“Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. 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.”
1 Samuel 3:7-9 NASB
Isn’t it true that we often need a third party to help us discern when the Lord is calling to us.
We may have grown up in church as Samuel did, yet we may still not fully recognize when the Lord is speaking to us.
The historian Josephus wrote that Samuel was probably 11 or 12 years old when the Lord spoke to him this first time. Samuel had been working in the temple with Eli for some time possibly from the age of 3, but Samuel did not yet know the word or voice of the Lord. Samuel was even “lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was.” (1 Sam. 3:3)
Our role in being able to hear the voice of the Lord is to know the Lord and allow God to reveal Himself to us through His Word (the Bible), prayer and listening.
Read, Pray, Listen
I know that the “listen” part is hard to understand. I can not tell you that I have that part working completely myself. I know it is highly unlikely that I will ever hear the audible voice of God speaking to me while I am still using my mortal ears.
I do know this, that God speaks to us through His Word (the Bible), through the prompting of the Holy Spirit within us and through the anointed words of fellow believers in our lives. This is not an all inclusive list, God can speak in any way He wants. (dreams, visions, etc.)
As I was discussing this same topic last night with a group of believers at my church, I mentioned that I often realize that the Lord is trying to show me something when I recognize a pattern of seeing/hearing a certain topic multiple times in a close time span. I’ll see that pattern while engaging in one of the ways that I connect with God (Reading the Bible, studying with a group, worshiping in listening to music and singing praise, ETC.) Then after I recognize this pattern, I will start seeking to understand how I need to respond. It might be for me or it could be something I need to share with a friend or small group.
Here is the next tough part for us;
When we finally discern what the Lord is trying to tell us, we need to respond with action and in faith.
This post was prompted in part by the series Whisper by Mark Batterson and the Valiant Warrior study by Dr. Wes George at First Baptist Rogers.