In Bible times, the fear that a woman had of being barren was real. Women in those days who could not bear a child were looked down on and Hannah, wife of Elkanah, prayed to God that she would be granted a son. She promised the Lord that if He blessed her in this way, she would make sure that the child would live a life dedicated to God.
The day came when God answered her prayer, giving her a beautiful baby boy. She named him Samuel, meaning God heard. Yes, indeed, God did hear her prayer and she responded by living up to her part of the bargain. Once the boy was weaned and old enough to be separated from Hannah, she delivered him to the Temple in Shiloh and presented him to the Chief Priest, Eli, to serve the Lord.
Samuel learned quickly and became much loved by those who visited the Temple. He was a credit to his mother and his God and Eli loved him. But, unfortunately for Eli, who had two grown boys who served under him as priests, his sons did not use their duties to glorify God. They instead used them for their own selfish desires. Eli didn't have the strength, however, to punish his boys and they continued in taking advantage of the priesthood. They seduced young women and demanded the best cuts of food brought as offerings. God warned Eli but the old man remained weak when it came to his sons while relying on Samuel to provide the services and counsel expected of a priest.
One night when Samuel slept, he was awakened by a call from the Lord which he thought to be Eli. He ran to Eli and told him he was responding to his call. The Chief Priest told the boy to go back to sleep, he must have been dreaming. This happened on three occasions and finally Eli told him it must be God speaking to him. He suggested that Samuel go back to bed and answer God by telling him he was there and listening.
After doing so, God told Samuel that Eli and his sons would soon be destroyed, the sons for completely ignoring God's plans and the father, Eli, since he did nothing to change their ways. It was God's way of beginning the preparation of Samuel for much greater duties in the Temple. These duties would ultimately lead the young priest to performing a major supporting role in the spiritual life of King David and Israel.
The Lord does work in mysterious ways and He also does speak to us. It can be in a dream or it can be through the Holy Spirit. It can be through His Word as spoken through the Bible or even just in His answer to a prayer. But unless we get ourselves tuned to God with humility, reverence and infected by the Spirit residing in us, His voice may be lost. Don't forget to take the time to communicate with God with our hearts, eyes and ears open. We never know what way He will use to reach us. When he does and when we listen, the things He will say to us are truly amazing and they are all true. But the impact will be lost if we don't show our belief and sincerity.
Dear Lord, We thank you for always being here at our side and for being available for our prayers and our concerns. We ask that you make us open, listening and watching for you and your responses in all that we do. In Jesus' name, Amen.