“Speak, for Your servant hears” 1 Samuel 3:10
From the beginning to the end of the Bible we have a record of words that God has spoken. In Hebrews chapter one the writer informs us that God has spoken “at various times and in various ways” but always at the time and manner of God’s choosing. As a boy Samuel had not yet begun a relationship with the Lord. It seems most likely that the prayers of his parents had an important role in this.
On hearing the Lord call the boy Samuel went to the priest, Eli, thinking it was him calling him but by the third call Eli realised that it was the Lord calling Samuel. When the Lord called to Samuel a fourth time he responded as counselled and thus he began a relationship with the Lord.
God is by nature One who speaks. As a result we have the incarnate Word (John 1:1) and the written Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). God engaged His relationship with Adam by speaking to him and He has been speaking to men ever since.
Why then do most people not hear God speak? There are a few analogies that may help our understanding:
- If a radio is not tuned to a station it will not receive the signal
- If a message is in an unknown language it will not be understood
- If there are other louder ‘noises’ (anything that distracts attention) the message will not be discerned.
In each case the message is available and present but there is a fault in reception.
We are out of tune with God when we do not read His written Word. His voice will appear a foreign language without the Holy Spirit’s enabling and we won’t distinguish God speaking until we are quiet and have removed the world’s ‘noises’ pounding our ears and minds. [“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10] The prerequisite for all these is the ‘new birth’ which is an act of God in response to our repentance and faith in Jesus Christ..
Samuel heard God speaking because he was “tuned into” God and had no other “noises” that interfered with reception. His response showed faith, humility and submission that would be tested throughout his growing years. Then as an adult he was ready to speak on behalf of the Lord.
We will never be ready to speak on behalf of the Lord until we have really heard the Lord ‘speak’ and what the Lord speaks to our heart will always be in complete accord with the Bible.