Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O That Will Be Glory"1 (Lyrics)
The opening speaker at the health-related seminar that I recently attended, an 80-something-year-old, had an engaging and animated manner of speaking, and the audience was clearly connecting with her. The second speaker, however, though much younger, spoke with a slight accent. I had trouble at first understanding this speaker, and I missed a fair amount of what she said during the first few minutes. To my surprise, however, before long, I realized that I was understanding her much better. I was becoming accustomed to her vowel sounds, her tones, her inflection, and her cadence, and I was easily understanding everything that she was saying.
Was this some sort of linguistic miracle that had taken place? No. For one thing, I was making a concerted effort to listen carefully in order to understand what the speaker was saying. In addition, I was becoming accustomed to the sound and rhythm of her speech and was able to automatically make the necessary mental adjustments to allow for an accent that I wasn't used to.
When God spoke one night to young Samuel, the boy was at first mystified, not knowing Who was speaking to him. Eli understood the gravity of what was happening, however, and told Samuel that it was God Who was speaking. This time, Samuel listened carefully and understood the message.
1 Samuel 3:10 – And the Lord came and called as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel replied, "Speak, your servant is listening." (NLT)
God rarely speaks to us in an audible voice, but He clearly delivers His message to us through His Word, the Bible. He may also speak to us inaudibly through clear thoughts and impressions, or through undeniable — if intangible — ways of directing our paths. It is vital that we have open ears and hearts to hear God's voice so that we can follow His ways, honouring and pleasing Him. As we read His Word, we must carefully focus our thoughts, intently seeking to hear God's voice. Just as it took time for me to become accustomed to our speaker's way of speaking, so it may take time for us to grow deep and strong in God's ways as we continue to follow Him over our lifetime. The longer we listen to and heed His voice, the more we will recognize and understand it.
John 10:27 – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (NLT)
Actions for us to take:
- 1. Learn to hear and identify God's voice through prayer and careful and intentional reading of Scripture.
2. Strengthen and sharpen our "listening" ears through repeated obedience over our lifetime.
Prayer: O Lord, You speak to us in many ways, both through Your Word, the Bible, and through Your prompting in our inner being. May our spiritual ears be attuned to Your voice so that we can listen and obey. Amen.