What was Samuel’s secret sauce?
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People are often surprised to hear that one of my favorite biblical heroes is Samuel. I talk a LOT about Paul. King David and Solomon are fascinating. And the prophets were . . . well, prophetic! 

But, if there is a sign-up list for people I’d like to have lunch with in heaven, my first sign-up would be Samuel. 

Why? Because I think he led the most consistently faithful and compassionate life in Scripture. 

If we want to aim at a life of consistent faith, we should aim at his example. 

What was Samuel’s secret sauce?

Chapter 3 of 1 Samuel is one of my favorites. In chapter 3, Samuel thinks he hears Eli the priest calling to him three separate times. Eli finally realizes that it is God calling to Samuel. 

Eli tells Samuel to pray, “Speak, Lᴏʀᴅ, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9 NIV). That verse was life-changing for me because it set me on a path of trying to “listen” for God’s word to me.  

Samuel learned to listen to God’s voice. Samuel learned that God speaks to servants who will listen. That was the first ingredient to Samuel’s secret sauce. God speaks to people who are willing to listen to his word and serve his will. 

The next three ingredients are found in verse 19: 

  • “And Samuel grew” 
  • “and the Lᴏʀᴅ was with him”
  • “and let none of his words fall to the ground.”

Samuel continued to grow in the Lord, not allowing his relationship with his heavenly Father to fade. He didn’t take God’s love for granted; he nourished that love by walking with him. Samuel didn’t let any of God’s words “fall to the ground.” He held them close and lived with God’s word as truth for his life. 

Samuel’s secret sauce was a consistently faithful, obedient walk with God through his word. 

Why is consistent faith a spiritual asset?

People notice and trust a life filled with the knowledge and leadership of God. First Samuel 3:20 tells us, “And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lᴏʀᴅ.” 

When I need prayer or counsel, I tend to seek out people I know who fill their lives with the truth of God’s word. They pray with a closeness to God’s heart and are able to pray as God’s Spirit leads. Those are the answers I need. James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” 

A righteous person leads a consistent life with God and stays connected to God’s word and will. Their life then becomes a spiritual asset to others. Consistent faith to God and his word will allow the Holy Spirit the opportunity to use your witness in powerful ways. 

The blessing of Samuel’s consistent faith

First Samuel 3:21 says, “And the Lᴏʀᴅ appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lᴏʀᴅ revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lᴏʀᴅ.” Samuel knew God.  

That phrase should not be taken lightly. The prophet Samuel knew the Creator God of the universe. God revealed himself to Samuel.  

When last did God reveal himself to you? 

God still speaks. God still reveals himself to his servants who will listen. God reveals himself in his word. Most of the time he speaks to us through our Bibles. God also speaks to us through the Holy Spirit, who uses circumstances, the words of others, or just quiet moments of meditation to speak to his servants who are listening for his voice. 

The careful caution is this: God will never speak a word to you that contradicts his Scripture. 

He gave us the Bible so that we wouldn’t be deceived by our own thoughts, emotions, or the influence of others. Never underestimate Satan’s desire to mimic or twist God’s word to a place of partial truth. It is how he tempted Christ, and it is how he tempts Christians today. 

A consistent faith is lived through God’s unchanging words of truth. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8).  

Samuel knew God because his heart was pure. Samuel’s blessing can be ours for the same reason. 

Do you see God and hear his voice consistently?

My husband, Jim, and I have been sheltered indoors for several days now. We both had COVID at the same time. It seems strange to say, but God will often use times like these if we will just give him the chance. 

God speaks. God directs our paths. God strengthens and encourages our lives. God blesses what he has always blessed. God uses servants who will listen. 

God even uses or chooses a time of forced quiet if we will let him. It’s good to receive a spiritual tune-up on occasion. 

So, may I ask again, “When last did God reveal himself to you?” 

Do you need Samuel’s secret sauce?

Before the rush of the holiday season, let’s take some time to quietly pray Samuel’s prayer. Draw close to God and say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”  

Fill your life with God’s word, God’s voice, and God’s Spirit. The blessing of a purified heart is the ability to “see God” through his word and the light it brings to the world.  

Samuel’s secret sauce was served to me on a platter of COVID. I will wish a different entrée for all of you! But, honestly, I enjoyed the quiet days to just be still and “listen” for God’s voice and God’s guidance.  

God does speak

We just need to be willing servants who listen to his word. 

Samuel led a life of consistent faith. We all need a little, or a lot, of his secret sauce.  

Please, Lord, help us follow Samuel’s consistent, compassionate example of faith. 

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

A reminder: If you want to order copies of this year’s Advent devotional The Songs Tell the Story, please let us know. You can use this link. We hope that the words will bless your Christmas season with a consistent daily focus on the high, holy gift of our infant King.