Do you hear Him?
Did you know it’s possible to miss God’s voice? Often we get so busy with life that we may not recognize the voice of God. It’s not a bad thing to have a full schedule. Maybe we spend much of our time supporting our families or serving others. When we become too caught up in our routines, however, and no longer actively seek to hear God speak, we risk missing it when He does.
In 1 Samuel 3 the Lord calls to Samuel.
The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was.
4 Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8 A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Samuel was doing the right thing. He was serving Eli, day and night. He lived in the temple and slept in the same building as the ark. One would think that he would be so attuned to the voice and presence of God that there would be no way he would miss it. Although the young man had served Eli and grown up around ministry, he had not had a personal encounter with the Lord.
Like Samuel, often we aren’t prepared for an encounter with God. We are going about our routines, living and serving but not seeking or listening. There are so many things competing for our time and attention everyday, every minute. The demands of family, jobs, ministries we may be involved with, digital devices and even our hobbies quickly consume our time and focus. It’s easy to lose that precious quiet, still time in the Lord’s presence. If we don’t make it a priority, it can become lost in the fray.
The good news is that God is patient with us and longs for fellowship and relationship with us. Once we are able and willing, He is right there waiting for us to lean towards him. It may seem like there isn’t a minute to spare, but making time with him a priority has great rewards. Not only will God respond, he will order our steps. He has a divine path for every person, he just needs us to step in his direction. It all begins by lending him an ear and actively listening.
We should keep in mind that, once we do make time to intentionally listen for the Lord, he may tell us something we aren’t comfortable with. This is what happens to Samuel in this story. Despite the difficulty of the word God spoke to him, Samuel was faithful and obedient and God honored Samuel’s obedience by speaking to him more and more.
If we want to hear God speak to us, here are a few things we can do.
First, make time to listen. Schedule it. Don’t just get around to it if you have time, make it a priority.
Second, be sure you are obedient to what God says
Third, read your Bible. It’s exciting when God speaks directly to us, but he also uses the Bible to speak to us. When we spend time pressing in and looking for an anointed word, he will reveal himself to us.
Are you listening for God’s voice? Are your spiritual ears keen to His calling? Are you willing to be obedient? These are all questions that we should ponder often to make sure we are serving God and not just the ministry or person of God in leadership. God has a unique call for every individual. Be encouraged, it is never too late to seek him or pursue the path He crafted just for you.