So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.'” So Samuel went back to bed. (1 Samuel 3:8,9)
Relate: I missed it. I just missed it. While preparing to go home after a Sunday service, my dear friend began to experience the symptoms of a miscarriage. She knew the signs all too well; this was not her first lost child. I heard in my heart that I should go to her and pray for healing. However, as I was walking toward her, I was told by her sister that the bleeding had become very heavy. Right then I decided that I must not have heard from God, and although I prayed with my friend, I did not pray for healing. Instead, I prayed that God would be with her and her husband and that God would hold them close. I doubted the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and I missed out on the opportunity to be a part of God’s activity. God did what he was going to do even though I had not spoken the message he gave me. God healed her, and she now has a beautiful baby girl.
Samuel heard the voice of God several times before he realized it was God speaking to him. Once he realized God had been speaking to him, Samuel did not hold back any part of God’s message for Eli. God did not need Samuel in order to proceed with his judgement against Eli and his family. However, he gave Samuel the opportunity to participate in God’s activity as a messenger. 1 Samuel 3:19 says, “As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable.” Through practice, Samuel learned to hear God’s voice and to speak God’s message.
React: It can be easy to miss the voice of God in our busy and distracted world. There are so many voices calling for our attention. However, God wants to involve us in his activity. He wants to use us to carry his message. He is speaking to us through his word and his spirit. It is up to us whether or not we will learn to hear his voice. We need to follow Samuel’s lead and take a moment to say, “Speak, your servant is listening.”
We can learn to recognize God’s voice if the message lines up with scripture and it is followed by God’s activity. Everything Samuel said proved to be reliable because he had learned to listen to God’s voice, and God does what he says he will do. If we are blessed to carry the message of his activity, it is not because God cannot act without us. Rather, it is because he loves to share himself with his people. I am challenged to listen for God’s voice as I study scripture and to speak God’s message without holding anything back. I don’t want to miss another opportunity to be a part of God’s activity.
God, please help me to listen for your voice and to respond with your message. Thank you for loving me enough to allow me to share in your activity. May my words and my actions bring you glory as I try to hear your voice. Amen.