“Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see, and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle[a]of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down …” – 1 Samuel 3:1-3 NKJV
Over the next few days we will be looking at 1 Samuel, chapter 3. Samuel’s mother had been childless, and his birth was an answer to her prayer. After he was weaned she dedicated him for service in the Lord’s house. Samuel was a personal servant to Eli, the priest. In return Eli mentored him in the ways of the Lord.
Prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection God spoke to the people through the prophets. Unfortunately, during this time the voice of the Lord was rare. There were no prophets to declare the vision of the Lord to the people.
Also, prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection the Spirit of God resided in “places” rather than people. The ARK in the tabernacle represented the presence of God.
How exciting to know that God now resides within us! We no longer have to depend on someone else to speak on God’s behalf … He longs to speak directly to each of us.
If it is rare that you hear or recognize the voice of God speaking to you, it is time to do some soul searching to determine what is causing the disconnect.
Pastor Blake Bennett with TheCity.church offers the following example: If we are trying to have a conversation on our cell phone but we have distanced ourself from the cell towers, the conversation becomes disrupted. We have to “stay in range” to have good reception.
The same is true in hearing God’s voice. If we have distanced ourselves from Him through neglect of prayer we cannot hear as clearly. Several years ago the Lord told me, “When someone you know calls you on the phone, they don’t have to identify themselves. You recognize their voice.” If we want to recognize God’s voice we have to spend time with Him.
How will you hear the voice of God if you don’t pray? Prayer is meant to be a two-way conversation. We can’t do all the talking. We have to learn to be still/quiet and listen as well. We can only quiet our minds to hear the voice of God by pushing aside the distractions.
The technological advances over the last one hundred years have many benefits, but they also contribute to endless distractions.
One of the benefits of adding Fasting to your prayers is that it can be used as an opportunity to set aside those distractions. While we typically think of Fasting in relation to food … it is much more than just not eating. It is a time to separate yourself from the “things” that separate you (or steal your time) from God. It’s a time to take an honest look at the idols we have set up in our lives.
My encouragement to you is not to be legalistic, but turn off the noise over the next 21 days and spend as much time as possible alone with God. It will change your relationship with Him … and in turn change your life. We can do anything for 21 days, right? The benefits far outweigh the cost.
Father, thank You that as believers we no longer have to depend on the prophets to hear Your voice. Thank You for desiring a relationship with us. Help me Lord to quiet the distractions in my life that would drown out the sound of Your voice. Help me Lord to pray effectively, and to listen for Your direction.
Speak Lord, I’m listening.