel to set the conditions for Eli to have a receptive heart.

    God is God. If he wanted to reach Samuel in a way that was undeniable, I think he could have. But in this case it seem like it could have been part of a larger plan.

    As for interpreting our own callings, I think to do so it helps to have a daily and committed relationship with God. That way our closeness can help us do whatever is in God’s heart and mind. Listening to those instincts that at our core feel right- without much doubt. And if we do feel doubt, I feel more prayer is needed so that we can spiritually align with what God wants us to do. That can take a day or it can take a month. It’s not a race. Just a daily walk.

    But I too think Jesus laid it out really clearly. As Christians our calling is to love: love God, love ourselves, and love our neighbor. To always be participating in the cycle of love. Even when it’s super hard to do so. 1 Samuel 3:13 reminds us it also our duty to call out abuse when we see it. This is also an act of love.

  • I love the reminder for us in 1 Sam 3:19, that since Samuel knew what was in the heart and mind of God, his prophecies were fulfilled. His obedience to God gave him a reputation beyond his direct influence.
    I want to know God’s heart and mind.

  • This is once again so perfect.

  • Jennifer Peck

    A Close Call:
    1 Samuel 3:3, “Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel.” The ark of God represented the very presence of God in the Old Testament. Samuel had a daily habit of proximity to the ark and to the presence of God. Samuel stayed close to God so that when God called Samuel heard. In contrast Eli, the priest, did not. Samuel had to run to Eli to tell him what he heard. Verse 7 says, “Samuel did not yet know the Lord, the Word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. What is so remarkable about Samuel’s call is God called him before he even knew God or his word. This principle is so full of hope- that God is at work with people even before they respond to him. As parents we should follow Hannah’s example and ensure that our children are in close proximity to God’s house and his word. For me personally, I am challenged to ask how close am I to God? The times that I feel God is distant and I am not hearing from him are the times that I am not faithfully in His presence waiting to hear from him. When Samuel recognized that God called him, Samuel’s response was to listen. “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (v.9, 10) So often I find that I am the one speaking instead of listening. I think we all want to hear a word from God, receive instruction on his will for our lives, what is he calling me to. I pray that like Samuel, I will find my place to rest close to the Lord so that when he speaks I will hear, respond and obey.

    • Barb

      Great insight. Thanks.

    • Yvette

      Thank you for sharing. I, too, was thinking that it was so remarkable that Samuel was laying by the ark of God. I’m not sure of the scene, but I picture him being the only one there while Eli and the others were resting in their comfy beds. It reminds me that i can take for granite the Holy and not be in awe of the things of God. Therefore, I turn to my comforts and do not position myself to hear God. Samuel was truly eager and seeking, just as I was before I came to Christ. The question is, am I still or has his presence and voice become common to me?

  • This whole series so needed as I begin my journey to start a sanctuary for sexual assault survivors. Thank you for taking the time to do this study.

  • I am saddened by the end to Eli’s life and heritage. It’s a reminder to me that we are all susceptible to the schemes of Satan. When we start averting our eyes from the evil things of this world and closing off our mind and hearts to the Lord’s calling, it can be our downfall.

  • Day 2 is on calling, it’s just what I needed to read. I’ve been praying about God’s new calling for me in a season of caregiving, a season of rest from a ministry leadership and a season of chosen unemployment in possibly leaving behind my career of 11 years in clinical psychology to pursue career advancement in a new field. I have had my bouts of uncertainty as a Type A individual who for the 1st time in their life has no plan and no idea what to do next, but only the resolve to step out in faith. I’m so thankful to God, regardless of my own fear and uncertainty, that He still reveals His plans. Just like Samuel I’m not sure what to listen for or see but I’m praying to have the discerning spirit that he had and a willingness to hear from God. Thankful for this message today!

  • I, right now, have been called to minister to my immediate family! How many of us feel like we don’t want to be called to our family?

    • Emily B.

      Girl, I’m with you. Witnessing to my unsaved family members has been on my heart for months, and God is faithful to keep calling to me about that.

      • Farah

        My sister is having a hard time now, so I try to tell her how my faith and God is helping me. But it is hard to talk about it with someone so close. But it feels like God is calling me to do so, because He can help her.

    • At Peace

      Oh, how happy I am to hear you say that. I keep getting that call as well, but keep trying to push back. This sounds irrational as I type it, but it didn’t seem like a ‘call’ to me. I push back that it should be something different, but no, this is the call. You have helped to confirm that for me. Thank you.

  • As strange as it may sound, I am comforted by Samuel’s confusion and misdirection when the LORD first called to him. I think that we often begin to think that we must be the only people to feel confused and frustrated about feeling / hearing God’s call to us. But we’re so wrong!!! It’s amazing to see that not only do others struggle with the same things that I do on a daily basis, but so did the prophets that were appointed by Christ. What a comfort to know that we are not alone, that God does call us (although not always audibly; through others, His Word, creation itself…etc.), and that we do not need to fear the unknown or the lies of the devil saying that we are alone in our feelings. Praise Jesus for overcoming, for giving us the gift of His Word & for continuing to love us through our messiness / confusion.

  • I’m so thankful that sometimes God’s call comes in pieces! I’ve known for a long time now that I am called to be a teacher and work with kids. This new calling to minister to them is scary and I for sure feel unqualified and unprepared. If this whole call had come in at once I know I would have run the other direction. It’s so reassuring to know I’m not alone in this feeling and that God knows what He is doing.

  • Hilary R.

    I just started this study today, and Day 2 on calling, it’s just what I needed to read. I’ve been praying about a possible new calling for myself and have just been unsure of what I should do. I’m so thankful God, regardless of my own fear and uncertainty, still reveals His plans. Just like Samuel I’m not sure what to listen for or see but I’m praying to have the discerning spirit that he had. Thankful for this message today!

  • I am so thankful that God is patient in his pursuit. How, if we misunderstand his call, or are too fearful to act, he continues to reach out to us. Lord, I pray that you would make your call louder and more clear to me. And, Lord, give me discernment to hear you and understand you, and strength to act. I love you, Lord.

  • Thankful that God knows what He is doing. He knows. I have to trust in Him. pray like Hannah, dig into His word. and surround myself with Christ followers . He will help me. He will guide me. Crazy to think that in 28 days I’ll be in college!! Looking back on my high school years, it is so amazing how God got me through it. Dizziness from the concussion was never ending. I felt like I was missing out on so much, friends, school, life group….but I was really missing God. I had put up walls between me and Him, and through those hard years they were broken down. I grew more than ever. Thank you Lord. All I can do is praise You.

  • I joined the group at the end of Romans and have thoroughly loved this community. The love and support everyone gives to each other is so awesome! And now I am LOVING this study on Samuel…and its only day two!! I just want to read ahead because I am seeing his story as a great book that I can’t put down! Thank you SRT and all of you lovely ladies!! I am so glad someone told me about you all! I hope everyone has a blessed day including recognizing one of His blessings.

  • I was struck by the connection between 1 Samuel 4 and Psalm 78! The Israelites seem to bring the ark into the battle as an afterthought. They were scared and just wanted God to show His power and defeat the Philistines. Instead, the Philistines defeat the Israelites and take the ark. I’m tempted to think, “How embarrassing… God didn’t come through for the Israelites.” But this is the other thought, “How embarrassing that the Israelites thought they could do it without God, after learning that lesson over and over and over again.” And how sad that God “forsook the Tabernacle at Shiloh and never returned to it again, instead delivering His strength and power into captivity, and His glory into the hands of the foe,” because of how Israel rejected God. Lots to think about!

  • Oh I so needed this devotional today! It feels so good to read about exactly what I’m going through now. I struggled so much the past couple years trying to figure out what my calling was and what God wanted me to do with my life. I was constantly changing ideas, “I can do this, how about that, what if I try this,” until one day, it sort of just clicked. I had practically begged God to show me what my purpose was in life because I was getting so frustrated. Months later, I’m on the road to establishing a special “project” that I truly feel is what He wants me to pursue. I’m so blessed and grateful for this gift He’s given me and every day, I continuously pray for His wisdom, His creativity and His love. I have found my calling, thanks to Him and to those around me who’ve told me throughout my life what they see me as ❤️

  • Ashley BB

    “He is the Lord. Let him do what he thinks is good.” (1 Samuel 3:18)

    I keep coming back to this verse. As I currently struggle and try to push through what is holding me back from my calling, using justifications, very sound logic and slightly desperate pleas, I hear, “He is the Lord. Let him do what he thinks is good.” and know that this should be the posture of my heart.

    I have been very clearly called to begin songwriting, no goals or ambitions in mind. Just an impossible burden to CREATE something tangible to gift to my Abba. I bought two songwriting books. I attended a worship conference and songwriting workshop over the weekend. Words and Scripture pop into my heart, and images flood my mind, waiting to be crafted into something that will delight my Lord.

    Oh, did I mention that I can’t sing? Like honestly….. it’s been confirmed.
    I also don’t play any instruments.
    I can’t read music.
    What is a melody?
    Meter…what? Syllables, rhyme?

    Like a young shepherd boy stepping up to face a giant, I am overcome with, “WHAT AM I DOING? I AM A CRAZY PERSON!” Yet the call never fades, it gets louder. The songwriting books on my bedside table stare me down as they lay unopened, gathering a thin layer of dust, (oh yeah, gotta clean the house today….) and the fear and inadequacy that hold me back get a little stronger each day.

    “He is the Lord. Let him do what he thinks is good.”

    Maybe He really DOES know me better than I know myself ;)
    Maybe He will meet me in the process and it isn’t about a song, it’s about Him.
    Maybe this will be one of the greatest adventures I embark on and it will stir up new and exciting passions for my little family.

    “He is the Lord. Let him do what he thinks is good.”
    Yes. Let us.

    • CJ

      “Yet the call never fades, it gets louder” . . . You got this girl. Go on and jump!

    • Alexis

      Thank you for sharing this. I feel the same way about my calling. I have this strong urge to travel to places, see everything and meet people. It NEVER goes away. Never. I can’t ignore it. I try but the urge is so loud. God says it is to show others who he is. It scares me, because I often don’t know the words to speak and worry about saying the wrong thing. Also, how will I fund this? Where do I find the time? When do I go? Also, I am a bit shy and introverted. How do I meet people with that issue?

      “He is the Lord. Let him do what he thinks is good.” I need to remember this when I think of my calling. God will set up opportunities and give me the words to say. God will provide the funds and the right time for me to go. God will give me the courage to meet new people. I have to stop thinking of all my shortcomings and realize that if God wants it, he’ll make it happen in spite of me.

      • Ashley BB

        I feel you! So often, I think we are required to start before the means/funds/opportunities arise. Such a leap of faith! I will be praying for you. Just like God was with Moses and Aaron operated as his mouthpiece, I pray that likeminded people surround in every place you travel, encouraging and challenging you. God is with you sweet friend, let’s go and be adventurous!

        (yikes!)

        Exodus 4:15-17
        “You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”

  • Foolish Hebrews, I thought, treating the ark like some sort of lucky charm they can bring out at their choosing, expecting they can make God fight for them when they want him to – then forgetting him at other times. Then that quiet, inner voice came to me. How many times have you done that, the convincing voice asked. How often have you treated me as someone you can use at your convenience? How many times have you forgotten me unless you thought you needed me? Too often, Lord. Tooo often. When Eli heard God’s punishment of his family, Eli knew that the time for sacrificial atonement had passed. It was too late. But Jesus changed all that and because of his sacrificial atonement, so I have been able to come to God today – to humble myself, to confess, to seek forgiveness, confident of God’s love.

  • Tochi Heredia

    I live in Córdoba, Argentina and I have been called to go to London, England. My calling is to support a church in Southeast London, to serve a community of immigrants and to glorify God with my career as a graphic designer/illustrator. I was supposed to buy my tickets last week, but fear has paralyzed me.
    “In Scripture, nearly every person called by God for a task initially felt afraid, unqualified, or unprepared for the task.” HEY, THAT’S ME!

    Thank you SRT, for redirecting my gaze from my own inexperience to the One that’s calling, just like Eli did for Samuel.
    I’d really appreciate if you can pray for me, sisters. I don’t really have mentors or a sending community at the moment, and I need encouragement and discernment.

  • Sisters,
    I ask for prayers of surrender today as I am called to my sister in law who was given 2-7 days to live nearly a month ago. I just got back in town & while I do not relish what God has asked of me…I do not feel equipped…my natural inclination is to rest on my God given strengths of facilitating the conversation that needs to occur between husband and wife….let it be Your words not mine Lord.

    • Heather N(MNmomma)

      praying for you now…

    • Karen From Virginia

      I’m praying for you Cathy. Nothing easy about it yet God is with you. Lean hard.

    • Cathy

      Touched to the heart for prayers from sisters that don’t even know me and shared my struggle. Much love and fyi God was present and using me well WHEN I was surrendering & opening my heart. It’s so hard to stay there 100% and easy to default to your own control. Reflecting today in prayer & knowing that is also my sister in law’s struggle……..trying to enter into eternity on her terms and not letting God take charge. There’s the prayer!

  • Jamie Pate

    This morning’s passage and text has been an answer to prayer as my oldest daughter and I talk almost daily about her calling. The first line…’Calling is rarely simple’ of itself found its way to me with much truth. Thank you so much for this today. Thank you for bringing His Word to reality in such a profound way this morning.

  • How do you know if it’s God or if it was just you pushing forward to something you wanted to do and maybe felt or felt convinced that God was with you/behind it the whole time?

    • Kara

      God’s will and calling for all of us as christians is very clear and not as confusing as we try and make it. His word is full of commands for our lives and I believe as long what God is giving us a desire to do is lined up with the scriptures then we are free to pursue it. And follow His leading along the way. He blesses us with common sense and desires and gifts and he also calls us to seek first the Kingdom of God and to go and make disciples. So if we are in line with this when our we have specific desires on our hearts than it’s hard to argue that It’s not God’s will. Again, if it is in accordance with Scripture and we need to be studying and soaking up his word to know these truths. Hope this helps!

    • Cathy

      Because He is a clever God & uses multiple people, situations and experiences to drill home His will…He keeps coming back…such a faithful God!

    • Sarah

      That’s a good question. Sometimes I really don’t think we know until after the fact – hindsight is 20/20. For me, there seems to be angst in the fight to not react to do something or contemplate what should be done but when I give in so to speak the peace comes, a sneaky smile whistles into my day, and all seems right.
      Realize timing is part of the equation too. God knows and He is patient. Going from A to B is not always a direct path. If we don’t hear His call at first we could take the long way from A to B but when we get there it feels great!

    • CC

      Nat, I struggle through those same worries! I wish I could say I am prayerful every step of the way, but I’m not. Some (most) days, I just simply move forward. But other days, I pause and really ask God, is this where you want me? If not, make it clear that you want me somewhere else. Honestly, scariest prayer ever. Because most days, I’m not really ready to give up this “calling.” But as it mentioned in the devotion today, God is persistent in His plans for us. He already knows the path we were going to take and that doesn’t stop Him from using us. I’m praying for you today, that the Lord would make it abundantly clear where He wants you and that He would prepare your heart for whatever answer He has for you.

    • Frances

      I find it is so easy to convince myself that it is God’s calling when it is something I want to do – and so easy to convince myself it is NOT God’s calling if I do not want to do it. I used to think that if it was God’s calling, doors would fly open to clear the path to it and I would breeze along to whatever higher good I saw myself doing. Now I know it is not that easy and there was a lot of self-delusion in my thinking. Now I think maybe it is a calling when the inner voice I have come to know so well keeps telling me to push on despite the difficulties.

    • Dana

      I’ve often had the same doubts, not about ministry but marriage. If it helps any, I sought godly counsel, I confirmed that what I wanted to do was or was not biblical (in my case it was), but even beyond that, I thought long and hard about if it would be God’s ideal, even if He allowed it. And this was after much initial prayer and some supposedly godly counsel which was contrary to God’s ideal. I find that it also helps to ask God to close doors if he doesn’t want you to take the path you think is the right one.

    • Taylor

      I wrote this before reading the comments; clearly it is on both of our minds! Thank you to all who weighed in, as it definitely helps to read others’ experiences. I can reflect now on several callings and see that is what was happening, but in the moment it felt very unclear. All I can imagine at this point is prayer for direction, faith, and building a strong relationship with God will give us the tools we need to differentiate btwn His calling and our own selfish “callings.”

    • Nat

      Thank you all for your replies. I have sought godly counsel and I do constantly ask God to close doors or open them as he sees fit. Currently I am struggling with a lot of change that has caused my anxiety and panic to rear its head and a decision I felt I had prayed on very much, buying a house, now feels overwhelming and not the right place for me and my family. I just keep praying ease will settle in my heart and I will find Gods answer that I am right where I need to be.

    • Lana

      I use the closed door prayers too and it WORKS. Though sometimes I believe God does not close the door because he needs us to learn lessons only a difficult situation might bring.

  • Everything about this is so spot on. As I just quit my corporate world, well paying job of 11 years to pursure ministry full time, it is scary. It doesn’t make sense, but God doesn’t call the qualified he qualifies those who are called. He uses the most unlikely, like me or people all throughout the Bible, like Jesus, a carpenter to do his greatest work!

    Amen amen amen! http://Www.in-due-time.com

  • Carrie Rogers

    Thank you for this wisdom as I am praying about a new ministry opportunity :)

  • I am so thankful for the wise counsel that God has placed in my life over the years. Taking some time to remember those moments and people this morning and giving thanks for them. Feeling blessed by the wise counsel of the SRT community ❤️

  • His timing is always perfect. One would think I would know that by now. I needed today’s lesson. We are part of Safe Families For Children and are hosting a child at this time that has caused much turmoil and angst in our home. We believe God called us to this. We believe He will provide and carry us through this situation. But I have to be honest, in the midst of this, I question if we really, really heard His voice or did we just push forward because it was what we wanted to do. Your amazing prayers are appreciated as we continue to listen for His direction.

    • Jeanette

      Praying for you and your family today, Karen. I’m familiar with the work Safe Families does, having had several friends who have participated in this program. I will pray for God’s grace and peace over this child today as well as your whole family. May you not be discouraged in this good work.

  • I have been resting a lot in Job 23:10-14, especially verses 10 and 14. “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold…For he will accomplish what he appoints for me…”
    Sometimes I actually hear and listen to the voice of God, but then things don’t go the way that I expect them to go. They don’t look the way I assumed they would look. It’s hard and messy and uncomfortable which makes me begin to question if I heard God correctly.
    These verses in Job are such a comfort to me. Just because God has called me to something doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to be easy. Sometimes there’s a learning curve in there – “when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” So, here’s something I learned about refining gold – the refiner knows the gold is pure when he can see his reflection in it. To be able to see his reflection he has to be close to the fire and he has to be vigilant. I love that picture! God is right there with me in the midst of the messy, hard, and uncomfortable. And, He stays until He can see His reflection – “For he will complete what he appoints for me.”
    My responsibility in all this is to hold fast to Him (v. 11); keep doing His will (v. 12a); and treasure His Word (v. 12b)
    Be blessed, sisters!

    • Marytony

      Loved the image of the reflection in the gold! Thanks for that visual.

      • Diane Smutek

        What a beautiful analogy. Thank you for sharing. This has blessed my heart today.

    • Elle

      Thank you Kathy for such a great picture of what refining looks like. Many times it’s easy to forget what is truly involved in the process of being made like Christ’s likeness and the process of “coming forth as gold.” Thank you for a beautiful reminder of the beauty that is also in the difficult.

    • Emily

      I’m definitely going to share this with others! Thank you for sharing your heart!

  • Karen From Virginia

    I love this story. I love hearing how Young Samuel heard from God. Maybe he need some instruction but God wanted to speak to him. God wanted to use him.
    This is been a burden of mine for children and young adults that they would know that the Lord wants them specifically to hear from him. It is different when you’re younger as a child then older but is always been my burden that God’s people would recognize this beautiful gift of the voice of God. I don’t always hear it is clearly as I wish I did, I don’t always listen and obey what I know God is put before me. Oh but I love his voice. Learning to hear his voice is one of the joys of being a child of God, adopted by the Father.
    Today, I need him near. As today’s my first day going back to work since my sister’s passing. It’s strange to do ordinary things or not OK to go back to normal things. I am learning to abide in Jesus and know that he will be there each step. God bless your day!

  • This came at a perfect time in my life, which was obviously something God knew would happen. Our family is going through some huge changes right now and we’ve had some obstacles that have made me question whether we were making the right decision or if it was something God was really calling us to do. Thankful for a God who knows exactly what’s going on and isn’t surprised by anything. I’m also thankful that He hears our doubts and worries and brings comfort.

  • churchmouse

    I always shake my head a little when I read 1 Samuel 3. Eli is the priest and he recognizes God’s calling out to Samuel. The word of the Lord to Samuel however is an indictment of Eli – judgment will fall “because of the iniquity he knows about : his sons are cursing God, and he has not stopped them. ” While Eli took responsibility over Samuel, he failed in his responsibility to his sons. While calling out for Samuel to listen to the Lord, Eli was called out by God for not disciplining his sons. Why do you suppose Eli didn’t take corrective action? Was he simply old, blind and tired? Were his sons old enough to know better and Eli just decided to let the chips fall where they may? Or was it that it’s easy to hear and follow the word of the Lord when the word is a good one but much harder when God’s word is one calling for discipline? There is a lesson in here for me. I best listen to all God has to say and I best obey. Even doing, perhaps especially doing, the hard things. “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

  • I was struck by the fact that once Samuel answered His call, after Eli directed him, everything began to fall in place. I think we are afraid to answer His call sometimes because it means possible change and that may bring uncomfortableness in our lives. Once Samuel said yes the Lord began moving in his life to fulfill the call He had for him. He speaks to us daily but are we listening and do we have willing hearts that say, yes? Challenged this morning.

  • Kelly R Smith

    I read through blurry, tear-filled eyes today. I’m not any more sure of God’s calling, but I am encouraged by the confidence I can have in the hope of God’s calling. “The good news is, our God is a pursuer.” Even though the future looks a bit foggy for me, I know God will not leave me in the dark. He will call out to me and tell me where to go. I can step forward with confidence that He has my path clearly and perfectly prepared. Lovely words and hope-filled truths, Sharon!

    • Karen From Virginia

      Praying for you Kelly. The gifts and callings of the Lord are irrevocable. 1 Timothy. Sometimes we don’t feel it. Sometimes we can’t see or understand what God is doing but it doesn’t change the fact that he has a plan for you and he has a plan for all of us. I pray God gives you rest today and hope that he will speak to you and he will show you the way. And give you rest as you follow him. God bless

    • Laura

      At the core of everything, I think we are called to love the Lord our God and love our neighbors as ourselves. If we are doing that, I think we are living out our calling.
      I think sometimes we make our “callings” out to be too big of a thing. Yes, I think that God has a place and a plan for each of us, but there are also some simple things that he is always calling all of us to.
      1 Thes. 5:16-18 ends with “for this is the will of God for you who are in Christ Jesus.” He calls us to rejoice, to pray, and to thank Him.
      1 Peter 3:9 says, “Don’t repay evil for evil…Instead pay them back with a blessing. This is what God has called you to do…”

      • Becky

        Thank you for this Laura. I think sometimes pride causes me to think my calling must be “big”!

      • Kelly R Smith

        Absolutely! During times of transition when I can’t be sure of the next step, I go back to the basics–love God, love people.

      • Lana

        Amen!

  • ValriAnne

    I think there are a lot of people who struggle with their calling or thinking back to days when God’s voice used to be so recognizable and today it seems mute. My pastor always says that if you don’t hear God speaking to you or instructing you today then go back to the last time you heard God instruct you in something and ask yourself if you did what He asked you to do. I was in that situation for a while and it took me obeying Him (finally!!) to walk deeper with Him.

    Also a note to anyone who is discouraged, it took time from what Samuel heard to be fulfilled. Don’t get discouraged if God spoke to you and you keep waiting to see fulfillment. His timing is perfect. Keep seeking and following.

  • So thankful for a God who keeps calling or softly whispering to us until we finally recognize that it is Him

  • Sharon, I need this for a friend of mine who is really struggling right now. Thank you so much for your wisdom and clarity in doing so. Amazing!

  • Although Samuel struggles to discern God’s call, you can see that his heart is for God in his willingness to listen and obey.
    In the next chapter the Israelites have the opposite attitude- doing their own thing but trying to gain God’s support by using the Ark as a “lucky charm”- and God shows them he will not put up with that.
    It challenges me to think about how I come to God: is it just to ask him to bless what I’m going to do anyway, or do I come humbly, as a servant, wanting to hear his voice and obey his call?

    • Farah

      Thank you for this point of view!

    • Kristine L

      Great point! I think for me, the tricky part is knowing if it’s God’s voice or my own. Thoughts will pop in my head and I wonder, did God put that idea there? Or is my mind just coming up with things?

      • Emily

        I have those same thoughts! Like is it something that I’ve simply been thinking about a lot or is God trying to direct me somewhere?

    • Caitie

      What a great point. Thank you for sharing!

    • Diane Smutek

      Thank you for challenging me this morning. I have been working on improving my prayer time. The questions you pose are a challenge to me. I must be intentional in coming before God humbly as His servant.

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