Day 10 - Call
Day 10 - listen here
1 Samuel 3: 3-6, 8-10
. . . Samuel was sleeping in the Temple, where the Ark of God was. And the Lord called, ‘Samuel, Samuel.’ And he said, ‘Look – it’s me.’
And he ran to Eli and said, ‘Look – it’s me; for you called me.’ And he said, ‘I did not call you; go back to sleep.’ And he went back to sleep. And once more the Lord called, ‘Samuel, Samuel,’ and he went a second time to Eli, and said ‘Look – it’s me, for you called me.’ And he said ‘I did not call you; go back to sleep.’
. . .
And once more the Lord called Samuel, for the third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Look – it’s me; for you called me.’ And Eli had the wisdom to see that it was the Lord who had called the boy, and he said, ‘Go back to sleep, child, and it shall be that if he calls you, then you are to say, “Speak, Lord, for your slave is listening.”’ And Samuel went and lay down in his place.
And the Lord came and stood, and called him as on each previous occasion; and Samuel said, ‘Speak – for your slave is listening.’
On God’s first and second call, Samuel mistakes the voice of God for the voice of the priest, Eli. Only on the third time, upon Eli’s advice, does he recognize that God is speaking. Samuel had not been hitherto unwilling to hear God, but rather unable to distinguish God’s voice from other voices.
This reminds us of the process of discernment undertaken between an honestly discerning person and their spiritual guide. Neither party might get it right at the beginning, but through persistent attempts, the voice of God should begin to emerge from the “noise”.
Samuel along with other biblical figures hears the voice of God directly. We need not doubt this. With due allowance for schizophrenic delusion or overheated imagination, credible people today continue to report hearing from God without an intermediary.
This is not, however, the normal way. God might awaken me at 2am next week with a message, but it is wise to expect that He will continue to speak to me through my conscience, Scripture, the Church, the created world and trustworthy friends – perhaps with the help of a spiritual guide.
Lord, You are the one who calls me. But I am sometimes not sure whether I am hearing you, or the voice of another, or simply my own voice.
Please help me to distinguish your voice from the noise.
Thank you for the aids that you have given me in Scripture, the Church, and friends to help me.
And thank you for those who accompany me on my walk.
Give your wisdom to them, and to me, so that together we can discern your guidance.
Lord, say whatever you wish: I am here to listen to you.