“What? What was that, did you call me?” Have you too experienced thinking you heard your name called. Troubling isn’t it? The world is so loud at times; to hear your name called, and being assured you heard correctly, can be a challenge.
I am suppose to be studying the altar of God, in the court of the Tabernacle of Moses, but keep coming back to an assignment given to me by a pastor, ‘how God choreographs our lives through relationship, the Holy Spirit and His word’. Perhaps, I am still standing at the altar on this one; BOTH are relationship, the Holy Spirit, and His word.
I was taken to 1 Samuel chapter 3, the boy Samuel is in the Prophet Eli’s care. One night Samuel hears his name called. Little Sam was being ‘trained’ to hear the voice of the Lord. Notice how patient the Lord was, He could have sent another prophet to Samuel and Eli saying ‘look here, little proph in training, God wants you to know …‘ proceeding to share the word of the Lord with him. Or, Eli could have just said, ‘here’s the deal ...’ continuing with a tough, confrontive lesson. No, God is gentle. He wanted SAMUEL to hear and receive the word, personally.
The Lord comes at night, in the quiet and speaks Samuel’s name. I find it interesting that at first Samuel mistakes the voice as Eli’s. He goes to him, trying to discern the voice. Either way, Samuel acted, even in his ‘not-so- assuredness’. He got up and inquired.
Eli the wise teacher is used in this process of learning. Sending Samuel back to bed, then provides opportunity for Samuel to REALLY hear God. Verse 9, “if the Lord calls to you; say ‘speak Lord, for your servant is listening.’” To me, these are some of the most life changing words of advice ever recorded in the bible. “Speak Lord, I am listening”, what an invitation!
To hear God, and want to listen to what He actually has to say, is quite daring, I might add. The God of the entire universe speaking to ME, whooo! I LOVE what happens next, just as Samuel says the words God was looking for, “I am listening …” the Lord came and stood there, (v. 10) Presence is accompanied with listening. LOVE IT! God knows, He REALLY has Samuel’s attention now, saying “Samuel, Samuel“. There is another place that God repeats a name, remember “Abraham, Abraham …” just as Abe’s hand is raised ready to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. 22). God KNOWS when He has our full attention. Again Samuel says, ‘speak, for I am listening’. Then God shares with him His word.
In this we learn ~ hearing God’s voice:
First, God’s voice requires a trained ear, we will hear Him. Jesus says, “My sheep listen to My voice’ (Jn. 10:27) This ‘listening’ means to give ‘an audience to, to understand’, but most importantly, the opposite of this listening is ‘to talk’, meaning WE stop talking and are quiet while HE speaks, we ‘shut up and listen up’. (smile) Often I have heard folks say, “God doesn’t talk to me, I can’t hear Him”. My response would be, ‘are you quiet long enough to allow Him room to … talk.‘ There is a time for dialogue, but also a time for quiet.
Second, He will come again and again. He will continue speaking until He gets the answer He is looking for. Ever felt you are hearing the same thing, over and over again. Everywhere you turn, ‘there it is – again’. In His speaking, He may use the radio, TV, books, people, His written word, and the pulpit.
Thirdly, others may help in the process of hearing God, go to them, go to those whom God has entrusted to you through relationship; one who you know already hears God’s voice.
Fourth, expect God’s presence. Where His presence is, He is speaking. And lastly, God’s word is personal. He knows us by name, and calls us by name. Keep an attentive ear, for YOUR name. Be seated and ready, as an audience on opening night, excited. When you hear it … be oh so quick with “speak Lord, I am listening“.
This week, may we listen . TRULY listen, offer times of quiet.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD …)
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