Speak, your servant is listening (v.10).
One day my son Alex and I took a “listening walk” around our neighborhood. We circled the block in silence and then settled on the front step of our house to name the sounds we heard. I mentioned geese honking and the scuffing of our shoes on the sidewalk. Alex talked about a car horn, the grinding of garbage trucks retrieving trash, and an airplane’s engine overhead.
Listening is an important skill. It requires us to abandon our own inner dialogue and to let go of the urge to express our views. Listening has a place in our everyday lives, as well as in our spiritual lives.
As a young boy, the prophet Samuel listened to God. Samuel woke up one night when someone called his name. When he recognized God’s voice (1 Samuel 3:7), he said, “Speak, your servant is listening” (v.10). Samuel’s response was humble and open. He humbly identified his “servant status” before the Lord, and He invited God to continue His message.
Samuel made it possible for God to go on by staying quiet. In fact, Samuel spoke only five words. His silence allowed God to tell him about some impending events (vv.11-14) and showed that the one who speaks less will often listen more.
Proof that Samuel had truly listened to God came the next morning when his superior—Eli the priest—asked what God had said. “Samuel told Eli everything; he didn’t hold anything back” (v.18). Being able to repeat what God says to us shows that we’re tuned in to Him.
Although God spoke to Samuel directly (v.1), He usually speaks to us today through His Word. When we read the Bible, are we open, humble, and silent enough to absorb what He’s saying? Can we share God’s message with others? Is our walk with God a “listening walk”?
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
When was the last time you invited God to speak to you through the reading of His Word? What is the relationship between listening and silence?