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Hearing God | Voices

Hearing God | Voices

MondayThe boy Samuel ministered before the LORD…In those days the word of the LORD was rare…. 1 Samuel 3:1

The word of the Lord was rare. Have you had seasons like that? There was a time when God worked in your life in visible ways. Then something happened. A tragedy. A distraction. An unanswered prayer. Stress so great you feared you might split in two. You cried out to God over and over…and nothing. And ever since, the word of the Lord has been rare.

Israel knew a time like that. They’d been chosen by God. They understood their destiny. They’d seen His miracles and had His commands. So what happened? We get a clue from the book of Judges that precedes 1 Samuel (skip over Ruth—different story). Judges ends this way: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” BINGO! There’s the problem. Not hearing from God didn’t happen in a vacuum. Many years of self-rule led up to it when God finally had enough of their shallow worship and sin excuses. So He was silent because (get this): God intends to be elusive. Read that again. That doesn’t sync with our modern ideas of who God is, does it? But He makes no apologies for remaining intentionally hard to reach. He tells us we’ll ONLY find Him when we search for Him with all our hearts (Jeremiah 29:13).

When the word of the LORD is rare, we need to press in and pursue Him with all our hearts. Only then do we hear Him

Final Thought: If the word of the LORD seems rare, press in. Follow what He says in His word. With all your heart.

Prayer: Lord, even prayer can feel empty. I sometimes don’t feel I’m connecting with you. But you promise that if I seek you with all my heart, I will find you. So I will press in and follow your word until I can hear you again. In Jesus’ name, amen.  


TuesdaySamuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. Suddenly the LORD called, “Samuel!” 1 Samuel 3:3

Imagine you’re 12 years old, settling down for the night, and you hear an authoritative male voice call your name. What would you think? You wouldn’t automatically assume it was God and neither did Samuel. But Samuel’s location at the time is

significant. Notice where he was sleeping: near the Ark of God. In those days, the Holy Spirit had not been poured out to indwell God’s followers. To hear God, people had to go to the place where the Ark of the Covenant rested. It represented God’s presence. So little Samuel was as near to God’s presence as a person could be back then. He was in position to hear.

One reason we struggle to hear from God is that we are not in position. Chaos, busyness, sin, and exhaustion keep us from positioning ourselves to hear from God. With a hundred other voices demanding our attention, we leave little room for silence. But without soul silence, we can’t hear Him. Drawing near to His presence puts us in position to hear when He speaks. But fighting for soul silence is a full-time job in our over-stimulated world. To us, silence means we reach for the phone, the remote, or the game controller. We’ve forgotten how to function without external stimulation and have lost the art of simply being. When God spoke, Samuel was positioned to hear Him. If we want to know God, we must keep our hearts in position to hear Him.

Final Thought:  Are you keeping yourself in position to hear from God when He wants to speak to you?

Prayer: Father, have I let noise and chaos drown out your voice? Am I being intentional about pursuing your presence? Show me what else might be dulling my spiritual ears. I want to be in position to hear you when you speak. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Wednesday The LORD called, “Samuel!” Samuel…went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, you called me.”  1 Samuel 3:6

“I’m gonna marry Della!” Jim bragged. Ryan lifted a brow. “Della Jones? Are you serious? Did you ask her?” Jim shook his head. “No, don’t even know her, but I’ve been praying about who to marry and then a guy came to our church and prophesied over me. When I asked if I could have Della, he said ‘yes’! I’m pumped! She’s hot!” Ryan frowned. “How do you know that was from God?” Jim waved him off. “This guy said he heard from God and had visions. He also said I’ll make a million before I’m thirty! I’m gonna go back and get another prophecy tomorrow.” Jim was doing what Samuel did when God called him. He was hoping to hear from God, but got sidetracked by a voice that wasn’t God’s because it told him what he wanted to hear.

When we want to hear from God about a decision, it’s easy to get sidetracked by voices that aren’t God’s. Just because someone claims to be God’s personal secretary does not mean we should take their word for it. People can be mistaken; God never is. A good formula to follow when seeking God’s voice is to lay the matter before Him with the willingness to do whatever He says. Then ask Him for wisdom, believing you received it (James. 1:5), and move in the direction that seems wisest. If He slams a door, take that as His moving you in a different direction. When you think you know His answer, ask Him to confirm it through scripture, godly counsel, and circumstances. Jim sought God’s answers, but got sidetracked by a voice that wasn’t God’s because it told him what he wanted to hear. To hear from God, we must be ready to obey whatever He says.

Final Thought: Hearing God means we are willing to do whatever He tells us, confirmed by His word and wise counsel.

Prayer: Father, I’ve gotten off track many times because I listened to voices I thought were yours. And they weren’t. Teach me to seek your plan instead of my own so I won’t be fooled by voices telling me what I want to hear. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Thursday And Samuel answered, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.”  1 Samuel 3:10

What if Samuel had answer the Lord like this: “Okay, first tell me what’s in it for me.” Or this: “Why don’t you talk to Eli? He’s your guy.” Or maybe this: “Wait, Lord. I might not like what you’re about to say, so can we do this another time?” There were hundreds of other people God could have chosen to speak to, but for reasons known only to Him, He chose Samuel as His messenger. And He started with a simple word: Samuel. It was personal. Then God waited. Samuel’s response would determine what God did next. Because Samuel’s reply was “Speak. I’m listening,” God could trust him with His plan. 

There are lots of ways we answer God when He speaks to us, but our response to His voice determines whether He speaks again. Do we answer like Samuel did, or more like this: “What’s in it for me?” Or “Why don’t you get someone else. I’m not that kind of person.” Or “I want to hear from you, God, but it’s inconvenient right now. I have to finish my degree, find a spouse, have a family, make my fortune…” Our response to God’s voice determines whether He speaks to us again. He’s not Dial-A-God for when we hit a roadblock. He’s always speaking to those with an ear to hear. But if we won’t obey the commands that are important to Him, why do we imagine that He’ll speak about the questions that are important to us?

Final Thought: The only right response to hearing God’s voice is to say, “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.

Prayer: Father, I’ve asked you to speak to me, but sometimes in my heart I add “so I can decide whether or not I’ll do it.” You know about that and maybe that’s why it’s hard for me to hear you. I’m ready to hear you and obey. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Friday Then Jesus said, “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:6

When Saul first heard from God, it was a lightning-bolt experience. He thought he had already heard from God, but it was really tradition, personal bias, and popular opinion he was obeying. Jesus got his attention—but that was it. No clues. No hints. No vision of what was to come. Just a simple instruction: “Get up and do what I tell you, and then you’ll find out.”

When we want to hear God’s voice, we usually already have in mind what He should say. We see our lives like numbered stepping stones from A-Z. We’re on B and we want to know how we’re going to get to Z, so we pray. What we mean when we pray is this: “Lord, I’m here on B and I see Z as my destination. So show me how I can get there with the least amount of trouble.” And we get nothing. No sky-writing. No booming voice. No Bible verse that says, “Here’s the path to Z!” After prayer, fasting, and seeking godly counsel, all we get is C. That doesn’t feel like an answer, but it is. When we know the next step, God waits for us to take it before He shows us what’s ahead. So boldly we step into C and as we are faithful there, He shows us D. But D may not be in the place we thought it would be. It turns out that our path to Z was not a straight shot after all. It was a series of zigs and zags as we followed the Lord. And those zigs and zags are how God builds faith and maturity in us.

Final Thought:  When we ask God how to get where He wants us to go, He only shows us the next step. Do that.

Prayer: Father, it’s scary when I don’t know how I’m gonna get from here to where I want to be. I wish you’d show me, but help me learn patience as I am faithful on each step. I’ll be obedient here, and trust your timing for the rest. In Jesus’ name, amen.