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Do You Hear Voices?

Speak Lord for your servant is listening- Samuel

Have you ever run across one of those people who claim that they have heard the voice of the Lord? You know who I am talking about. You are in a normal conversation and then they lean over and say, “the Lord told me thus and so”. You then are left to respond. What is one to say when confronted with a direct message from the Lord? If you doubt the message or the messenger you feel a little sacrilegious. If you just accept their vision at face value you wonder if the message is really from Yahweh. What is a person to do?

That is what was going on with little Samuel over in 1 Samuel 3. In those days the word of the Lord was rare, there were not many visions. One night the boy Samuel was lying on his bed in the temple where the Ark of God was. I bet Indiana Jones would have loved to have seen this. While on his bed he hears someone call his name, “Samuel, Samuel”. Three times he hears the voice and each time he goes to Eli the priest and asked what he wants. The third time he comes, Eli realizes that the voice he hears may be the Lord so he gives him instruction to go back to bed and if he hears the voice again he is to answer by saying, “speak Lord for your servant is listening.” Samuel does just that and he encounters the first of many messages of the Lord that he would receive over his lifetime. Samuel would go on to become a major figure in the history of Israel.

What about you? Do you hear voices? How do you know if God wants you to do something? I don’t know about you, but for me I have never heard an audible voice from the Lord (I might just freak out if I did), but I am convinced at times that God is leading me in a certain direction. How do I distinguish that what I sense in my spirit is the Word of the Lord and not just the voice of my conscience or even some bad Thai food (though I haven’t found any bad Thai food yet, but that is another story). Let me share with you an abbreviated model for hearing God voice that I heard from a pastor when I was a young believer that has stuck with me for over 20+ years. His contention was that God does speak to us in a number of ways, many times in concert. See if any of these strikes a chord with you.

1) God speaks to us through the Bible- the most reliable voice we have is the written word of God. We can have tremendous confidence that we are hearing Him if we are reading His word. We do need to use good Bible study methods to interpret what He is saying. The-close-your-eyes-open-the-book-and-point-to-a-verse method is a little suspect.

2) God speaks to us through other people- sometimes our direction from God comes from the counsel of others. I remember a few years ago when I was making a major decision and I consulted with several different counselors. Each had a unique position, but God used their collective advice to give me some direction. That is why the Bible says there is victory with many counselors.

3) God speaks to us through our experiences- sometimes God’s direction can be gleaned from observing the world around us. I don’t have to have a revelation to know that touching a hot stove is a bad thing. I have touched a stove before and have seen others burn themselves. So, if I am trying to decide if it is God’s Will that I put my hand in the campfire, the answer is probably no. He put in place certain rules of nature and one of those is that flesh and fire do not mix unless you are barbequing. That is true of the laws of nature and the laws of relationships.

4) God speaks to us directly through the small still voice of the Holy Spirit- sometimes you just know He wants you to do something. You can’t really explain it. You just know!

5) God speaks to us through our mind- one of the differences between us and the animals is our ability to reason and to think through things. When faced with a difficult decision sometimes the best approach is a prayerfully done pro-con list.

I love Samuel’s response to God’s voice. Speak Lord for your servant is listening. That is a tremendous challenge to me. In my hustle and bustle world, am I slowing down enough to listen? The bigger question though is when I hear His voice, am I doing what He says. SPEAK LORD FOR YOUR SERVANT IS LISTENING!

This entry was posted in Faith.
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