The Bible is full of instances where God speaks very clearly and significantly, as He spoke to Samuel in today’s text. The initial problem was that Samuel didn’t recognise the voice and assumed it was Eli calling him. Samuel heard a whisper in the night! When he was assured it was the Lord speaking he responded in childlike simplicity, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.” God still whispers in the night, and when He does, the wise thing may be to hold it in your heart and wait for Him to fulfil what He’s spoken rather than broadcasting what He’s said. Of course, sometimes we need to test an experience with a wise, godly person.
God still speaks today to countless people in countless ways. I’m in touch with missionaries whom God has called to work among refugees in a relatively free border country in the Middle East. Their little church, which began with a handful of people less than ten years ago, now numbers over a thousand. Many of these are Muslims who’ve come to living faith in Jesus because He’s revealed Himself to them in dreams and visions. God will always speak through Jesus. People who were seeking Allah were found by Jesus. A genuine revelation of Jesus also brings about transformation in our lives. It’s an act of sovereign grace, often to call us into His purposes.
Probably the way God most often speaks is through His word. As we read the Scriptures something may seem to jump from the page, so we know this is God’s personal word for us. As we listen to sound preaching the Scriptures can similarly come alive. Sometimes the Holy Spirit recalls scriptures, we’ve memorised years ago, to speak to us. He makes the written word the living word for today, for whatever purpose He may choose.
Other times God speaks to us through the pressure of circumstances. Sometimes we’re faced with difficult circumstances through which we make every effort to solve ourselves instead of listening to what our Father in heaven may want to say to us. He may have allowed the circumstances so that we stop struggling in our own strength and turn to Him, our faithful, unchangeable God, who’ll never leave or forsake us.
I guess we’ve all experienced the storms which sometimes feel overwhelming. In every storm there’s a purpose. Many years ago the way ahead had been made absolutely clear to me. I was preparing to journey in a new direction when, suddenly, I began counting the cost. My reading for the next day included a quote by Oswald Chambers, “If you do not loose the moorings, God will bring a storm to break them, and send you out.” It was a timely word, which led me to confess my double-mindedness and avoid the storm.
God speaks to us through creation and through many creative things which fill our lives. He speaks to us through other people, but, because each one of us unique and special, He’ll speak to us in different ways. We’re all indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who’ll continue to speak to believers as counsellor, comforter and guide.
How wonderful that one of the names for God is Father – a loving intimate Father, who not only speaks, but graciously gives us a heart and ears to recognise His voice and willingness to obey it.
Prayer: ‘Speak Lord, in the stillness, while I wait on Thee, hush my heart to listen in expectancy. For the words Thou speakest, they are life indeed. Living word from heaven, now my spirit feed’. Father, as You speak to me please give me the grace to hear and to obey, so that my life will glorify Jesus. Amen.
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