So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say,
‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’”
1 Samuel 3:9
Listening to the right voices can determine or destroy one’s life course.
We were country boys who loved to romp through the woods for hours at a time. Times were simpler then. No cell phones. No video games. Only our youth and imaginations. Our parents and grandparents didn’t fear someone would kidnap or murder us. My cousin and I were allowed to roam at will as long as we listened for the voice—in our case, our grandmother’s car horn. We may have heard other horns in the distance, but we recognized the sound of her horn. When we heard it, we listened and obeyed.
Young Samuel assisted Eli, the aged priest, in God’s work, but the boy had never heard God’s voice. Messages from God were rare. But to follow God’s directive, Samuel had to recognize His voice.
Recognizing God’s voice requires training, just as young Samuel had to learn to distinguish it from the other voices that commanded his attention. In his time, Samuel may have heard an audible voice. I won’t be so fortunate. God speaks through His Spirit to my spirit, so I must learn to hear Him spiritually rather than audibly—not always an easy task.
When God speaks, what He says will always agree with His Word. Anything that contradicts the Bible comes not from God but from the enemy of my soul. Becoming a good listener takes practice; learning to listen for and to God also requires practice. Hearing God isn’t automatic.
Listening to God also demands silence. Silence is difficult in my busy, noisy world. Even doing good things can steal my listening time from God. Jesus left the crowds for a mountaintop meeting with His Father. He also rose early in the morning to speak with His Father. I too must be still and quiet so I can know He is God.
Learn the art of recognizing God’s voice so you won’t miss any opportunities He sends.
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What do you need to do to better hear God’s voice?
by Martin Wiles
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Martin Wiles is a minister, author, and freelance editor currently living in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is the author of six books, including his two latest, Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He has been published in a number of periodicals, books, and newspapers. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.