In verse 7 of 1 Samuel chapter 3 it says, “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.” However, the chapter opens by telling us that the boy ministered to the Lord before Eli.
Eli was Israel’s high priest and Samuel had been brought to him by a woman named Hannah, who had prayed for a child. God had answered that prayer and so she dedicated him to the Lord. So, here this little boy served in what appears to be a spiritually dark time in Israel’s history and yet he did not know the Lord in a personal way. There were no prophets, Eli was adrift spiritually, his sons were corrupt and the nation as a whole was not looking to God for help. “The word of the Lord was rare in those days!” Now that is a tell tale sign right there as to the spiritual state of the nation. The people were simply not hearing from God.
After Samuel went to bed one night, he was awakened by the sound of someone calling his name. It was God, but Samuel thought it must be Eli because the boy did not yet know the voice of the Lord. After a few more attempts God finally got the boys attention and Samuel responded by saying, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” This response began a life long journey of God calling and Samuel hearing and following! Try it!