Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10.

Today your LORD (יהוה) God says:

If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. Take care what you listen to. By what measure you measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Mark 4:23-25. My prophet Isaiah foretold and My Son and later the apostle Paul confirmed that people’s ears had grown sluggish and dull to hear Me, and their eyes dim and closed to see what I was revealing to them, but if they would just open their ears to hear and their eyes to see and return to Me that I would heal them. “For the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.” Matthew 13:15.

It is VERY important that you hear and know My voice. Do not follow a stranger’s voice. But if you do not know My voice you are easy prey to the stranger. Children know their parent’s voice. Spouses know each other’s voice. Close friends know each other’s voice. Even if your back is turned when your parent enters the room and calls your name you know without even turning around who that is.

Today we are beginning a new series called “How to Hear God’s Voice” with Life Lesson No. 1: “Speak LORD, Your servant is LISTENING.”

I want all to know Me from the least to the greatest, and that means I want every one of you to KNOW My voice as I know yours. When you call to Me, I answer YOU and tell YOU great and mighty things you could not know. Jeremiah 33:3. “On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3. David sang, “In my distress I called upon the LORD and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears.” Psalm 18:6. And then David goes on to tell how I rent the heavens and came down in answer to his cry and pulled him out of his trials to a wide and open space. I know your voice and I hear you. Even in the world today, investigators use voice prints to identify people. I have given each person a unique voice and there is a reason for that. I call you each by name and you are precious to Me. And I too have a unique voice so that you will discern when it is Me and My voice can be precious to you.

But to know My voice the first step is you must listen to Me to get familiar with it. You only know the voices of those you have heard and have involvement with in your life. This seems simple, but to hear My voice you must listen. And I mean really listen and not just do all the talking from your side. And sometimes you have to get away from the crowd and distracting voices to focus on Mine. I had to take both Moses and Elijah to the top of Mt. Horeb (Sinai) before I could get them to pay attention to what I was saying to them. But now, with My Spirit in you and on you, you are My temple anywhere you are, but you should not be pondering just every voice in your temple.

Let us begin with the story of how Samuel learned to hear My voice, because he progressed in a short time from not recognizing My voice or having even a clue I was the One speaking to him to being a prophet recognized in all of Israel who heard from Me constantly and continually. All his decisions, words, and actions were guided by what he heard from Me after he learned to hear My voice. And it can be even more so for you who not only have My Spirit with and on you but also in you.

You now hear from Me within your spirit, that is My indwelling Spirit speaking to your spirit, and then your spirit conveys My Words to your soul in your inner voice. But you will be able to discern My Voice because I tell you things you could not know and give you new insights about things you thought you knew. I answer questions when you ask Me and show you things. Often what I say will bring tears of sweet joy to your eyes but they start in your heart. But the way to discern that is best whether it is just your soul or My Spirit from whom you received the input is by applying My written Word on the subject, that is, ask Me for the scripture (or two for two witnesses) that is in keeping with what you have perceived. This should clear what is from your soul (mind, will, and emotions) and what is from your spirit (what My Spirit has input into your spirit), “For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. We will discuss this further in a Life Lesson yet to come.

Now turn your attention to the story of Samuel.

If you recall, Hannah, Samuel’s mother, was unable to conceive and bear a child for many years. This caused her extreme anguish and she did a lot of whining and complaining. She made her husband’s life miserable by her misery for many years. And it seemed to her I was not answering her prayers. But one day when she was pouring out her prayer in Shiloh, Eli noticed her and gave her encouragement. She got faith from his words that I had heard her and answered favorably. She was no more sad but rejoiced that I was giving her what she had prayed for. Her faith united with My promise to My people of being blessed with children and she conceived and bore a son, Samuel, whom she consecrated to Me and gave him to minister in the temple at Shiloh at a very young age. And after that she had five more children as she sang My praises.

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before the High Priest Eli. Eli did not know My Word or instruct others in it. The sons of Eli were sons of the devil; they did not know Me or the custom of the priests with the people. Eli let his sonsw sin against Me continually and defile the office of the priesthood without rebuking them, though I warned him about this. I sent a prophet who told him My Words: “’Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above Me by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of My people Israel?’ Therefore the LORD God of Israel declares, ‘I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever’; but now the LORD declares, ‘Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.” 1 Samuel 2:29-30. But Eli did not change, he feared to rebuke his sons. And there are many parents, even among believers, who do not instruct their children in My Word and let them live immoral, useless lives and do not rebuke them for fear they will lose their love. Eli and his sons, however, had opened their lives to the devil and it turned out in disaster for them all. They all died the same day.

But I kept trying to save Eli from this end and I knew he loved and respected Samuel as his own. So I next gave a Word to Samuel for Eli, but Samuel had not been instructed in My Word or My Law by Eli and though he ministered in My house, he did not recognize My voice, for a “word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.” 1 Samuel 3:1. When there is no Word, there is no vision, and when there is no vision the people act without restraint. Just like Eli and his two sons.

It happened at that time that one night as Eli was lying down in his place. Eli’s eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well, this began spiritually with no Word in him and the result was manifesting physically, and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, so you see there was still light there and it could be fanned into flame. Eli still had a heart towards Me though his sons did not, but he let himself side with his sons though he knew they were sinning. This happened with Jonathan, Saul’s son, also, and though he was aligned with David in heart, he stayed loyal to his sinning father and went down to death with him.

Now, Samuel was lying down in My temple where My ark was. This here is enough to alert you. Eli had put Samuel to sleep in the Holy of Holies, which was a grave dishonor to My house but I knew Samuel’s heart and I was not offended by it. I know what is in each man’s heart. He honored Me and did not know the rules since he had never been told.

I called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” But he did not recognize My voice so he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. I called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know Me, nor had My Word been revealed to him. So I called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that I was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Then I came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” I said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of My house. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “What is the word that He spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the words that He spoke to you.” So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the LORD; let Him do what seems good to Him.” I was warning Eli again that he needed to correct his sons but he would not. He ignored all My warnings and went forward letting them continue just as they were in immorality, greed, and oppression of My people.

Thus Samuel grew and I was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. Samuel recognized My voice and became a doer of My Word. He brought Israel back to the truth and led them to honor Me. All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of Mine. And I appeared again at Shiloh, because I revealed Myself to Samuel at Shiloh by My Word. Like Jeremiah much later, when My Words were found, Samuel devoured them and they became the joy and treasure of his heart. For the rest of his life he listened and followed My Word. Samuel. Shema El. He listened to, heard, and obeyed God. And that is what his name means.

Faith changed Hannah’s life and it produced the champion son that heard from God that she called in and named. Faith is a wonderful thing, it turns your life around, it fills your days with beauty and takes away your frown. It turns you into a prophet, telling the good news, that God is here among us making all things new.

I love you. You can hear from Me. You do hear from me. But you must listen. Samuel listened and I could tell him more. Eli would not listen and would not do what I told him and so the Word became scarce and visions infrequent. Samuel, or I should say Hannah, changed all that. By faith.