Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel! And Samuel answered, "Speak, for Your servant hears." 1 Samuel 3:10
Have you ever really thought about this moment in the life of Samuel? It is the moment when He gets to recognize the voice of his God. The God that from this moment on he spends the rest of his days serving. I was thinking about this moment today because I quite often get asked the question, "How do you know what to write? How do you get your message?" My response is always to say, "I share what He tells me to. I pray and ask Him and then I listen and go where He leads." It is then I often get the stare and then the, "How do you know if it is God speaking?" "How do you hear Him?" My response at this point in my walk with Him is this, "I know its God because I know His voice! I have been listening to His leading on a daily basis now for 35 years and I know His voice!" I'll admit when I was new to the kingdom, I wasn't always sure and like Samuel I would run to my version of 'Eli' unsure of what to do or how to respond but now ...I know when He is speaking.
As I was pondering Samuel today He wanted me to remind you of a couple of things that He brought to my attention to share with you. The first is found in verse 1 of 1 Samuel chapter three and it is found at the very beginning of Samuel's first encounter with God. It says, "The the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation." Sounds very much like today doesn't it? I say that because of the stare I almost always get when I say, "God told me ..." People today think your nuts if you tell them that God told you anything. And like in Samuel's day it might be rare but it is none the less very real when He does. Just because it isn't commonplace for people to hear God's voice in the world today doesn't mean that you can't. God still speaks to anyone who has a heart to draw near listen.
The second point is this ... God spoke three times and three times Samuel ran to Eli thinking it was him. He heard Him three different times but didn't recognize the voice calling Him as the voice of God. It tells us that it wasn't even until the third time that Eli the priest recognized that it was God speaking. At this point he tells Samuel what to do. Go back and listen again! Wait! And then when God calls to him to say, "Speak, for Your servant hears." It was in this moment, not the three times before that he learned the sound of God's voice. It was here in this moment of expectation and waiting that caused him to hear so clearly and to know without a shadow of doubt that this was the voice of his God. It tells us in verse 19 that ' Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of of his words fall to the ground.' What that means is from this moment on Samuel knew the voice of God and delivered and obeyed His words the rest of his days.
How about you? Isaiah 55:2-3 says, "Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you---The sure mercies of David."
Want to hear His voice? Draw near and listen!
"... and the sheep hear his voice; He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out His own sheep, He goes before them; and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice." John 10:3-4