Samuel was a child given as a gift to a godly woman who cried out to God for mercy in her barrenness. In response to God’s grace, Samuel’s mother, Hannah, gave him back to God to serve in the house of God with the priest, Eli. Samuel grew up in the place where God was seen as most present and ready to speak to His people.
But we read in the Scriptures that “in those days the word of the Lord was rare” (1 Samuel 3:1). Because of this, when Samuel is awakened in the night by a voice calling his name, he thinks it is Eli calling to him. He does not expect that God will speak to him, nor does anyone else expect that sort of thing.
After three experiences of having God call to him, it is the priest Eli who recognizes that God is calling out to this young man. Eli teaches Samuel to expect and discern God’s voice, as well as to respond in the appropriate way: “speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9).
Like Samuel, we often do not expect God to speak into our lives. As the Scriptures say of Samuel’s day, God’s voice and words often seem absent from our lives. Even when He does speak, we are not nearly as attentive to His voice as we could be.
Before we can ever hope to respond to God’s voice, we must first expect Him to speak into our lives. We must come with expectation to God and then respond with a readiness to listen.
So, here are two questions to consider:
Do we expect to hear from God? And are we ready to listen to what He says to us?