Hearing the Voice of God

We have 5 primary senses right? What are they? Sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.

There are also those who would claim that we have a sixth sense. What is that in your opinion? Conscience. The human conscience guides us through the complexities of this life, even when the five other senses can’t. Alongside the primary five senses, however, we can receive guidance both from the world around us and also from within. Both this guidance from around us and from within can either lead us toward or away from God.

Can you think of anyone in Scripture who clearly heard the audible voice of God? Samuel heard God’s audible voice (1 Samuel 3:1–12). The basic sequence of events leading up to this outstanding experience began with the story of Samuel’s birth. Samuel’s parents couldn't have kids. His mom was barren but longed so much for a child that she promised God that if He would give her a child, she would dedicate him to serving the Lord in the tabernacle. And so it was. God gave her a child and she dedicated him to the Lord in the care of Eli the priest.

After years of being raised in the care of Eli the priest, Samuel heard the audible voice of God calling out his name. Three times God called out his name and three times Samuel thought that it must’ve been the voice of Eli and went running to him in the middle of the night. Verse 7 tells us that the reason Samuel went running to Eli when he heard God’s voice was that He didn’t yet know God.

What does it mean that Samuel “didn't yet know God”? What is the meaning of “know” in this context? Samuel had apparently not yet entered into a personal relationship with God, and so had no idea what to expect from God. Who would expect to hear the audible voice of God anyway? Not Samuel. And yet God chose to reveal Himself to Samuel by calling out to him so that Samuel could hear God’s voice.

How old was Samuel when he heard God’s voice? He was a “youth” (verse 1). God is not limited by our age or maturity level. He is in the habit of revealing himself to all people, both male and female, and of all ages and in all kinds of unique life circumstances if they will only stop and listen. Of course He almost never reveals Himself in exactly the same way to any two people.

How did Samuel respond to each time that God spoke to him? He ran in obedience to the person whose voice he thought he heard. When he learned that it was the Lord calling him, he responded with a readiness to submit to the Lord and so the Lord revealed to Samuel the unique role that he would play in serving the Lord in the years to come.

Have you listened for the voice of the Lord and His calling on your life? He has a purpose and a plan for you if you will, as Samuel did, stop to listen for it. It may not be with an audible voice but God is ready to meet you personally to guide you as you go forward in this life.

If you feel like you haven’t really experienced the guidance of God in your life, you might start to listen for his voice by taking a look at the condition of your heart. Are you trying to keep up with the norms of society, norms that may make it hard to hear from God? Have you considered if there is anything in your life that might be making it hard for you to be led by God? Do you know the difference between the voice of God and the many other things that are vying for your attention each day?

Of course, there are times where people hear the voice of God clearly as with Samuel. John 12:27–30 speaks of a time when the voice of God was heard by many people all at once regarding Yeshua.

However, often times, the guidance of God is something that we grasp only in part and cannot fully wrap our minds around . Sometimes, this lack of clarity is a way for God to teach us to trust him even in the unknown and to look to the Scriptures for understanding.

In Proverbs 3:5–6, we are encouraged to trust in the Lord with all our heart and to lean not on our own understanding. We are to look to Him in everything and to let him make a way even when it seems like we’re up against the impossible.

That passage in Proverbs is short but powerful. Trust me, it’s really as simple as trusting that God’s got you covered, reading the Word, and praying and then being obedient whenever you do get any guidance from God. This isn’t a matter of sitting around until we’re sure we've heard from God, but rather a matter of persevering those things that we know God desires for us until He gives us further instructions and to rely entirely on Him for our next steps.

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