We’re starting a new theme in our Discovering the Bible Challenge called “Listening to God’s Word.” You are precisely in the right place as we’ll walk through some great Bible texts giving us insights to the importance of listening to God rather than the mumblings of the world.
I especially like this first passage as it tells the story of Samuel hearing God’s voice. We have the Bible as God’s word to us, but Samuel heard God’s message first-hand. Whether you’ve audibly heard God’s voice or not doesn’t matter. It’s important that we be listening!
Reading God’s word is a great way to get to know God. Relationships are built by communication. We can talk to God in prayer all day long, telling him what we think about things, asking him for his protection, etc. But how many times do we stop and listen for what God may have to say to us?
The name of this blog, “be-still,” comes from my own remembrance to be quiet in God’s presence. For too many years, I would read my Bible and feel like I had successfully accomplished another item on my to-do list. I tend to be very “task focused.” I often had not taken time to listen for God’s feedback or direction for my life. How many messages did I not hear because I wasn’t listening? Can you identify?
What’s happening in our reading today is that young Samuel is hearing the voice of God, but he doesn’t recognize it. He thinks he is hearing Eli, the priest. Eli thinks Samuel must be dreaming until he realizes this persistent voice must indeed be God. What did Eli tell Samuel to say when he heard the voice again? “Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.”
We should be ready to say those words, too. God had a marvelous plan for Samuel’s life. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may have walked through the books of I and II Samuel, too.
Once Samuel knew who he was listening for, I’m sure he was very excited, and perhaps a bit nervous. How would you be feeling if you heard God was trying to get your attention? Could there be something going on in your life right now where God is calling out to you? Are you ready to listen like Samuel was?
Samuel’s encounter with God brought a message that was hard to hear. I don’t blame Samuel for being afraid to share that news with his mentor, Eli. After all, Eli had been like a father to him over the years. But Samuel didn’t hold anything back, and Eli received God’s word for what it was. “It is the LORD’s will,” Eli replied. “Let him do what he thinks best.”
Of course, God’s will is the best way. We may be searching for God’s will in our own lives these days. We might be wondering; how does God want to use me? Or, what’s God’s take on my big life decision, e.g. when and where to move, what job to take, is it time to retire? Welcoming God into our decisions and listening for his word seems to be a good plan.
Trust God to speak to you. Like Samuel, say “Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.” Then don’t forget to listen.
Let’s pray. Father forgive me for the times I rush ahead and fail to listen for your voice. I trust your counsel for my life and long to hear from you. Thank you that I have the Bible to read, and how your messages ring out anew each day. Give me open ears to hear you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.