Summary: Designed for those who are seeking to indentify, listen to, and obey God’s voice and calling.
As I write this sermon, I too admit that I have had times in my life where the Voice of God has been hard to discern. As I look back however, those times in my life are usually when there are so many other voices going on that I have trouble focusing in on what God is telling me. How many times have we missed God’s message to us because we were listening to other things or people instead of Him?
St. Ignatius of Loyola said: "It is true that the voice of God, having once fully penetrated the heart, becomes strong as the tempest and loud as the thunder; but before reaching the heart it is as weak as a light breath which scarcely agitates the air. It shrinks from noise, and is silent amid agitation."
A more humorous example of how God may communicate to man:
When a mother saw a thunderstorm forming in mid-afternoon, she worried about her seven-year-old daughter who would be walking the three blocks from school to home. Deciding to meet her, the mother saw her walking nonchalantly along, stopping to smile whenever lightning flashed.
Seeing her mother, the little girl ran to her, explaining happily, "All the way home, God’s been taking my picture!"
Read Text – the entirety of 1 Samuel Chapter 3
I would like to suggest four facts about the voice of God that I hope will help you identify, listen to, and respond to His voice when it is directed at you!
I. God can call anyone.
Does God speak solely to Christians? No! It’s in the Bible!
God can talk to believers.
Acts 16:9: And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
Paul was already a believer and a full-time missionary at this point. Notice this call was to missions.
God can talk to non-believers.
Acts 9:4: Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
This is the verse that refers to Paul’s conversion experience. Notice this call was a call unto salvation.
God has called us!
1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
If you are a Christian and you are wondering about hearing the voice of God, look at that scripture! He has already called us!
If you are not a Christian, I would like to suggest today that God has called you unto salvation because of His great love for you! Keep listening!
Samuel heard the Voice of God. However, the scripture says that Samuel did not yet know the Lord. The word of the Lord had not been revealed to Him.
The word “word” is the Hebrew word “dabar” which actually carries a spoken connotation – which tells me that perhaps the writer is telling us that Samuel believed in God (he worked in a temple) but did not have a relationship with God yet. He did not yet know and was not yet capable of recognizing God’s voice (it took Samuel 3 times of going to Eli to ask who was calling him!).
Concerning the voice of God, let’s read the following passage about shepherds and sheep:
And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
5: Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."
Ask yourself this today : How well do I recognize God’s voice? Can I tell it apart from the voice of the world, or the voice of my own desires? When God is calling me, do I discern his voice as that of my Savior and Lord?
Maybe you are here today because you believe in God, but do you know God? Do you have a relationship with him that allows you to talk to Him (cast your cares upon him) AND listen to Him?
Could God be calling you today to something more? A closer walk with Him? A deeper intimacy with Him? Perhaps He is calling you to recall and live in the joy of salvation!
II. God can use others to help us as we are being called.
Samuel was able to rely on Eli in this instance. Eli was older and wiser and more experienced. He was wise enough to be able to figure out what was going on that night when God called Samuel:
And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. Then he arose and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you did call me." Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy.