1The boy Samuel served the Lord under Eli. In those days the Lord did not speak directly to people very often. There were very few visions.
2Eli’s eyes were so weak he was almost blind. One night he was lying in bed. 3Samuel was also in bed in the Lord’s Holy Tent. The Ark of the Covenant was in the Holy Tent. God’s lamp was still burning.
4Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “I am here!” 5He ran to Eli and said, “I am here. You called me.”
But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” So Samuel went back to bed.
6The Lord called again, “Samuel!”
Samuel again went to Eli and said, “I am here. You called me.”
Again Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.”
7Samuel did not yet know the Lord. The Lord had not spoken directly to him yet.
8The Lord called Samuel for the third time. Samuel got up and went to Eli. He said, “I am here. You called me.”
Then Eli realized the Lord was calling the boy. 9So he told Samuel, “Go to bed. If he calls you again, say, ‘Speak, Lord. I am your servant, and I am listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in bed.
10The Lord came and stood there. He called as he had before. He said, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel said, “Speak, Lord. I am your servant, and I am listening.” 1 Samuel 3:1-10
How do I hear God’s voice?
I think at times I hoped for the deep, imposing Charlton Heston-voiced God from the Moses movie – something recognizable as a supreme being. I’ve never heard that voice.
The voice that I hear, sounds more like my own voice, echoing in the chambers of my mind and my heart. I know it’s not me because the words spoken are much kinder and more loving, inspired and not exhausted. The voice of God, still, quiet, and yet with full authority, meets me exactly where I am in any given moment, in a way that I am able to understand, in a way that is relevant, relatable, authentic. Whether resonating through the words of the Bible, a worship song, the encouragement of a friend, or the urging of Holy Spirit, everything that is spoken is borne of truth and brings light into the darkness.
I know that it’s God the same way I know that it’s my husband, my mom, my sister, my friend…when they call me on the phone and the way I know which one of my kids is yelling for me from the other room. I recognize His voice. When I meet someone new, I won’t know her voice if she calls me; she would have to introduce herself on the phone. But as I get to know her, I’ll hear her voice and I’ll know who is calling without needing an introduction. It may take some time, but my brain will make the connections, just as my heart recognizes the connection to my Creator.
Sometimes I go through seasons where I feel like I don’t hear much of His voice. Life is too loud around me and I struggle to quiet my spirit enough to discern God’s voice through the cacophony of running to and fro, children bickering and screaming their “Mommy! Mommy!”, never-ending to-do lists, piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and on and on. It’s difficult to find chunks of silence on any given day and at most I may only find a moment here or there.
I am learning that when I “can’t” hear His voice, it’s time be intentional, to ask Him. It’s a chance to purposely set aside a few, fleeting minutes to ask, “What do You want to tell me? What do You have to say?” And, then stop talking, and listen.
Yesappa, open my ears to hear, quiet my spirit to listen. Amen.