Beloved in the Lord, if there is one thing God has been doing consistently since the beginning of time, even prior to when he turned the desolate state of the world around, it is this – He has been speaking. Before He spoke, the Earth was formless and desolate.
The moment He uttered His first recorded words, “Let there be light,” light appeared! “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Gen. 1:3)” Instant impact.
The voice of God brings instant impact to any situation or circumstance or state, and as you hear His voice this morning through His Word, may you receive His instant impact in every area of your lives.
Bible presents several instances where the voice of the Lord is heard; In blessing, the voice of God was heard. In pronouncing judgement because of sins and apostasy, His voice was heard. In making covenants, his voice was again heard. God’s voice is a constant feature throughout the Bible.
In our day and time, God is still speaking; His voice continues to be heard daily. The question however is, when He speaks do you hear Him? In fact, this is a question we all need to constantly ask ourselves. “Do I hear the voice of the Lord when He speaks?”
The text before us is 1 Samuel 3:1-10, a narrative that captures Samuel’s first encounter with the Lord, and presents to as another instance where the voice of God is heard. Now most of us have known this character, Samuel, since our childhood. He is first familiar to us through his mother Hannah, her predicament of barrenness, and her constant petition to God for a child year on year.
He is again familiar to us through his mother’s encounter with Eli the priest at Shiloh, where he mistook her intense sorrow-laden petitioning to be drunkenness. After hearing her side of the story, Eli responds and says, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”
Lord we cry to you this morning, any woman in your presence who has cried to you year on year for grace to conceive and carry her own baby, Father we beseech you this Communion Sunday, day of your blood and body, answer their cry today in Jesus name!
Finally, he is familiar to us through today’s Bible reading, especially with the popular line, “Master speak, for your servant hears.”
So why did God cause Samuel to hear His voice?
1. Eli had lost favour in the sight of God because of the sins of his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, and his own negligence as a father;
(1 Sam. 2:29 – Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling lace, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?)
2. It was to fulfill prophecy.
Another vessel was to replace the originally called ones, just as the unnamed servant of God had prophesied in 1 Samuel 2:35.
There are a number of things to note further;
1. The Voice of the Lord is an Encounter that brings a Call Experience
Samuel was serving the Lord in the house of the Lord and yet did not yet know the Lord (1 Sam. 3:7). You can be running about in the name of the Lord, and yet may have never encountered Him.
Samuel was serving per the traditions of the temple at the time. Yet all of that did not matter until the encounter. In spite of helping to burn sacrifices, keeping the fire on the altar burning at all times, cleaning the house of God, etc, the voice of God remained rare in that time such that even he, Samuel, did not yet know the Lord.
Then there was an encounter with the Lord, and his true calling was made known to him, and from that day onwards, he began to function in it; verse 19 says, “Samuel grew and the Lord was with him, and let none of his words fall to the ground.”
2. Even though Samuel was oblivious to who God truly was, and what his true calling was, it did not affect the nature of his service to God (1 Samuel 2:35).
You may not be currently aware of what you have been specifically called for.
Nonetheless, continue to offer onto God, your selfless service. It will cause you to find favour in His sight and bring you closer to the point of fulfilling your purpose in life. While he was unaware of what was coming, God was assessing his service to Him and loving it.
Keep serving. It will soon pay off. “Do not grow weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” Galatians 6:9.
3. The voice of God addresses challenges through chosen vessels
The day Samuel encountered the voice of the Lord, a challenge in Israel was addressed/solved.
Prior to this day, the voice of God was rare. His direction did not come often. Prophecy foretelling future events was almost absent (except in 1 Sam. 2:27-36). This goes as far back as Judges 21; its last verse says in those days there was no king, and everyone did as they pleased.
Nonetheless, the day Samuel had his encounter with the voice of God (and for that matter, God) and received His marching orders, the spiritual challenges of Israel were addressed. In addressing their spiritual challenges, other challenges in their lives were also addressed – wars with the enemy, seeking God’s face for victory, etc.
You have been called for a purpose. You have been called for a specific assignment and for a specific season. People’s destinies are connected to our purposes. When we fail to function, we affect or impact generations negatively. Take a look at Africa and the history surrounding leadership, the continent’s poverty, and lack of opportunities for youth, etc. God creates room for leaders to step up and lead nations, and turn fortunes around using resources made available to them. Alas, Africa is what it is because our leaders continue to fail us.
4. Do not think that you are indispensable (1 Sam. 2:35)
God is not limited in His choices. You can easily be replaced if you choose to mismanage what He has entrusted to you. They were still alive. They were still serving in the temple. But they had been deposed and replaced with the unlikeliest of vessels – a young boy called Samuel.
5. The Voice of the Lord gives forewarning or advance knowledge of things to come
God revealed to Samuel what He was about to do to the house of Eli because of their iniquities.
He revealed to the unnamed man of God in chapter 2 v. 27 to 36 what he will do to Eli, as well as His succession plan beyond that. The voice of God does the same for us in our day also.
We receive this while in prayer, through dreams and visions, prophecies, gospel music, sermons, counsel, etc.
SO WHO ARE THOSE WHO HEAR THE VOICE OF THE LORD?
John 10:27 tells us those who hear the voice of the Lord; “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
A sheep in relation to its master is vulnerable, meek, and mild, and trusts no one but its keeper/shepherd. The bond cannot be explained by words. But there is a special bond between the sheep and its master.
There is also a special bond that exists between the one who hears the voice of God and his or her God. The bond can be defined by just a word – INTIMATE. In this context, we can substitute this word with another word – SPIRITUAL.
You are either spiritual or carnal. We cannot relate with the Lord at His level and still be carnal or worldly. There is no middle ground (Refer to 1 Corinthians 2:9-16). It is the same reason why Romans 8:16 says; “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirits that we are children of God.” In our dispensation, the Spirit may have been poured out on all flesh, but His function in us is not automatic. You must be spiritual. Intimate. Yield all. Give all to have it all (Refer to Romans 8:5, 6, 9, 17).
The spiritual man cuts off his or herself from carnality or worldly living because he or she wants to hear the voice of God in an intimate manner and be guided by it. That is being SPIRITUAL.
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace (Rom. 8:6). Child of God, hear God’s voice today and live.