“‘Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.’” 1 Samuel 3:9 (NLT)
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 75 years old when he heard it. (Genesis 12:4) Moses was 80. (Exodus 7:7) Peter was on a rooftop 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 this 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.”
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.’”
“Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 (NLT)