Speak Lord, Your Servant Is Listening

‘Speak Lord, Your Servant Is Listening’

1 Samuel 3:1-10

“The boy Samuel was serving God under Eli’s direction. This was at a time when the revelation of God was rarely heard or seen. One night Eli was sound asleep (his eyesight was very bad—he could hardly see). It was well before dawn; the sanctuary lamp was still burning. Samuel was still in bed in the Temple of God, where the Chest of God rested. Then God called out, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel answered, “Yes? I’m here.” Then he ran to Eli saying, “I heard you call. Here I am.” Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” And so he did. God called again, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, “I heard you call. Here I am.” Again Eli said, “Son, I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” God called again, “Samuel!”—the third time! Yet again Samuel got up and went to Eli, “Yes? I heard you call me. Here I am.” That’s when it dawned on Eli that God was calling the boy. So Eli directed Samuel, “Go back and lie down. If the voice calls again, say, ‘Speak, God. I’m your servant, ready to listen.’” Samuel returned to his bed. Then God came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.”

There are six lessons we can learn from this story of Samuel…

#1 God wants to speak with us

In this moment of time not many people were hearing God speak, ‘The revelation of God was rarely heard or seen’. We often think that the reason people weren’t hearing God speak is because God wasn’t speaking. The reality is though that God is always looking to speak with his people. In fact the Father’s desire to connect with us is greater than our desire to speak with him.

#2 God speaks to us by name

God wasn’t just speaking randomly in the hope that someone would hear what He was saying. Rather, God speaks to us individually; He calls us personally by name. ‘Then God called out, “Samuel, Samuel!’ The Father desires to connect with us personally by name. He wants to know us on a first name basis.  

#3 God’s voice is heard in God’s presence

Samuel heard God’s voice when he was sleeping in the presence of God, ‘Samuel was still in bed in the Temple of God, where the Chest of God rested.’ If we want to hear God’s voice then we need to position ourselves in God’s presence. Spending time in God’s presence through worship, prayer, and studying the Bible is a discipline we need to undertake daily so that we can hear what God is saying to us.

#4 Recognising God’s voice takes persistence

Often people ask, ‘How do I know if it’s God that is speaking to me?’. We can see here that Samuel had a similar challenge, ‘God called again, “Samuel!”—the third time! Yet again Samuel got up and went to Eli’. The first three times that God spoke to Samuel he thought it was Eli who was calling him. It was only on the fourth time of God speaking that Samuel recognised God’s voice. Most of us don’t recognise God’s voice the first time He speaks, and, for some of us it might even take several times before we recognise God’s voice. So don’t give up on praying or studying the Bible after one attempt, or even several attempts, if God’s voice isn’t heard or recognised. Remember God desires to speak with us so if we are persistent in prayer and in reading the Bible we will begin to recognise God’s voice.

#5 Others can help us recognise God’s voice

Another way to begin to recognise God’s voice is through the help of other people. Eli, the priest and Samuel’s mentor, helped Samuel recognise God’s voice for the first time, ‘That’s when it dawned on Eli that God was calling the boy. So Eli directed Samuel,’. If we’re not sure what God’s voice sounds like then we should ask someone who does. Let’s get around people who are further on in their relationship with Jesus than we are and ask them to help us begin to recognise God’s voice for ourselves.

#6 Respond when God speaks

God’s not only interested in speaking to us; He also wants us to speak to Him. When Samuel recognises that God is speaking to him he responds by saying, ‘Speak Lord. I’m your servant, ready to listen.’ That’s a great reply to hearing God speak, one all of us could respond with. In fact anytime we think God is speaking to us let’s respond like Samuel, ‘Speak Lord. Your servant is listening.’

Gregg Stewart