“Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him” (1 Samuel 3:7).
Samuel’s story is a special one in the Bible. His mother, Hannah, had been childless for years when she cried out to God in the tabernacle one day, begging God for a son. If He would give her this son, she promised to dedicate him to the LORD’s service in the tabernacle. God heard Hannah’s prayer, and He gave her a son, whom she named Samuel. As she had promised, she brought Samuel to the tabernacle when he was about two or three years old and gave him into the care of Eli, the high priest. Samuel served God there for years afterwards, working closely with Eli.
But despite living in close proximity to God’s house, Samuel didn’t know God personally. He served God, but he had never heard from Him. That changed, however, when God appeared to Samuel by night with a special message for him. Samuel at first didn’t know that it was God calling him, but Eli helped him to understand this and instructed him in what to say. God gave Samuel his first prophecy, and from then on, he became known as a prophet whose word always came true.
Samuel could have lived the rest of his life working in the tabernacle without actually knowing the God whom he served. But God revealed Himself to Samuel, and Samuel chose to respond in the right way. He chose to listen to God and speak the words He had given him. Because of that choice, he was blessed with a close relationship with God for the rest of his life. He would even go on to anoint Israel’s first two kings—one of whom was David, the man from whom Jesus Christ Himself would one day come. He pursued a relationship with God, and God blessed him for that.