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3 Suggestions for When God Tries to Speak to You

By June 18, 2016Christians, God, Prayer

So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if He calls you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 1 Samuel 3:9

Has God been trying to get your attention lately? Is God trying to tell you something? Are you having a hard time hearing?

Samuel was in training to be a prophet. He was set apart from birth to be God’s anointed one. God had something to tell Samuel, but Samuel couldn’t recognize the voice of God.

Eli told Samuel to lie down and simply say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”

You and I live in an often crowded and busy world. There are lots of “voices”. I can’t remember the last time I had a day with nothing to do. My home is quieter than it once was when two boys kept the hallway filled with the sounds of football, basketball, and any other sport Mom would let them get away with in the house, but there’s still plenty of noise and activity. My calendar is fuller than ever.

Often, I find myself surrounded by the “stuff” of life. The idea of hearing from God in the midst of all this clutter seems nearly impossible. Yet, I know my very existence hangs on my God relationship. I need a word from my Father!

How about you?

Perhaps you too would love to hear from God, but your life is too thick for His word to filter through.

I love the advice of Samuel’s mentor – Eli. I believe his instructions could be helpful for us.

Here are 3 ways Eli encouraged Samuel to hear from God:

He told Samuel to be still.

Samuel laid down, in the stillness of the night, and waited for God to speak. Many times we can’t hear from God because we are – frankly – too busy. God tends to speak with a quiet whisper to listening, trusting ears. “Let them who have ears hear” – Jesus might say.

Consider your past week – when would you have had time to hear from God had He tries to speak in a whisper?

He encouraged Samuel to listen expectantly.

Samuel left Eli knowing he was waiting – and he knew Whom he was waiting for. He wasn’t surprised when God spoke, because he was anxiously awaiting His voice. I think many times we would be surprised should God choose to speak. We almost don’t expect Him to anymore.

Ask yourself – have you given up your belief God can, should He choose, answer your request? Are you praying in faith?

Perhaps most important, Eli mentored Samuel to obey God’s word.

It is one thing to hear from God, and quite another to do something about it. When God speaks to you – this is a monumental event! It is important to obey. I often wonder if God speaks most to those He knows will do as He asks.

Be honest, are you living in obedience to God today – as much as you know how? Should God ask you to do something contrary to what you want to do – are you in a season where you would obey?

God may be trying to speak to you at this point in your life. In fact, if you are a believer, I’d be surprised if He’s not. My question for you – are you in a position to hear?

Stop, wait, listen – and obey the word of God today!

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 21 Comments

  • When He speaks to us and we don't respond but when we speak he respond us

  • rockstarkp says:

    I'm sorry. But this doesn't make any sense to apply it me today.
    Samuel was a kid.
    Eli was the older mentor.
    Samuel thought Eli was speaking to him from the other room.
    Eli figured out it was God wanting to audibly talk to Eli.
    This historical event is not a "how to hear from God" text.
    Just like Jonah is not a "how to live inside a whale" text.

    So are you saying somehow that if I lay still and tell God "here I am, ready to listen," God will audibly speak to me?
    I'm not sure that is the application that can be drawn from this historical text.

    • ronedmondson says:

      No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that if you want to hear from God you have to listen, and to listen, you may have to pause long enough to hear. I'd say that applies in the Old Testament or New Testament context.

      • rockstarkp says:

        But how are you defining "hearing" and "listening"?
        I'm sure we'd both agree that if we want to know who God is, we need to pause long enough to read and study our Bibles and pray that the Holy Spirit will help us with understanding what we read.

        But outside of that, what is "hearing" or "listening"?
        Is it audibly? Visions? Dreams? I don't know of any example OT or NT where there person intentionally could cause God to speak to them audibly, give them a vision, or have a dream. God did those things whether they were ready or not.

        In other words, what am I listening for?
        Because the scripture you are using above is Eli listening to God's audible voice. And if you are saying that you are not explaining how to hear God's audible voice, then what am I listening for? Is it an inner voice? If it's just an inner voice, can you show me in scripture where I am to listen to an inner voice?

        • ronedmondson says:

          You're obviously taking this way deeper than my post intended, and that's okay. God speaks when God speaks. I need to speak less and listen more so when He speaks I hear. Eccl 5:2. That's my only real point. I want to be ready when He chooses to have a word for me. I believe He still speaks today…on His terms of course.

          • rockstarkp says:

            Maybe I'm taking this deeper because I have Christian friends who use the Eli/Samuel text all the time to show how we need to "slow down and listen to God."
            But when I press them on why that is the application of the text, they usually retreat and say what you have said; "that's not what I'm intending to say".
            I also have friends that use this text so show how we need to practice hearing God's voice. But this text has nothing to do with practicing.

            Maybe I'm trying to get at what you are intending to say.
            Or, why used this text to say "God still speaks today, on His term of course."
            Because I don't think that is the conclusion I would have drawn from what you originally stated.

            But let me ask again, how are you defining "listening"? What are you listening to?
            I hear people say that all the time; "We need to listen to what God is saying."
            And I have no idea, outside of reading the Bible, what "listening to God" even means or what that looks like.
            I honestly would like to know; what are you listening to?

            (thank you for taking the time to interact with me. I appreciate it as I struggle to understand.)

          • ronedmondson says:

            Well, God's primary voice today is through HIs written word. He does still speak to people. I'm not one to limit Him in how He speaks, but if we aren't “listening” we'll miss it. I guess I would be less inclined to tell you “how” to listen, because in Scriptures, once He used a donkey, once a burning bush, a few times a dream. Again, primarily He speaks through HIs word today, in my personal experience. I would tend to want to concentrate on getting to know HIm through a relationship, which again (and again and again) develops by spending time in His Word. Once we know the God of the Bible we will be better able to discern His voice when He speaks in other ways. Read Isaiah 30:20.You might order the old study Experiencing God, by Henry Blackaby. Still one of the best at helping us understand how to know the voice of God. In my own life, I've probably heard from God in the Scriptures 90% of the time. I've also heard HIm through other people (such as a preacher on Sunday mornings) and through an inner voice. I couldn't describe that to you…I just know, because of my relationship with God, that it was God.You might read some of my other writings on this subject :

          • rockstarkp says:

            Thank you. That does clarify what you are saying a bit.
            God Bless.

          • rockstarkp says:

            I've been thinking a lot about this in the past week and something keeps bugging me.

            You say: "I've also heard HIm [sic] through an inner voice."

            Do you know of anyone in the Bible that would describe God talking to them through an inner voice, or even anyone in church history that would describe talking to them through an inner voice?
            I can't find any, and it seems like a new invention of how God talks to His people in the past 100 years or so.

            Saying "I couldn't describe that to you…I just know, because of my relationship with God, that it was God," seem very subjective and leaves no room for any correction if what you heard was possibly not from God.
            You might believe that the "inner voice" was from God, but how could know that? What if I don't believe you?
            Why do you think God would want to speak to us today in such a subjective manner?

          • ronedmondson says:

            Honestly, it feels like you have a pre determined idea that God only speaks through His written word. I believe just as He spoke in the Old Testament to men and women, He can speak today through the Holy Spirit. Throughout Acts God directed their paths…the Spirit led them. I'm not going to try to convince you here. I would suggest you read Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby if you've not. He does the best job of anyone I know of writing about this issue of how God speaks today.
            God bless

          • rockstarkp says:

            When it comes to faith and practice, I do rely on what the Bible says. I try not to add to it.
            I'm open to God speaking to me however he chooses.
            I understand that the Spirit led God's people in Acts, however I don't see how that would be equal to an "inner voice".
            Yes, God has used amazing ways to communicate to use, from donkeys to angels to burning bushes.
            God can communicate how God wants to.

            The thing is, I did read that book about 10 years ago. It left me more confused than clear, and I've been seeking answers and direction ever since.
            What I never get when I ask my question is a clear answer. It's always what you have done too: "go read this book." Or something like that.

            Are there really no Bible verse on God talking to us with an inner voice?
            Are you conceding that the Bible does not talk about "inner voices" from God?
            This should be a yes or no question, or maybe my question isn't clear.

          • ronedmondson says:

            i'm simply not argumentative on this blog so this is probably my last comment. We can agree to disagree. I think you are looking for a phrase to appear in Scripture for me to prove my point. Some people do the same with the word leadership, saying, "where is that word in Scripture". Okay, no argument. It may not be there. And, it may not be there that says an "inner voice".

            Let's call it something else. Let's call it "God led me", such as in Romans 8,
            "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." How is one led? How do people today know what God wants them to do? How, for example, do I know God wants me to pastor a certain church or preach from a certain passage or give to a certain cause? I know, because the Spirit leads me. I can't find a specific verse that says that in Jan 2012, to share with His people from the book of Galatians, but I can be led by the Spirit of God.

            Again and again and again, God speaks primarily through His written word, but I believe in a God who is active even today and, who through the Spirit of God, by the power of and faith in Jesus Christ, still is leading people today. Label that in a way that makes you comfortable.

          • rockstarkp says:

            Right. And I don't want to be argumentative either.
            You are the first person to give me any scripture at all.
            I know that if I search for the term "inner voice" in the Bible that it does not show up. Just like how the work "trinity" is not in the Bible either. But there are Bible verses that show the God is 3-in-1.

            I understand your point on Romans 8 and would not disagree with you on what you are saying. Thank you for that.

            Thanks for your time.
            God bless.

  • thequietstreet says:

    This is lovely, thank you.

  • Dan Thomson says:

    This is exactly where I am right now. Thanks for sharing. My wife and I feel called to a place, just need to trust God to put the road in front of us. Great words! Encouraging.

  • Melissa says:

    Another great post (and how many is that?)….thank you. Our world is too cluttered. It has to be our choice to listen for His guidance. I choose today to quiet my mind…

    Enjoyed the service at Kenwood. GREAT message, but my index card turned into a grocery list on one side! How ironic that one side is the "be still" side and the flip side the busy side….I will choose to keep the word listing side up….the above post is timely.

    Have a great day Ron and family. Thank you.