4 Things We Can Learn about Hearing God’s Voice from Samuel

Samuel was the son of Hannah, who had desired a son very badly and prayed to the Lord for him. The Lord responded affirmatively and gave Hannah a precious baby boy. Hannah was so grateful that she dedicated Samuel for a lifetime of work to God. So, Samuel went to live with a priest, Eli, to learn from him. One of the crucial things that Eli taught Samuel was how to listen when God calls.

What Is the Story of When God Calls Samuel?

In 1 Samuel 3, Samuel awoke in the night when he heard someone call out his name. He ran to Eli because he thought he had called him. Eli said that he hadn’t called his name and Samuel should go back to bed.

Samuel went back to bed, but soon he heard a voice call his name again, so he again went to Eli. Again, Eli told him that he hadn’t called him. Samuel went back to bed.

He heard the voice calling his name a third time. Samuel again got up and went to Eli’s bedside.

Eli finally came to the realization: God calls Samuel. So, he told Samuel if he hears the voice again, say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”

The Lord did call again, and Samuel replied that he was listening. Then the Lord confided in Samuel that He was going to do a shocking thing. He warned that judgment was coming to Eli and his family because Eli’s sons had blasphemed God and Eli had not corrected them (1 Samuel 2:12-36).

The next morning, Samuel was understandably afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had said. But Eli insisted, so Samuel told him everything. Eli didn’t get angry with Samuel. He humbly submitted to the Lord’s discipline.

And because of his obedience, Samuel began a lifelong relationship with God.

4 Things We Can Learn about Hearing God’s Voice from When God Calls Samuel

1. Learning the Voice of God. Samuel didn’t know God’s voice was actually God’s voice at first. He had to learn it. It takes some time to learn what is and isn’t God’s voice. When you are born again, you gain the ability to hear from God, but you have to learn how to discern a clear message. This can often take time and practice. We might even mishear a few things at first.

2. God Is Patient with Us. Samuel didn’t know God’s voice right away, but God kept calling Samuel until he listened. God will give us second and third chances to hear from Him. Just as a sheep learns a shepherd’s voice, we will eventually learn our Good Shepherd’s voice as well. God will keep calling and knocking until we do. But we must value that voice by making time in our busy schedules to hear it. We also need to be still and step away from the world’s noise and distractions.

3. Counsel from Others Helps Us to Discern. Eli knew that Samuel had never heard God’s voice before, so he helped him to realize what was happening. Sometimes we need other people to help us know if something is God’s voice. God speaks in many ways. He primarily speaks through the Bible and the Holy Spirit. But He also speaks through circumstances in our lives, counsel from other people, a peace deep within our heart, other people being obedient to share something with us, dreams and visions, our thoughts, nature, and even miracles.

4. Obedience Follows Listening. When God speaks, we first listen, and then we are obedient to what He tells us. When we are obedient, God will know that we are a reliable servant and will therefore speak to us again. A disciple longs to hear God’s affirmation of well done, good and faithful servant. Getting there begins with an open heart that is willing to listen.

How to Apply These Lessons to Our Daily Lives

We can hear God’s voice too, even today. First, we need to get alone with God and make time to pray and listen to Him. We need to set aside time to regularly meet with God in a specific time and place. This shows dedication to God. We need to be still and worship Him by quieting our minds in reverence to the Holy God.

The typical way God speaks to us is through impressions as we read our Bible. It’s not the only way but it’s the primary way. Every book of the Bible tells of God speaking to people. God loves to speak to His people. He doesn’t just want people to do His bidding. He desires to communicate with us. He longs for a relationship with us. He wants us to know Him, so we feel free to talk with Him as a friend. We should read our Bibles, but not just for head knowledge. We should read it regularly as a way to commune with God.

When we do hear His voice, we need to obey what He says. And then continue in our quest to know Him better because He loves us so dearly.


Don’t let the loud noises of the world drown out God’s voice in your life. Be still and listen for His voice. Just as God calls Samuel, He speaks to us in many ways today as well. God whispers things to a willing heart and as long as the things we hear don’t contradict Scripture, we might be hearing directly from God. The more we are in a relationship with God, the more we will hear His voice.

God’s voice also helps us to quench our innate desire to sin because sin impedes our ability to hear from God. Before Adam and Eve sinned, they walked with and talked with God regularly. After they sinned, they heard God’s voice and were afraid. When our consciences are clean, we are in a better place to hear from God.

Jesus longs to speak to us. He no longer calls us servants. He calls us friends and His beloved. So be still and listen for heavenly wisdom and discernment. When you hear His voice, simply say, “Speak, Lord, your child is listening.”

Listening is very important to God. In the book of Revelation, Jesus speaks to the seven churches and at the end of each church’s message He says, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says.” God clearly tells us how much He loves us. He also has clearly shown us how far He went to save us. Listening leads to our salvation and our victory.

Dear Lord, help me to be still so I can hear every good word that You are inclined to give me. I want to commune with you with no hindrances. I want to learn more about You every day. I want to be strengthened with the power of Your Holy Spirit daily. I desire You to dwell with me in my heart and show me Your truth and ways. And may I continually grow in my ability to grasp just how wide and long and high and deep Your love really is. I desire a deep relationship with You because You desire a deep relationship with me. Amen.

Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk. Her debut novel is available on Amazon. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at her website and/or on Facebook.