The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.” (I Samuel 3:1)

Imagine a time when the word of the Lord is rare. It may seem like that’s where we are today but since Bibles are so readily available, we can hardly say that the Lord’s word is rare…at least for those of us in the US. But during the time of Samuel, evidently God’s word was not heard very often. Add to that, Samuel was just a boy and had not heard God’s voice before. So when God came to him in the middle of the  night, Samuel thought the priest Eli was calling his name. By the third time Samuel heard his name, Eli realized that it was the Lord calling Samuel. “So Eli told Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening‘” (I Samuel 3:9). Samuel did as he was told and answered God the next time he called. And because of that, Samuel heard the word of the Lord.

This summer, I’m studying Priscilla Shirer‘s new study, Gideon: Your Weakness. God’s Strength. In week two, we’ve been looking at how God often called people into service during the time of the judges. Although the overall study is about Gideon, this section on God calling Samuel really struck a nerve with me. Priscilla said,

Having your spiritual radar up in consistent anticipation of His presence–even in the midst of the joyful chaos and regular rhythms of your everyday living–is paramount in hearing God, because sometimes the place and manner you find Him is the least spectacular you’d expect (p. 42). 

The lessons for me are this:

God speaks in the quiet so I have to lean into Him in order to hear. [Tweet This]

We often expect God to show up all flashy and splashy. We pray that God will show up and show off. And sometimes He does. But more often He comes in small and quiet ways, like speaking to Samuel at night.

God speaks on His own timetable. [Tweet This]

It might have seemed that Samuel was too young to have such an encounter. But for God’s purposes, He chose the right time to reveal Himself to Samuel. Just because it doesn’t seem like the right time to us doesn’t mean that it’s not the perfect time for God.

God speaks, but we will miss it if we are not paying attention. [Tweet This]

Samuel could have assumed he was dreaming. He could have ignored Eli’s instructions. But he didn’t. He paid attention to the voice He heard, followed instructions, and had an encounter with the one true God. Our attention spans can be short. We can be easily distracted. But if we pay attention, we will hear God speak and see Him work.

Just recently a friend told me a story about her recent move. She had bought a mattress but had neglected to purchase a box spring to go with it. As she moved, she didn’t know what she was going to do in order to use her bed. As she was contemplating her options, one of the guys helping with the move remembered he had an unused box spring in his basement. He went to get it and it turned out that the box spring was still in it’s wrapping, totally brand new. It was also a perfect match to the mattress that my friend had bought. They looked like a set that was purchased together! My friend knew in that moment the miraculous provision of God…and she could have chalked it up to coincidence. Instead she recognized that God had shown up in the middle of her ordinary day to bless her!

So now I’m leaning into the quiet…listening for His voice…expecting Him to show up when I least expect it.

Won’t you lean in with me?

Sharing today with:

What Joy Is Mine

Soul Rest
A Change of Routine