One of the most frequently considered topics in the spiritual world is how to hear from your source, in my case, God. Let’s consider some case studies about listening to and for God.
Samuel: Samuel is an interesting case. He was a boy dedicated before birth to God for work at the temple. One night he heard a voice. He checked with his spiritual leader, Eli, who told him he didn’t call Samuel. Samuel heard the voice again, and asked Eli again, who said no again. On the third time, Eli realized that it was God calling and told Samuel that the next time he heard the voice to say “Speak Lord, your servant listens.” Samuel heard the voice again, and spoke as Eli instructed, and God gave Samuel his first message of many throughout his God-dedicated life. (If you’re not familiar with this part of Samuel’s story, you can check out 1 Samuel 3)
Ezekiel: Ezekiel had many visions from God throughout his, and the Israelites, captivity around the 6th century BC. God told Ezekiel He was sending him to Israel to be a prophet. (Check out Ezekiel 2 for Ezekiel’s commissioning).
Saul/Paul: Probably one of the more dramatic examples of hearing from God, Saul was ‘taken down’ by God on his way to Damascus. God blinded Saul with a bright light, and told him that he would no longer persecute God’s people. Saul learned from this experience, was baptized shortly and led a God-centered life, sharing God with everyone he met for the rest of his life. (Check out Acts 9 for Saul’s first encounter with God)
What can these 3 men teach us about listening and hearing from God.
1-Sometimes we don’t know it’s God! Maybe you’re not in the practice of listening while you pray, you just dump on God and leave. Or perhaps you don’t recognize the way God is talking to you. Samuel was used to God speaking through Eli and other prophets, and what was shared in synagogue, not directly to him. So he wasn’t prepared to actually hear God.
2-Listen! Eli instructed Samuel to say “Speak Lord, your servant listens!” Samuel stopped talking and trying to find answers and just listened.
3-It may not be your time yet. God could have spoken to Ezekiel sooner, but he waited until he and the Israelites were in captivity to speak to, and through, him.
4-You may have a dramatic encounter with God like Saul. They’re less frequent and typical than other ways of hearing from God, but you can’t mistake it, and certainly won’t forget it.
Spending regular time with God will increase the likelihood that you will hear from God, and know how God speaks to you. But if you’re not taking time to listen (are too busy talking), God may be waiting for you to be quiet to speak.
I encourage you to share your frustrations, and experiences in hearing from God, below.