“Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.”
1 Samuel 3:9-10 KJV
What does your Mother's voice sound like? How do you know when she's calling you? How do you know when someone is speaking on her behalf, it's true?
It almost sounds silly to ask, but you know your Mother's voice because you've heard it your whole life. Of course you know what she sounds like! You've known her since even before you were born, so you have a good sense of her character. When you get a text from her you can basically hear the inflections of her voice in your head.
You know her.
We can apply this same principle to our relationship with God. When we want to hear from Him, we have to learn His voice. We need to understand Him well enough to know His tone when He's speaking to us. We have to be sure to know Who He is, so we can be sure of who He is not.
In today's scripture, we're reading the first time that God speaks to Samuel directly. Samuel's first reaction is to go to Eli, his leader and mentor. Samuel was so accustomed to God's voice through Eli, the first time he heard from God for himself, he thought it was his leader.
When we are developing our relationship with God, our leaders have the very weighty responsibility of teaching us how to hear God for ourselves. Our leaders are our first lessons in hearing God. When we are unfamiliar with God's voice, our leaders are the bridge to get us from our state of unfamiliarity to close relationship with God. Our leaders already know what God's voice sounds like, because they have experience hearing His voice.
Our leaders teach us from this experience how to hear God for our selves, but until we can hear God on our own, it is so important that we follow our leaders so that we can learn.
Once Eli realized that Samuel was hearing from God, Eli instructed Samuel on how to respond to God: in affirmation.
When we hear from God we have to answer Him with a willing heart. God will guide us, He will asks/require things of us, He will give us information about our lives, and He will reaffirm the things we already know. God will also warn us against things and prepare us for hardships to come. God talks to us because He wants to build our relationship with Him, just as we desire to be close to Him. God knows that trust is established through the sharing of information with us, but we won't be able to form that trust if we disregard what He is trying to tell us.
This is why we make a habit of reading our Bible, and praying. This is how we learn who God is and begin to experience Him for ourselves. We read our Bible to get familiar with God's voice, we pray so that we can talk to Him and to allow ourselves the opportunity to hear from Him directly.
Miracles and wonders are so much easier to identify because they can often feel like "big" moments is our faith. Yet, to be able to hear God in the quiet moments is something of miracle in itself, why wouldn't we want to experience that too?