Dave spoke this morning from John 1:43-51 TNIV about how Jesus called Philip and Nathanael to follow Him. The call of God has been much on our minds recently with the changes in church leadership, but the call of God actually comes to every believer. Sometimes, however, we fail to hear God, perhaps because we are unaware of how He speaks or because we tend to ignore His voice. Samuel is a good example of one who had to learn to recognise God’s voice. He was a special gift of God to the barren Hannah who was brought up in the very presence of God and yet when God first spoke to him, he thought it was the priest, Eli, calling. It took Eli’s insight to recognise that this was God’s voice and Samuel needed to hear God for himself, as we all do.
Often we are confused about whether God is speaking or not, perhaps believing it is ‘just us’ or a dream caused by eating too much cheese at night! God often seems to speak subtly and quietly and it takes practice in listening to hear His voice. Sometimes our preconceptions and prejudices prevent us from recognising God’s voice (Nathanael clearly didn’t expect anything good to come from Nazareth!) But as we listen to God – through reading His word, through the meetings at church, through prayer which allows time for God to speak, through other Christians – we will learn to hear His call, for He has a personal plan for each one of us and is seeking us out and calling us by name. As we practise listening to God, so we will hear His voice more clearly and then the challenge is for us to respond to that call. When we hear God, we have the promise that we will see heaven open: revelation comes and the invisible world is revealed to us. We are called to respond, however, for a failure to respond will lead to us missing out on so much that God has planned for us.