An Early Start

Bill Brinkworth

No matter the age, God desires us to have a willing heart. Some of the most capable, talented people have been rejected for use by God, because of being unpliable, self-willed, stubborn, and not obeying God’s commands. Young Samuel, as found in I Samuel 3, was a child that was not self-willed and was open and willing to be used by God.

He was a much-desired son of his mother. The barren Hannah had prayed to the Lord for a child. She had promised the Lord, if she was to have a boy, that she would dedicate that child to the service of God. Her prayers were answered, and she kept her promise.

After the child was of an age that he could be sent away, the young Samuel was put to use in the temple, and was to help Eli, the priest. The boy was separated from his family.

The priesthood was a special, highly respected position that only a Levite, as Eli was, could fill. Eli’s sons would have been next in line to take Eli’s responsibilities, but they chose not to serve God. They became wicked and sinned much. Eli did not correct or discipline them correctly, and their sins increased. God was angery at Eli, for not being the parent he should have been, and with the sons for not being obedient.

Young Samuel’s heart was much different. The young boy could have had the excuse, “I don’t have my parents here; I’m all alone.” He could have called himself a victim and been miserable, like so many do, but he did not. He did what he was told, and developed a willing attitude: just what God was looking for.

One night, the sleeping boy was awakened by a voice that called him. Thinking it was his master, he ran to Samuel to see what he had been summoned to do. The awakened priest sent him away; as he had not called for him.

Again, the voice called out his name, “Samuel.” Once again, the youngster ran to Eli. He was promptly sent back.

Later the child was awakened a third time by the same voice. This time the priest felt the Lord may have been calling the child. The Bible, as we know it was not given to the people at that time, and God spoke to men and women of God audibly many times. Eli thought this was one of those times. He advised the child, if he was called again to answer, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.”

The voice spoke to the child the fourth time, and he responded as he had been instructed. It was from this first step of obedience, that God first used this boy. He would later be a great man of God. His life would soon be changed, because he availed himself to be used and obeyed. This young man was used of God because:

He submitted to authority and obeyed his guardian and God. He did not live with his parents, but he obeyed Eli as he would have his parents — I Samuel 3:4-10.

The two sons of Eli could have been used as Samuel was, but they chose not to serve God. God will not use the disobedient for His glory.

He was truthful. The message that God gave young Samuel was that God was going to kill both of Eli’s sons (I Samuel 3:12-14) because of their tremendous sin. As much as the child did not want to give the priest that bad news of judgment, he obeyed God and Eli, and told him (I Samuel 3:18).

He had a good testimony. Shortly, much of Israel could see that Samuel was much different from Eli’s son. They knew that he was a prophet sent from God; even though he was young (I Samuel3:20).

He was trusted by God. All throughout the two books of Samuel, one can read the mighty things God performed through His obedient servant Samuel. His life of service, all started because he was willing and he obeyed.


Over 3,100 years have passed since this story occurred. God, however, has not changed. There is much that God still wants done in this world. God chooses to use people to perform many of his tasks for the inhabitants of His creation. He is still looking for those that would have the same willing and obedient attitude of young Samuel. Saying “no” to a simple request from God, can sever a life-time of being used of God. One that wants to be used by God should submit to authorities over him, be truthful, be a good example of a Christian whom God uses. An early start in obeying God is building a strong foundation for the future.

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