The Weekly Word - A Devotion for the Week of June 7
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” (1 Samuel 3:8)
It’s not always easy to identify the voice of God. There’s a lot of noise out there -- multiple distractions and myriad, conflicting forces (not the least of which is our own ego) – all vying for our attention and pulling us in different directions. Even in the quiet of nighttime, the voices in our own head can easily drown out the voice of God.
When God called Samuel in the middle of the night, the young boy mistook God’s voice for that of his mentor, Eli. Each time God called out, “Samuel!” the boy jumped out of bed and answered Eli, “Here I am; you called me,” to which Eli – confused and undoubtedly annoyed at being awakened – responded, “Go back to bed. I didn’t call your name.”
The two went back and forth like this until finally Eli realized Samuel wasn’t dreaming or hearing random voices, but rather, was being called by God. Eli instructed the boy to return to bed and reply, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,” when he heard the voice call down to him again.
This story is a reminder that each of us needs at least one “Eli” in our lives -- someone who can help us hear the voice of God when we are distracted, overwhelmed, confused or simply not listening. The “Elis” in our lives speak God’s truth to us when we need to hear it. Our “Elis” can help us discern when God is calling us and point us in a direction that aligns with God’s will.
We aren’t always able to discern God’s voice clearly, but thankfully, God gives us our own “Elis” when we need them – people who recognize God’s voice on our behalf and can point us back toward Him.
Gracious God, I am easily distracted and don’t always recognize when You are calling me or leading me in a particular direction. Help me listen to those around me who can help me to discern Your will for me. And likewise, help me be an Eli for others who might be struggling to hear You. Amen.