Have you ever read a Bible passage many times and then suddenly noticed something 'new' in it? Of course it isn't new at all, it's just that you didn't notice it. This happened to me this week when reading the well known story, much loved by Sunday School teachers, about the calling of Samuel. I'm sure most of you know the story of how God called out to Samuel and 3 times he thought it was the priest Eli calling him until Eli realised that it was God calling Samuel and told him how to reply.
The verse that jumped out at me was I Samuel 3:10 "The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” " Notice anything? It's the opening words 'The LORD came and stood there.' On the first 3 occassions it just says 'the LORD called Samuel' without a mention of the Lord coming and standing there.
This made me stop and think, why was the fouth time different and what does that mean to us today? The answer, I think, lies in Samuel knowing it was God on the final occassion and being ready to listen which made all the difference, God could come because Samuel was listening and prepared to accept God. The lesson for us today is that we have to take time to stop and listen to the voice of God; He calls everyone but unless we are prepared to listen He can't come to us.