Music from the Heart: Speak to Me by Rebecca St. James
Sometimes sleep escapes me. I can be physically wiped out and so ready for sleep I can almost taste it, but sleep and all its sweet, restorative powers can still slip through my fingers like water. Around 1 AM this morning, I was in another one of my sleepless moments, and my spirit heard the whisper, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.”
I knew this line to be from the book of 1 Samuel, so I looked it up to read more of this familiar story. The boy Samuel was being raised in the temple by the priest Eli. On this particular night, Samuel was also having trouble sleeping. He kept hearing a voice calling his name, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Three times he heard his name, and each time, thinking it was Eli calling for him, Samuel got up and went to the old man of God to inquire of him what he wanted. It was only after the third time that Eli finally realized what was happening. The Lord Himself was addressing the boy. The story reads:
The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.”
Samuel did as he was instructed, and the Lord began to speak to him about what He was about to do.
There are many things that fascinate me about this story, but for the sake of time and space I’ll focus on just a couple for now. Verses 3 and 4 tell us this:
Then the LORD called Samuel.”
At this time in history, the ark was where the presence of the Lord dwelt. Samuel was already resting in the presence of the Lord. He was in the perfect place to hear the voice of the Lord, and his spirit was ready to hear, as he was not busy, but resting.
The Lord didn’t just start telling Samuel what He wanted him to hear. He got Samuel’s attention by calling his name. Calling someone by their name makes the relationship personal. The Lord wanted a personal encounter with Samuel, and He ensured this by calling Samuel by his name. It was only after the Lord had Samuel’s full attention that He began to share with him what was on His heart.
I have been walking with the Lord for thirty-something years now, and our relationship is real and personal. I do hear Him speaking to me and I do recognize His voice. But I believe that He is calling His people to a deeper level of intimacy – a place of quiet and rest where our spirits can more readily hear His voice. The Lord commands rest, and in today’s world, with its frantic busy-ness and never-ending flow of media entertainment and information, it is more crucial than ever that we slow down and obey the command for rest. We MUST intentionally place ourselves in a place and position of rest so that we are able to hear what He wants to say. His voice is not just another constantly streaming channel that we can tune in to in order to hear what He is saying. Like Samuel, we must respond to the personal attempts by God to get our full attention before He will share His heart with us.
I don’t want to miss one word that He wants to tell me. I want to hear everything. As David commanded his soul to be still and know that God is God, so will I command my soul to be quiet and listen – listen for that unmistakable voice that settles every storm in me with a mere whisper.
Come and stand here, Lord. Share Your heart with me. Reveal Yourself to me. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.
and he let none of his words fall to the ground.
And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized
that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD.
The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh,
and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.”
1 Samuel 3: 19-21