“Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”” 1 Samuel 3:10
Why do our telephone voice mil systems answer phone calls for us and take messages we can hear later – if we want? We’re not home, unavailable, too busy, sleeping, don’t hear the phone ring because we’re in the other room, or because the tv or radio are too loud, we’re caught up with “higher priorities”, we feel we have better things to do, are screening calls and choosing not to answer the phone when we don’t want to have a conversation with the person calling, because we’re not interested in the person, we don’t want to hear what the person has to say, we’re hiding from the person, we’ve pushed the person away, we know who is calling and don’t want to deal with the person, we’re avoiding the person calling, etc. Lots of reasons to not pick up the phone, and to use voice mail instead. We trust the caller can leave a message, so we record an outgoing message on our voice mail like, “Please leave a message.” Then we can listen to our voice mails and decide IF, WHEN, and HOW we’ll respond.
But this isn’t about phones and voice mail. It’s about the Lord and the way some of us are treating Him. It’s like we have a voice mail with the outgoing message, “Dear God, please leave a message.” Why? Because we’re “not home”, “unavailable”, “too busy”, “sleeping”, “don’t hear Him calling”, have “higher priorities”, etc. One of the saddest things I ever heard was a man wrongly telling people God no longer speaks to His people. Not only does God speak most importantly through His Word, the Bible, but He by His Spirit speaks to the hearts of His people individually with specific instructions, wisdom, comfort, encouragement, etc. for our individual lives. The problem isn’t God doesn’t speak to us, but that many of us aren’t studying His Word daily to hear His voice and are not taking the time daily to seek Him as He speaks to each and every one of us personally which always and only will be in line with His Word. We figure our “voice mail” will take any messages from Him so we can decide IF, WHEN, and HOW we’ll respond. Based on us being in full control of our lives rather than Him being LORD of our lives and Lord of all.
Dear God, please leave a message. If you’re not hearing from God, are you listening? Are you answering when He calls? Instead of telling God to leave a message when His Spirit speaks to our hearts, we need to give Him our devoted attention. Daily we need to shut the door on the world and spend dedicated time loving, worshiping, seeking, and hearing the Lord as we dive deep into His Word and sit lovingly and longingly, hungrily, and thirstily at His feet.
When the prophet Samuel heard the Lord calling him the first few times to give him instructions, he didn’t recognize God’s voice. We who are Christ’s sheep need to seek and recognize God’s voice, and hear and obey Him with love and reverence and thanksgiving that He who is Lord of all loves us so much He wants us in His fellowship through Christ and wants to speak to us His beloved children.