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  • Writer's pictureGodIsTheArtist

When God Calls Your Name

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”. (1 Samuel 3:7-10 NIV)

For the past week and a half or two, I have been meditating on Samuel 3 because I believe there is something fascinating about having your name called by God and being able to audibly hear His voice. I found myself wondering what it must've been like for Samuel to be asleep when he heard his name called so clearly that it woke him and made him go directly to Eli. Was he stumbling through the halls with sleep still in his eyes? Was he feeling any kind of angst or aggravation at the fact that he was awakened multiple times? What did he think the third time he heard his name? How long did it take for him to go back to sleep each time? I don't know about you but this would have frustrated me to no end. I love my sleep and to be awaken four times in one night only to be told 'go back to sleep' three of those four times, would've made me very upset. Samuel, however, responded each time in obedience to the call. The first verse of 1 Samuel 3 gives me some insight into his heart. It started by saying, "Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord..." Some versions of the Bible say, "ministered to the Lord." I believe the reason he got up each time was because it was his heart to serve God by serving Eli.

I then thought of Moses:

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.” (Exodus 3:1-4 NIV)

Samuel was asleep when God called his name, but Moses was at work. He was out in the field tending to the sheep when he saw something that peaked his curiosity... a bush on fire that wasn't burning. It's funny that we often refer to this story as 'the burning bush' or 'Moses and the burning bush,' but the Bible distinctly says that the bush did not burn. Anyway, Moses was doing his usual, every day duties when he saw this bush on fire and when he approached it, he heard his name being called.

Then there was Saul:

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. (Acts 9:1-5 NIV)

Saul was on his way to capture and punish Christians when the Lord stopped him dead in his tracks and called his name.

Three men: one who was in ministry from his youth, one who heard of, but did not know God and one who was an enemy of the faith. Three completely different spectrums yet, their first encounter with God was when they heard Him call their name. Not only did God call them, He called their names twice. "Samuel! Samuel!" "Moses! Moses!" "Saul! Saul!" He got their attention. This was a moment in time that would alter the course of their lives.

I believe this to be true for us, today! God is calling us for a purpose greater than we may even be aware of right now. These men responded to the voice of God and He set them on a course that not only changed their lives and the lives of those they encountered, they changed nations. When God calls you, it's not so that you could be popular or gain status or be on a stage. He is calling you to change history, win souls, alter nations, make a difference. He is calling you to a purpose that will pull you closer to Him and bring Him glory. When God calls your name, it's because He wants your attention. He wants to talk to you, pour into you, give you instructions and point you in a direction. He used Samuel to speak to Eli which led to God establishing him as a prophet in Israel. When it became time to anoint the first king, Samuel had the reputation and authority to do so. God used Moses to speak to a political ruler and lead a nation out of captivity. Saul became known as Paul after his encounter and still is one of the greatest prophetic teachers in the Bible that still impacts the church today.

What is God calling you to? Why is He calling your name? The only way to find out is to answer Him and listen for His response. It's time to stop running! Stop wandering in the wilderness! The next time He calls your name simply respond, "Speak Lord, Your servant is listening!"

Then listen...

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