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 3:10 NIV).
This chapter opens with a very important statement. It tells us that during the times described here “the word of the Lord was rare.” And it is also added that “there were not many visions.”
This could happen in our lives too! For some reason or the other we might have neglected our daily and constant fellowship with God. This would have led to a condition where your ears have become deaf to God’s voice and your eyes blind to God-given visions. It is not that God stopped speaking; but it is that we have stopped hearing. It is not that God stopped revealing Himself to us; but it is that we have stopped seeing.
Yet this may be the time that God chooses to speak. Here God called Samuel. Three times He called him. Yet neither Samuel nor Eli the priest understood that it was God calling him. This is the tragedy of our times. God is still calling people. We hear the call but fail to understand that He is calling.
But then Eli told Samuel that it was the Lord calling him. He told Samuel to ask God to speak if he was called again and to tell God that he was listening. Here we find the secret revealed. Now we find Samuel having an expectant heart to hear. This is exactly what we need: an expectant heart to hear God speaking. God calls as at other times in His usual manner. Yet the difference is made when we are able to say that we are listening. Then we can ask God to speak. And then the listening heart hears the voice divine!