In 1 Samuel 3, we read the story about Samuel as a young boy. During the night, God spoke to Samuel, but Samuel didn’t know who it was that was speaking – he thought it was Eli the priest. So Samuel goes in and wakes Eli asking him what he wanted, but Eli hadn’t called him. This happened a couple of times and soon Eli realized it was God who was speaking to Samuel. In verses 8-10 we read, “So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for Your servant is listening.’”
Samuel had never heard God speak before and didn’t know who’s voice it was. It was different than anything he had experienced, but once Eli told him how to listen and respond to God, Samuel was used by God greatly as a prophet to the nation Israel for the rest of his life –because he learned how to listen to God.
Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…” So, how do we listen and hear God? How do we know what God is speaking to us?
1. God’s voice will ALWAYS be consistent with His Word. The more we read and study the Bible, the better we will understand and know when God is speaking to us.
2. A lot of times God’s message to us will conflict with our fleshly desires and human nature. God doesn’t work the way this world works.
3. Sometimes God wants to test and increase our faith and will lead us to do what seems impossible in this world’s eyes.
4. God’s timing is not our timing. He doesn’t work on our time schedule – we have to learn to be patient and wait for Him to speak to us.
We simply have to put Him FIRST in our hearts and lives and seek after Him. Like Samuel, we can pray “Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening!” David wrote in Psalm 24:4-5, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”
Jesus said in John 8:47, “He that is of God heareth God’s words…” If we want to hear God speak, we have to follow close to Him, obey His commandments, and do what is right no matter what the cost.
God will speak – we just have to listen!