Learning to Listen

by | Jan 29, 2021 | Listening

“Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. And the LORD called again, ‘Samuel!’ and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the Word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down, and if He calls you, you shall say, “Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears.”‘ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

Today we have the story of how God called Samuel to be His prophet. It doesn’t start very well. God calls Samuel four times before the boy understands who is calling him and that he needs to stay where he is and pay attention.

We’re like that too, aren’t we? As Christians, we trust God to direct us and show us what He wants us to do. And yet we worry about missing the right path—not hearing God when He calls us—getting it wrong. And that causes us shame and fear.

But it doesn’t need to. Look how patient God is with Samuel! He knows perfectly well Samuel is a child and has never heard the voice of God before. He allows Samuel to run to his foster father three times, maybe because it will be a lot less scary for Samuel to have Eli involved and telling him what to do.

God is kind and merciful to us, as well. He knows that in spiritual things we are children and make basic mistakes. He expects that! And He bends down to us in our weakness, patiently, lovingly, never surprised—until we figure it out.

He does more than that—He fights for us, the lost children of humanity, so that we may become His own children and live with Him forever. Through His death and resurrection He does what we cannot do—defeats the power of death and evil. He brings us home—no matter how long it takes for us to hear Him calling.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, teach us to hear You when You call. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.

Reflection Questions:

1. When you were a child, did you ever mistake someone else for your father or mother?

2. What is it like to give directions to small children? How do you think this compares to God speaking to you?

3. When you look back over your life, where do y

od guiding you, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

od guiding you, even if you didn’t know it at the time?


Learning to Listen