Samuel was just a boy. He was growing up in the temple in Shiloh, learning about the various responsibilities of a priest. It was a dark time spiritually in Israel. The word of the Lord was rare, but not silent.
One night, Samuel heard the Lord call his name. He got up and ran to his mentor, the old priest Eli. But Eli was not the one calling Samuel. Two more times Samuel heard the voice calling him and mistakenly thought it was Eli.
Finally, Eli realized the Lord was calling the boy. He instructed Samuel to go back to bed and wait. If the Lord called again, Samuel was to say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9).
The Bible tells us that Samuel failed to recognize the Lord’s call “because the word of the Lord had not been revealed to him” (1 Samuel 3:7). He knew about God, but he did not know God personally.
To know God personally, Samuel, needed to have the word of the Lord revealed to him. The Bible speaks often about the word of the Lord. By the power of his word, God spoke into existence the universe, all that is, was, and ever will be.
Jesus quoted the Old Testament when he was tempted by Satan, saying, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The word of the Lord is life itself!
The frequent appearances of the phrase “word of the Lord” in the Bible remind us that he is a God who speaks. God wants to reveal his character and his plan to us. God’s desire is that we know him and that we share in his kingdom work and kingdom victory.
It is not enough for us to have a vague awareness of some “higher power.” God is powerful, yes, but he is also personal. He wants us to experience more than his power. He wants us to know his love, wisdom, holiness, grace, mercy, patience, kindness, and more. He wants us to hear his word.
Jesus is God’s ultimate communication to us about himself and his plan. Jesus is the Word who became flesh and dwelt for a while among us (John 1:1, 14). “My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus said, “I know them and they follow me” (John 10:27). We are his flock.
God is both one who speaks and one who writes. Over a period of more than a thousand years, on three different continents, in three different languages, God patiently and carefully produced his written word, the Holy Bible. For thousands of years he has guarded and guided its transmission so that we can read his perfect word for ourselves in our heart language.
God has called, empowered, and sent his servants to preach, teach, and communicate his word. These gifted people are given by God to his people to give a human voice to his word.
By the power of his Spirit dwelling in the hearts of his redeemed sons and daughters, God gives believers the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the heart to receive his word.
What an incredible effort God has made to speak to us! Will we take the time and make the effort to listen? Do we have a desire for the power of God’s word to take root in our souls and bear spiritual fruit that will last?
May God inspire us and enable us to hear his voice and to follow him faithfully,