In July 2013, as I was jogging, I heard the voice of the Lord say to me, “Son, we must awaken the Samuels! Awaken this generation to my voice!”
Do you know the story of Samuel? It’s a truly marvelous one. Samuel’s mother, Hannah, made a promise to God that if she was able to have a child, she would give her child to the Lord and consecrate the child to Him (1 Sam. 1:11). So when she conceived and Samuel was born, she gave Samuel to Eli, the priest, when Samuel was still a very young age. His name in the Hebrew language means “God has heard,” because God heard the prayer of his mother, Hannah.
The Bible says that Samuel “grew up in the presence of the Lord” (1 Sam. 2:21, NIV). This was during a time when the house of Eli was out of control. Eli’s sons were doing atrocious things that Eli ignored but God could no longer ignore (v. 17). But even in the midst of a house of sin, the Bible says Samuel continued to grow in God (v. 26).
Then one night, God interrupted young Samuel’s sleep: “Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ But Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down. Again the Lord called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ ‘My son,’ Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. A third time the Lord called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place” (1 Sam. 3:4-9).
Samuel lived in a place where the heavens were quiet and deception lived in the next room. Outside his bedroom door was perversion, greed and sleeping religion. But he stayed focused. God protected him, and he stayed pure.
Eli’s house describes many of the homes in our nation—homes full of darkness but inside full of future remnants. I believe our goal must be to see this generation stand firm regardless of their surroundings, culture and upbringing. We must tell them they are never alone—that God is nearby, calling their name.
God is a God of “suddenly.” Proverbs 13:12 says, “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around” (MSG). God can suddenly interrupt your life with His voice, just like He did with Samuel and just like He did with me.
Three times Samuel runs into Eli’s room. And three times he was turned back. He was told by Eli three things:
- I didn’t call you.
- Go back.
- Lie down.
I believe those are the three things the enemy always tells the called of God: “You’re not called; just go back and lie down!” I say, “Enough!” Wake up, Samuel! You’re not an oops or an accident! You are the voice God plans to use, and God has a word for you to declare. No more slumber! No more living your life in a daze!
I have learned no one ever prophesies over the quiet days, but it is in the quiet days that you must remain faithful. I have learned that the greater the anointing, the greater the isolation. If you remain faithful to your call, regardless of the monotony, the day will come when God will speak. Be sure to remain vigilant, just as Samuel wasn’t bitter about where he had grown up because he knew whom he had grown in. He didn’t hate his mother and father for leaving him at the house of God, but he chose to go to sleep every night with God as his nightlight. He was hidden from the world until it was time for God to use him.
When he finally answered the voice of God, it was a powerful moment. We are told, “The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ And the Lord said to Samuel: ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle’” (1 Sam. 3:10-11, NIV).
Wow! That is a powerful moment! Samuel would go from being the last judge to the first prophet in Israel’s history. He would be known as the prophet who restored the altars of God in a time when the “word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions” (v. 1). He would be used by God to anoint kings and share prophetic words that protected and rebuked the nation of Israel. Samuel was the remnant of his day. He would travel the land, declaring the truth.
No matter what you have been through, God can use you. He has called you to be set apart for His purpose. What I love about the kingdom of God is that God often raises up as His remnant ones who come from or have experienced the worst situations. God really is no respecter of persons. He simply goes after the available. These are the ones with scars on earth that are testimonies in heaven. The remnant consists of those who feel like failures—the fatherless, the forgotten and the freedom fighters—whose pedigree is that of a scarred Savior.
God is jealous for you and expects you to step up and lead. Your voice is needed to transform the world with a message from the throne of God. Like Samuel, you must accept the mantle God has for you. Will you accept it? Are you remnant?
Pat Schatzline is one of America’s leading communicators, authors and evangelists. He and his wife, Karen, co-founded Mercy Seat Ministries and have ministered internationally to over 2 million people. Known for his crazy humor and unique ability to communicate God’s Word with passion, Pat desires to introduce a generation to the awesome love of the Father.