“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 (NLT2)
Samuel was just a boy when he first heard it. He was lying in bed. Three times the whisper of God called his name, “Samuel, Samuel …” He thought it was his mentor, the Priest Eli, who was calling him. So clear was the call that each time he rose from bed and went to Eli. It was only after the third time that Eli realized it must be the Lord. He sent young Samuel back to his room with these instructions, “Go back and lie down. If the voice calls again, say, ‘Speak, God. I’m your servant, ready to listen.’ Samuel returned to his bed. Then God came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.’” 1 Samuel 3:9-10 (MSG)
Abraham was seventy-five years old when he heard God speak to him (Genesis 12:4). Moses was eighty (Exodus 7:7). Peter was on a roof top in prayer. Paul was on the road to Damascus intent on making prisoners of Christ followers. It’s not your age, location or your ability that God is looking for. It’s your availability. God speaks to those who are ready to listen. Until we die to all that we desire, our ambition, our will, our dreams, our goals and lay them all before God as loss we are not likely to hear Him speak. Are you ready to listen?
Sometimes I wonder if God is like the Verizon commercial, “Can you hear Me now? Can you hear Me now?” Twice in the Book of Isaiah God said to His people, “I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. …” (Isaiah 65:12; 66:4) In Isaiah 50 you can almost feel the anguish of God when He asks His people, “Why was no one there when I came? Why didn’t anyone answer when I called?” (Vs. 2)
In his book, The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” What do you think He is trying to say in this global pandemic?
Practice listening for His voice. The best way to begin is meditating on Scripture. Is your daily reading more about information or transformation? Allow the Holy Spirit who inspired His Word to speak to your heart. Begin as Samuel did, “‘Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.’”
God did speak to Samuel and gave us an understanding of how He reveals Himself and speaks to us today in the final verse of this story. The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 3:21 (NIV) “The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there He revealed himself to Samuel through his word.”
Don’t waste these days of sheltering at home and look back on them having missed the opportunity to hear God speak to you. Get alone with God in His Word to experience His presence, hear His voice and respond in obedience to what He is saying to you.
I hope you’ll join us for live worship this Mother’s Day Weekend as well at live.wc.org. Use this opportunity to connect with your mother, especially if you haven’t been able to visit her in person.