I Samuel 3:1-11
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. 2 It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), 3 and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was, 4 that the Lord called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 The Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. 8 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. 9 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. 10 Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” 11 The Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.
Have you ever heard someone say, “God spoke to me” ? What did they mean? How does that happen? Is God still speaking to people today? Is it in an audible voice? How can you learn to discern the voice of God from other voices? For answers we go to the Book of I Samuel. Samuel had been dedicated to the Lord by his mother Hannah. He was probably around 12 years old, and he was serving in the Temple with the older priest Eli. However, Eli was corrupt. He had allowed his sons to corrupt the Lord’s work without restraining them. God had a word for Eli, and He would speak to a young Samuel to bring him that word. God was going to judge Eli and his sons.
Here is what we learn about hearing the voice of God:
I. Hearing God’s Voice is Something You Learn
Learning to hear God’s voice is a process. As God spoke to Samuel, he didn’t know it was God (I Samuel 3:4,6,8). Eli told Samuel that God was trying to get his attention. As you grow spiritually, you will learn to recognize His voice more clearly.
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
II. You Have to Be in a Position Where God Can Speak to You
Notice where Samuel was and what he was doing (I Samuel 3:1, 3).
He was busy serving the Lord, committed to doing God’s will. God often speaks as you are in the middle of doing what you know to be His will. If you are obeying God you can expect to hear His voice. Also, Samuel was in the Temple. God often speaks at church. That’s why being in God’s House consistently on Sundays is vital to your spiritual health. Samuel got quiet and still before God. We desperately need to get alone and still before God and listen for His voice. Often we are either too busy to listen or there are so many distractions we don’t hear His voice.
III. Listen Carefully Throughout the Day for God’s Voice
Wherever you go, in every part of your day, listen for God’s voice. After three times of hearing his name and Samuel responding to Eli, notice what Eli the priest told him. Eli told Samuel that if the Lord calls him again, to say, “Speak LORD, for Your servant is listening” (I Samuel 3:8-9).
When Samuel went back to his bed, lying there, he was anticipating and expecting to hear from God.
IV. Listen With a View to Obeying
Samuel was ready to obey whatever God said to him. That is the position that God is most likely to speak to you. He was ready and willing to do the will of God. The word “Listening” in I Samuel 3:9 means to hear with the intention of acting upon what God says. Samuel’s answer was “yes” before he even knew what God wanted him to do. Are you that available to God?
V. God Can Speak to You Anytime
Consider the setting when God spoke. It was in the middle of the night. No matter what hour, no matter what you are doing, no matter where you are, God may speak to you about the next step or the next assignment (I Samuel 3:2-3).
VI. If It Is God’s Voice and You Have a Willing Heart to Do His Will, He Will Repeat It
God spoke to Samuel a total of four times (3:4, 6, 8, 10). If God is speaking to you about something and you are willing to do whatever He says, He will continue to speak and make it clear. God won’t leave you alone about it as long as you are open.
VII. You Must Remove the Spiritual Blockades to Hearing God’s Voice
Samuel’s heart was right with God. He was pure. He had integrity and character. Sin blocks your spirit from hearing the voice of God. Disobedience, bitterness, impurity, sins of the attitude and tongue will make you spiritually hard-of-hearing.
VIII. Include Spiritual Hearing Aids
Consider briefly these 8 hearing aids to help you hear the voice of God:
- The Word of God
I Samuel 3:21
21 And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, because the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.
God speaks primarily through His written Word. Most of God’s will for your life is found between Genesis 1 and Revelation 22.
- The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the voice of God in your life.
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, He will guide you, often through a peace about something or a turmoil or hesitancy, a check in your spirit.
God speaks, sometimes through people. Be discerning.
God speaks through open and closed doors. He sometimes uses circumstances to redirect your path. Before you think an adverse circumstance is from Satan, remember it might be from God to give you direction.
Fasting helps you become more sensitive to the voice of God.
God can use things to get our attention. In Scripture God spoke through the wind, a flood, a catch of fish, a Juniper tree, dry bones, a potter’s wheel, etc.
3 ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things,
which you do not know.’
Prayer is not only talking to God but listening. Live in an atmosphere of prayer.
Meditation is reading the Scripture, reflecting on the Scripture, praying the Scripture back to God or using it as a point of praise to God, and listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit to speak through Scripture.
- If It’s God’s Voice…
There are several things you can be certain about. The voice of God…
- Will be consistent with God’s written Word.
- Won’t contradict God’s Word in any way.
- Will never lead you to do something contrary to the Bible.
- Will focus on the Person of Jesus Christ making Him look attractive and prompting you to praise Him, worship Him, and promote Him.
- Will never lead you to act on any of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).
- Will promote the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Wingman, today listen carefully for the voice of God.