Let’s read 1 Samuel 3.
When 1 Samuel 3 opens, we see that Samuel has been performing the priestly duties as he “ministered before the Lord under Eli.” The Word says that during this time period, not many people received direct revelation from the Lord, as a voice or in visions. Life was very different back then. No one had Bibles to know the word of God. Instead they lived by the Law, and your average person did not have access to it. They just knew it, and by knowing it, they could know God. And even though, you can read of men who had some access to the Holy Spirit back then, the Holy Spirit was not with even Israelite as it is with every believer today.
God gave no warning that he was about to speak when He called Samuel. He spoke suddenly and he spoke to someone in a position to hear him – someone quite literally laying in God’s house at His feet in service to Him.
It was late at night – bedtime for Eli and Samuel. Eli was getting older, his eyes were becoming weaker and weaker, and he was lying down in his usual place. Samuel, on the other hand, was lying down in an unusual place. He was lying in the Holy Place. Verse 3 says “the lamp of God had not yet gone out,” and Leviticus 24:4 says that the lamps must be tended continually. So more than likely, Samuel was lying in the Holy Place to make sure that the oil was added when needed, so the lamps would not burn out.
The Ark of the Covenant is where the presence of God dwelled and was located in the inner sanctuary or Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and only at certain times of the year, so Samuel must have been sleeping just outside the veil between the two rooms in the Holy Place. He was lying down to rest but it’s entirely possible that he dozed off from time to time. He was serving God, but He was slightly outside his comfort zone, lying in an unusual place. How interesting that God would pick this time to speak to Samuel. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will come near to you.”
A Heart to Heart with God
- Ask Him to speak to you through His Word and to be sensitive to His Spirit.
- Ask Him to help you recognize His voice.