Hollywood has produced many creative versions of what talking with God might look like. Such movies as the comedy “Oh God!” (1977) has George Burns starring as God appearing to a supermarket manager Jerry Landers, played by John Denver. Jim Carrey talked with God in “Bruce Almighty” (2003) with Morgan Freeman playing God and then Freeman appeared again in the sequel “Evan Almighty” (2007). “The Ten Commandments” (1956) staring Charlton Heston had the most biblical portrayal of God’s voice coming from a pillar of fire and a burning bush. There is a lot of mystery around how we hear God’s voice and unfortunately, most of the portrayals are either overly creative or about someone who’s crazy.
As a Christian leader, don’t you want to hear God’s voice? You face tough decisions every day and a simply phone call to heaven to be sure you are doing the right thing would be such a relief. How can you know you are truly doing God’s will? What’s it like to hear God’s voice?
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?” Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel! And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:7-10 NLT)
Without trying to address all the theological implications around hearing the voice of God, let me just say there are some basic principles in this passage that can help guide us as Christian leaders.
First: Seek out godly mentors who have followed faithfully after God for a long time. They will have fruit in their life and leadership that has been produced through wisdom and discernment. Second: When you are not sure what to do, pursue wise council from those godly mentors in your life. Third: You have to be still and willing to listen. Start with the simple prayer, “speak Lord, your servant is listening”.
We have two amazing advantages over Samuel when it comes to hearing the voice of God. We have the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to guide us in His truth. Begin there. God’s voice will always be consistent with His written word because what we read is what was spoken by God to the writers of the Bible.
Take time today to meditate on God’s word and be still, you are in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to reveal His truth to you, seek wise council and begin hearing God’s voice.
“To have God speak to the heart is a majestic experience, an experience that people may miss if they monopolize the conversation and never pause to hear God’s responses.” ~ Charles Stanley