I am sure that many of you have received, at one time or another, a
message from God. I am also sure that the moment He spoke will forever
be engraved in your hearts. In fact, some of you may have received more
than one message from the Lord, and there are a few who receive regular
messages. But why such a variance in frequency amongst believers? Isn't
hearing God's voice one of the gifts of Salvation? Shouldn't we all be
receiving an abundance of revelation?
If you look through the Bible, you will see that a variance in frequency of revelation is common. Some in the Bible only received one or two recorded messages from God. Hagar is a good example (See Genesis 21), as is King Belteshassar (See Daniel 5) and King Nebuchadnezzar (See Daniel 2 & 4). When we study the Scriptures, however, we also see that there are many who received multiple revelations from God: Abraham, Daniel, David, Isaiah, etc.
Why such a variance in frequency of God's revelations?
I believe that at least part of the answer can be found in the story of Samuel.
As we know, despite the fact that Eli the High Priest's reputation as a father was poor (see 1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-26), Samuel was placed by his mother into Eli's care at a very young age (see 1 Samuel 1:24-28). During this sad time in the history of the priesthood, Eli received messages from the Lord through prophets; but that they did not have any impact on his sons' wickedness (1 Samuel 2:22-26). Then we see the Lord beginning to reveal Himself to Samuel through Samuel's famous nighttime calling (1 Samuel 3:1-15), and we see that Samuel, after this, had many, many personal encounters with God.
Why did God speak directly to Samuel, but not to Eli? Why did God visit Samuel many times, and not just once?
I believe the answer lies, in part anyway, in the recipient's response to God's messages. Eli's messages, warning against his sons, did nothing to change the situation. Samuel's response, however, was different. Though he received a very difficult message, one that kept him from sleeping the rest of the night: "So Samuel lay down until morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision." (1 Sam 3:15, NKJV), when Eli asked him about the message, "Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him" (1 Samuel 3:18a). Interestingly, the very next verse tells us that God continued to reveal Himself regularly to Samuel: "So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD. Then the LORD appeared again in Shiloh. For the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD." (1 Sam 3:19-21, NKJV)
What about us? Do we take God's revelations seriously? Do we share them? Do we allow them to work change in our hearts? Do we use them in their intended fashion? Do we give glory to God when we receive them? Or do we bury them, pretend they never happened, downplay them, or convince ourselves that they are not of God?
Like Samuel, we need to take God's revelations seriously. We need to apply them to our lives, allowing them to work change in our hearts, and if the message includes someone else, we need to share it.
My youngest son had a Samuel experience when he was about 7 years old. God visited him in the night and mapped out for him his life's work. He shared it with his parents, and he began to plan his life around this God-given goal. True enough, there were times throughout the years that he turned away from that message, but God always brought him back. My son is now in Bible school preparing himself for the calling God placed on his heart at age 7. Any wonder that he regularly hears from the Lord?
Let's resolve together to recognize that the voice of the Lord is special. Let's act upon it. Let's give God the glory for revealing Himself to us, for when we do, we may be opening the door for many further revelations!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.