One of my daily prayers is, “Lord, help us to hear your voice more clearly, and give us the courage to do what you say.” That prayer prompted my son to say, “I’ve never heard God’s voice before. Is He speaking?” I told him that God is always speaking. It’s up to us to find a quiet place and listen. I then explained that God rarely speaks to us audibly. He usually speaks to us through the Bible or He whispers in our heart.
One of the times God spoke audibly was in 1 Samuel 3. Samuel was just a boy and lived in the Temple with Eli the priest. In the middle of the night, God called to Samuel. He thought Eli had called him, so he went into the room where Eli was sleeping to ask what he wanted. Eli told him that he hadn’t called him and sent him back to bed. This happened three times before Eli figured out what was going on. He then sent him back with instructions should he hear the voice again.
Verse 10 says, “And the Lord came and called as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel replied, ‘Speak, your servant is listening.’” As I told my son, I believe that God is always speaking to us. It’s up to each one of us to listen. Just like you have to learn to actively listen to someone, we have to purposefully listen for God’s voice. When you open the Bible, pray, “Speak, your servant is listening.” Do it when you pray as well, then give God Time to speak.
We live in such a busy world that we rarely take the time to slow down and listen. The same voice that spoke billions of galaxies into existence wants to speak to you today. Any relationship requires two way communication. God isn’t looking for someone who will follow a bunch of rules. He’s looking for someone to speak with. That’s why christianity isn’t about a bunch of regulations, even thought we’ve made it that. It’s about having a relationship. All relationships rise and fall on communication. Yours and God’s is no different.
Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash
Several years ago, I used to have my classes take each other on trust walks. I would bring half the group to the front of the class, blindfold them, and then bring up the other half. The half that could see had to come stand in front of someone and then take them on a five minute walk through the building and the guide them back. The catch was that they couldn’t touch the other person. They had to do it all through voice directions while being around the rest of the group.
Trusting God often feels like that exercise. We often feel like we can’t see anything, we don’t know where we are going, and there are a lot of competing voices around. God asks us to trust Him, and to walk by faith instead of by sight. It can be very difficult at time to take those steps and to walk into the unknown when we can’t see. If we will trust Him, He will lead us into the life we were created for, and we will find peace. We just have to be willing to put the blindfold on.
Here are some Bible verses on trusting God.
1. You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3 GNT
2. Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG
3. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.
Psalms 37:5 NLT
4. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
Jeremiah 17:7 ESV
5. Trust in the Lord. Have faith, do not despair. Trust in the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 GNT
My son is every bit of six years old. He runs through the house at full speed, laughs so hard he can’t hear anything and has to do everything himself. There are many times when I’m trying to give him instructions, but he keeps going. I yell his name to get his attention, but he keeps going. I’ve tried with everything in me to get him to hear me, but often I get no response while he’s moving around. It’s not until I have to get up, go over to him and get in his space that he hears me or realizes I’m trying to give him instruction.
I know he probably gets that from me, and as I think about it, I wonder how often that describes me today. How often is God trying to get my attention, screaming my name, but I can’t hear Him because of my busyness? I’ve got a lost of things to do, my mind is racing with ideas of what’s next and I’m halfway looking where I’m going. I don’t stop until God gets in my space and says, “Hey! I’m trying to talk to you. I’ve been trying to get your attention, but you won’t stop and listen.”
In those moments, I wonder how long He had been trying to get my attention. I have to think back, replay the last little bit and see all the ways He was trying to get my attention. I then seek forgiveness for being to busy to hear Him and renew my commitment to slow down. That’s when I’m reminded of Psalm 46:10. It says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” (NLT) I think the Psalmist was a lot like me and that was his message from God that goes out to all of us who run full speed all the time.
I’ve learned that God cares less about my busyness and more about my ability to stop and listen. I’m learning from my son that when I’m running around, I can’t hear what’s being said. I can’t focus on what I’m supposed to. How many mishaps could have been prevented? How many blessings have I missed out on because I was too busy to hear Him? If you’re like me, let me encourage you to take time to stop today and listen. Chances are that God is calling your name and is trying to get your attention.
There are two questions many of us get asked. One is, “Did you hear that?” The other is, “Are you listening to me?” There is a difference between the two. Hearing is an involuntary function. As long as your ears work, you hear things all the time whether your brain takes the time to interpret the sounds. Listening is a voluntary function. It requires that you pay attention. The brain is looking to understand the sounds and to make sense of them. There’s quite a difference between the two.
In I Samuel 3, Samuel was a boy and he was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the altar. He heard someone say his name, so he went to Eli the priest and said, “Here I am. Did you call me?” (NLT). Eli replied, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” When Samuel got back to bed, he heard his name called again. Three times this happened and all three times, Eli sent him back to bed. On the third time though, Eli figured it out.
Eli realized that Samuel had never heard the voice of the Lord before. He instructed the boy to go back and respond should he hear the voice again. Verse 10 says, “And the Lord came and called as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel replied, ‘Speak, your servant is listening.'” He had heard the Lords voice three times, but it wasn’t until he learned to listen that the Lord gave him a message.
I believe God is talking to you and me all the time. Many times we hear His voice involuntarily and we interpret it as a feeling inside of us as to what we should do. I believe it is critical for each one of us pause in our prayer time to say, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” God doesn’t just want us to hear His voice, He wants us to listen to what He’s saying to us and then to obey. It’s going to require that you listen purposefully and then block out the other sounds your brain involuntarily hears.