In I Samuel, chapter 1, a story begins to unfold about how God calls and confirms people for ministry. Samuel was a child of Hannah, who before giving birth to him, was very distressed in her spirit for not being able to bear children. She had pleaded with God to give her a child. She named him Samuel "because I have asked him of the Lord." (verse 20) The chapter closes in verse 28 with Samuel being dedicated to the Lord.
Moving to chapter 2 Samuel, at a very young age, had a heart for God. (verses 21 and 26) He stood out among other youths who "despised the offering of the Lord" and in verse 21 Hannah gave birth to 3 more sons and 2 daughters, but the other sons were very rebellious. (verses 22-25)
As Samuel continued to walk with God, he had a very specific calling given in chapter 3. It started off with a word from the Lord, which verse 1 reports was rare in those days and visions were infrequent. As he "was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was", verse 4 says the Lord called to him and he responded by saying "Here I am." This happened two more times and Samuel thought it was Eli, the priest, calling him.
What is interesting about this account is that up until this point, "Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him." (verse 7)
Finally, the priest realizes it had to be God trying to get his attention and asks Samuel to specifically say, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." What an application for us today!!
God gives Samuel a very negative message to deliver to Eli about his sons bringing a curse upon themselves which went unrebuked by Eli. Even though Samuel was very troubled and reluctant to relay this message, Eli asked him to hold nothing back. The message, however, was well received and Eli said in verse 18, "It is the Lord, let Him do what seems good to Him." Another great application for Christians today!
The three concluding verses of this chapter record that all of Israel knew that Samuel had been confirmed as a prophet of God, because none of his words failed to come true.
A few chapters later is a a picture of how Samuel's calling and confirmation was applied. In chapter nine Saul enters the scene. He was asked by his father to go and search for some lost donkeys. After searching extensively but not finding them, Saul and the servant with him decided to ask Samuel because they were near a city where they had heard he might be. "...so they went to the city where the man of God was"
(verse 10), prepared to give Samuel a fourth of a shekel of silver for his services.
Samuel's heart had already received another "word" from the Lord about someone coming to the city (verses 15-16), who he shall anoint as prince over Israel, to deliver them from the Philistines. When Samuel met Saul God told him he was the man.
Instead of paying homage and silver like he had planned, Samuel honored Saul and told him the donkeys had been found. Even though Saul told Samuel that he was "a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel and from the least family", he wined and dined Saul by bringing him into the banquet hall to the head of the table in front of 30 other men, and serving him a choice portion of food reserved just for this occassion.
Samuel was not finished yet. As Saul was going to leave the city, Samuel told him he wanted him to hang around for awhile to proclaim the word of the Lord to him. (verse 27) He proceded to relate some things to him that over the years became true.
Do you, reader, have a true calling backed up by confirmations? People say all the time that they feel called. Really? What kind of feeling do they have? A calling has to be much more than just a feeling. You must be able to say that God has confirmed to you that He has given you a specific calling to a particular ministry. This is the main application of this story to our lives today.