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 3:8b-10
The boy named Samuel was hearing a voice speaking to him during the night. He did not know what to do. The priest named Eli, who was his caretaker, told him what to do. Realizing that it was the Lord speaking, Eli told Samuel to answer, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Children need that kind of instruction. Today the Lord does not call out to them during the night. Instead, the Lord speaks to them in the Bible. Children need to know how to respond to the words of the Bible. Caretakers of children would do well to teach them to respond, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
We do not outgrow that advice. The Lord speaks to people of every age with the words of the Bible. He shows people their sin, calls them to repentance and promises to forgive them. He comforts them no matter what troubles they have in life, and he provides what they need to know to go to heaven. He uses the words of the Bible to bring people to faith in Jesus, and he uses the words of the Bible to keep them in that faith.
When the words of the Bible do not match our sensibilities or desires, we are tempted not to listen. But the advice of Samuel’s caretaker is still true each day of our lives. The best thing we can do to thank God for everything he has done is to listen to his Word. Let this be our response to every Bible passage: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Speak, O Savior. I am listening as a servant to his lord. Let me show respect and honor to your holy, precious Word. Amen.