Unlike the sons of Eli who also grew up in close proximity to God’s presence, Samuel had a love and respect for His presence. Verses 25 and 26 of chapter 2 say, “It was the will of the Lord to put them [Eli’s sons] to death…the boy Samuel continued to grow…in favor with the Lord.” God’s heart towards Samuel and the sons of Eli was a response to their heart postures towards Him.
Samuel was God’s provision for a nation in decay during a time when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Israel’s corrupt state was partly due to a lack of godly leadership in the nation but even more so to the fact that “the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision” (1 Samuel 3:1).
That wasn’t the author’s way of saying there weren’t enough copies of the law of Moses to go around but that the revelatory ministry of the Holy Spirit was virtually nonexistent. There was no one who operated in the prophetic ministry. In His mercy, God used a young boy to break the awful silence.
Verse 4 of chapter 3 records the first time God spoke to Samuel. Verse 7 states that “Samuel did not yet know the LORD” meaning he had no previous experience in hearing God much less communicating it to others. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how we look at it, because of the “prophetic drought” Israel was in there weren’t any seasoned prophets to train young Sammy in the ways of a prophet.
Not even his mentor in all other things ministry related, Eli, was able to instruct him in this area. Matter of fact, it took Eli a while to recognize that God was speaking to Samuel because, during that time, God just didn’t do that type of stuff.
In the absence of a mentor, Samuel had to go to the “School of the Secret Place” to learn about this special ministry. He had to depend completely on the Lord to teach him directly instead of through a human agent.
Samuel, however, knew it would take more than one rain cloud to break the spiritual drought over Israel. Similar to Moses (Numbers 11:29), he had the heart to see many others raised up who could receive and deliver timely and precious words of God.
He didn’t keep the training he received in the secret place to himself, he passed it on to others. His “loose lips” created a fertile seedbed for Israel’s “kingdom prophets” (i.e. Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah etc…) to be raised up. Similar to the disciples, Samuel’s adherence to Jesus’ not-yet-given command, “What you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops” (Matt. 10:27), launched an unprecedented movement that changed the course of a nation.
Are you enrolled in the “School of the Secret Place?” There isn’t a seminary or training school on earth that could compare with the depth of training received here. he catch is, though, you never graduate. Another odd thing about this school is that the more you give away of its teachings, the more you get.
Let’s be lousy at keeping His secrets. After all, loose lips launch movements.