I love the story of Samuel in the Old Testament. As a young boy he ends up serving in the temple under the priest Eli. Eli had grown old and his sons were out of control, but there was Samuel – faithfully doing what the priest should be doing.
There’s an interesting line at the beginning of 1 Samuel 3:
1 The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
The word of the Lord was rare.
Ever felt like that? Like the word of the Lord was rare or even absent in your life? I’ve gone through seasons where I wondered if God was still listening. Or whether he was even present at all anymore.
In the story, Eli the priest seems to have given up hearing from God. The last time he heard from God it wasn’t good news and it’s almost as if he’s quit on everything. And so we see this interesting detail:
2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel.
Did you catch that? Eli is in “his usual place” while Samuel is lying down “in the house of the Lord.” And guess who hears from God?
Here’s the thing. If the word of the Lord is rare in your life, maybe it’s because you are doing what you usually do. Maybe your “usual place” isn’t where you need to be. The truth is that if you do what you usually do, you’ll get what you usually get.
For me, I find that I hear most clearly from God when I get out of my usual routines and do something different. It’s when I get out on a lake to fish. When I go to another city and get away from my normal work for a few days. If the word of the Lord is rare in your life, break a routine. Fast, pray, change something. Take a different route home. Turn off the radio. Silence the social media. Go to a conference. Sit on a dock. Go for a walk.
I’m praying for you this week to hear the voice of God in your life.
*For a full message I did on this subject, check out this podcast.