In 1 Samuel Chapter 3, the prophet Samuel was about 12 years old. Hannah had given her son back to the Lord at about the age of 2, leaving him to be raised in the tabernacle at Shiloh as she had promised God. After 10 years growing up under the elderly chief priest Eli, God called Samuel. Samuel at first thought it was Eli calling him, but Eli realized it was God’s voice. Eli gave Samuel great advice, and anyone trying to serve God could benefit from following it too.
When God speaks, in any way, we should simply respond with these same words: “Speak, for Your servant hears.” “But,” you say, “God doesn’t speak to me that clearly.” No, He doesn’t speak that clearly to most of us. He usually speaks through other people and His Word, the Scriptures. So when we read something that strikes a chord in our hearts or we hear someone speak of God and it seems to be “speaking directly to us,” we should whisper this silent pray as Eli suggested.
There is a great old story about learning how to listen. A Native American and his friend were in downtown New York City, walking near Times Square, during the noon lunch hour. The streets were filled with people, cars were honking, taxicabs were squealing around corners, and sirens were wailing; the sounds of the city were almost deafening.
The Native American suddenly said, “I hear a cricket.” His friend exclaimed, “What? You must be crazy. You couldn’t possibly hear a cricket in all this noise!” The Native American listened carefully for a moment, and then walked across the street to a big, cement container in which was a plant. He looked into the bushes and sure enough located a small cricket. His friend was amazed. “That’s incredible. You must have super-human ears!”
“No,” said the Native American. “My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you’re listening for.” “But that can’t be!” said his friend. “I could never hear a cricket in this noise.” “Here, let me show you,” he replied. He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. With the noise of the crowded street still blaring, every head within 20 feet turned to see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs. “See what I mean?” asked the Native American. “It all depends on what you’re listening for.”
If we are tuned in to hear God, we can hear Him speak in spite of all the distracting things around us. (PASTOR ED REA)