So he said to Samuel, “Go lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Yes, Lord, your servant is listening.’” 1 Samuel 3:9 NLT
With a clear, distinct whistle, my grandfather mimicked the female bobwhite until the male was almost within sight.
Pappy, as I called my maternal grandfather, was an early riser. Why I’m not sure. He farmed…a little. He actually made his living doing it, but most of the manual labor was hired out. He was up by 5 every morning, made his cup of instant coffee, and retired to the porch where he smoked his Camel cigarettes and waited for the sun to top the nearby row of pines.
As dawn began to break, the distant call of the male quail was common. Pappy puckered his lips, whistled a counter tune, and waited for the bobwhite to answer. When he did, Pappy would call again. Within a few minutes, the male would be perched in the large magnolia tree just a few feet away from the porch where Pappy sat. The male answered what he thought was a female’s call. What he found was a tall overweight farmer.
After Samuel’s mother weaned him, she took him to the temple to assist Eli the priest. As Samuel lay on his bed, God called. Not being familiar with God’s voice, he assumed it was Eli. Eli thought the boy was hearing things, but after three times concluded it was God calling Samuel.
Just as my grandfather did the quail, God calls people to trust Him as Savior, to enter a special area of service, or simply to have a closer walk with Him. When God calls, I have a few options. I can obey, disobey, or delay doing anything. The free will God has instilled in me gives me the ability to make these choices.
Of course, obedience is the best choice. I should obey all of God’s calls out of love and appreciation for what He has allowed His Son to do on Calvary’s cross. No greater act of love has ever been demonstrated. But obedience isn’t always so simple.
Sinful patterns, fear of totally surrendering to God, or uncertainty over whether I’ve really heard God can all lead to ignoring God’s call—or at least to a delay in answering it. Obedience, on the other hand, builds experience in listening to His call, so that when He beckons in the future I’ll not mistake the voice as Samuel did.
What’s your response when God calls?
Prayer: Father, may we always respond with obedience when You call us.