And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth (1 Sam. 3:10 KJV)
The story of young Samuel in the House of God has volumes to teach us about the voice of God and how He operates. Samuel was brought to the House of God to serve with Eli, the priest. Samuel had not yet encountered God. The Lord came to him one night and called his name and little Samuel heard an audible voice, as human as any other voice. In fact, it was so human and even familiar that he thought it was Eli’s.Samuel went to Eli and asked if he called him. Eli said no!
After Samuel returned from asking Eli if he called him, the Lord came and called him again. Samuel returned to Eli, again! After the third time, Eli finally perceived it was the Lord calling Samuel, and he said to him “Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth” (1 Sam. 3:9 KJV). Eli recognized the voice of God, and told Samuel how to respond.
When the Lord came again and called Samuel, he recognized the voice and responded saying “speak, for thy servant heareth.” Then the Lord started speaking to him.
God did not speak to Samuel until he recognized his voice and responded. Notice Samuel was hearing God’s voice but did not initially recognize it. Do you see where our first obstacle to hearing God’s voice lies? It is not that we are not hearing God’s voice. We do not recognize it. The Lord spoke to Samuel with an audible human voice. It was not a majestic thundering voice, but what Samuel was familiar with. God still speaks like that today, but many times, He will speak to our hearts and it might come to us as a thought, image, impression or even a motivation or desire! Just as Samuel, we often have the difficulty of recognizing His voice since it comes with what we are already familiar with. The cure to this is to get to know Him. You cannot recognize God’s voice by taking a “hearing God’s class”. You start by knowing His voice. It starts with intimacy. You do not teach a baby to recognize the mother’s voice. The child simply learns it by being intimate with the mother.
Look out for His voice. Learn to recognize and respond!
How does a baby learn to recognize the voice of the mother?
APPLY THE WORD
A similar challenge we face today in hearing God’s voice is the very word “hearing”. Many of us are stuck with the fact that God’s voice will always be an audible sound. Please ensure you also read this devotional “Hearing God’s voice” to understand the different ways God speaks. Do you know God can speak to you and all you “hear” is an idea, thought or impression? He also wants you to hear His audible voice. Desire to hear Him in every way that He speaks to you, whether through His audible voice or voiceless words! Get to know the Father to recognize His voice, and when you do recognize it, respond!
Pray that the Lord will help you develop ears to hear Him.