The other day I woke up with this phrase on my mind: “and as you speak”. Just that random phrase. No dream, nada! After going about wondering what it meant, the story of Samuel came to mind.
“Suddenly the Lord called out, ‘Samuel!’ ‘Yes?’ Samuel replied. “What is it?’ He got up and ran to Eli. ‘Here I am. Did you call me?’ ‘I didn’t call you,’ Eli replied. ‘Go back to bed.’ So he did. Then the Lord called out again, ‘Samuel!’ Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. ‘Here I am. Did you call me?’ ‘I didn’t call you, my son,’Eli said. ‘Go back to bed.’ Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. ‘Here I am. Did you call me?‘” (1 Samuel 3:4-9)
When Eli realized that it was God calling the kid, he told him to go back; lie down and if he hears someone calling his name again to just say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’ (1 Samuel 3:10).
HEARING VS LISTENING
When we know God, we know His voice. It’s not about hearing God speak; it’s about listening to what He is saying. Hearing is the act of perceiving a sound. You can hear someone speak without actually listen to their words. Now because Samuel did not know God, he was hearing but not listening up until Eli told him to listen. Listening is the ability to receive and interpret a message. It requires concentration in order to process meaning from words and sentences.
With all that said, many believers today don’t know God. They know about Him but they don’t know Him. Knowing Him means recognizing His voice in a world full of distractions.
Are you familiar with the cocktail party effect? The cocktail party effect refers to the ability to focus one’s attention on a particular stimulus while filtering out a range of other stimuli. For example when a person is able to focus on a single talker or conversation in a noisy environment.
When it comes to God, it’s the same thing. The moment He speaks, your attention should immediately shift to the sound of His voice.
Whose voice has your attention today?