Can you hear the call?
(Part 2 – Obedience)
In part one of “Can you hear the call?”, we looked at the calling of the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a young man who heard the call and after looking at his own shortcomings he came up with an excuse not to answer the call from the creator of the universe.
We’ve read that throughout the pages of Scripture, we find examples of God calling young people to fulfil His purpose and plan. For thousands of years God has been calling young men and woman for His glory and even today, God is still calling young people. The question is: “Can you hear the call?” What will your reaction be if God calls you?
Example of a 12-year-old boy
There is a beautiful example in the Old testament of a 12-year-old boy who heard a call and responded in obedience. He did not have any excuse when he heard the call. The boy’s name is Samuel. His name means: “I have asked for him from the LORD.” According to Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, Samuel was 12 years old when God called him. Samuel’s mother prayed to God to give her a child. God answered her prayer and Samuel was born. Hannah gave Samuel to the Lord and Samuel grew up in the temple with Eli.
When Samuel was about 12 years old he heard a call. He got up from his bed and went to Eli because he thought Eli called him. Samuel thought it was Eli because he did not know the voice of God. When he heard someone calling him he responded immediately. We read in 1 Samuel 3:4-5 “Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.”
Samuel’s obedience is noteworthy
It is noticeable that Samuel answered immediately when he answered: “here I am…” This is in stark contrast to what we see in our modern society. There are times when parents call their children and they don’t even get a response. You hardly hear children respond immediately with: “here I am Mom / Dad”. They just say nothing and go on with their business until they decide to respond. They respond when it is convenient for them to respond.
It is clear from Scripture that Samuel was an upright young man at the age of 12. He was not a lazy little boy who felt entitled to his own desires being met. We read that he was quick in his response as he ran to Eli. Some youngsters today act as if they are old people even though they are still young. There are unfortunately also those youngsters who do not answer their parents when they are called and there are also those who do not answer their parents in a polite manner if they decide that it is convenient for them to respond.
Ephesians 6:1-2 tells us in no uncertain terms: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honour your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise).” It is so contrary to what we find in society today when we read that SAMUEL got up immediately and went to Eli because he thought that Eli called him. Eli was not even his parent. The actions of Samuel is such a lovely example that young people can follow in the day and age we are living in.
There is a lesson to be learned
There seems to be a correlation between a child being obedient to his/her earthly parents and elders and that same child being obedient to God. It seems as if a child who are obedient to their earthly parents will find it easy to be obedient to God. Samuel was obedient to Eli and we see the same obedience to God when God called Samuel and used him as a prophet. Samuel was given to Eli after his mother weaned him and we read that Samuel was obedient to Eli. Verse 5 tells us that Samuel ran to Eli when he heard his name called! How many children run to their earthly parents in our day in immediate obedience when their parents call them?
There also seems to be a correlation between “lazy”, “disobedient” youth and “lazy”, “disobedient” adults in a church. It is very likely that adults are lazy to do God’s work because they were lazy when their parents called them to do something. When Samuel heard his name called, he ran to Eli and when Eli told him to go and lie down – Samuel did what Eli told him.
There is a beautiful picture which unfolds before our eyes when we read that Samuel heard someone call him three times. Every time he heard his name called, he got up and went to Eli. Three times Samuel was told that it was not Eli who called him. The 4th time Eli told Samuel to answer: ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.’” It is exceptional that even the 4th time Samuel did what Eli told him to do!
The question arises: “How many young people today refuse to do something even when they are asked to do something the first time?” In Samuel we find a 12-year-old boy who obeyed his elder four times without an excuse. He did not refuse to go to Eli even though Eli told him that he didn’t call him.
As a prophet of God, Samuel later said to Saul: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1Samuel 15:22)
Samuel could say these words because he practiced what he preached. Samuel was an example of the obedience he was explaining to the king of Israel. He understood that obedience was better than sacrifice because God called him in the temple where sacrifices was made, and he become a prophet of God in obedience to God’s call. Samuel understood that listening is better than the fat of rams because he would become the mouthpiece of the Almighty God. Remember, obedience and listening goes hand in hand.
There is a definite question which needs to be answered by every believer: “Can you hear the call?
There are other questions which needs to be answered as well: Will you obey the call when you hear it? Will you make excuses when you hear the call, or will you be like Samuel who heard the call, listened to the call, answered the call and continued to live a life in obedience to that call?