The voice of God

The voice of God

The Lord had not spoken to Samuel before, and Samuel did not recognize the voice. When the Lord called out his name for the third time, Samuel went to Eli again and said, “Here I am. What do you want?”

Eli finally realized that it was the Lord who was speaking to Samuel.  So he said, “Go back and lie down! If someone speaks to you again, answer, ‘I’m listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?’”

Once again Samuel went back and lay down. The Lord then stood beside Samuel and called out as he had done before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

“I’m listening,” Samuel answered. “What do you want me to do?”

Candlelighting at altarHow many times have you thought, "If only it were that easy! If only God spoke more clearly, so that I could know what God's call is for me..."

I wonder if Samuel's story might be closer to our story than we think.

Samuel is in bed--comfortable in the place where he has grown up with Eli, his father in faith. He is on his way toward becoming the priest that his mother dedicated him to be. Then, an interruption...but the interruption doesn't seem so major--perhaps he's used to Eli waking up in the night. Samuel hears God's voice, but he doesn't recognize it, so he responds to someone else--and God allows him to make this mistake three times! When God's voice awakens Samuel, God doesn't just begin to unfold the details of Samuel's calling; God is persistent, but God also waits for Samuel's response, using Eli in the meantime to guide him.

I wonder if you may hear God similarly--an interruption, perhaps in your sleep, perhaps in your life. I wonder if you, too, have mistaken God's voice to simply be the voice of a friend or a father. Could you have dismissed it so easily? I wonder if God continues to call, persistently waiting for the time when you will recognize that the voice is actually God's voice, and the feeling in your gut is God's call. Has God has placed someone in your life who can help you understand what is stirring within you?

Samuel had the right response, directed to the wrong person: "Here I am." I wonder what might happen when you respond to the one whose voice is really calling you: "I'm listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?"

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