Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. 1 Samuel 3:1
My parents took me to college as a freshman, made sure I was registered and then made the 4 hour drive back home. I called them once or twice a week for the first two months as I was homesick. But before long, the dorm became my new home and my phone calls to my parents became less and less frequent. I found out later in life that my parents would call me frequently, but I never received the calls as we didn’t have call waiting or message machines in those days. I was rarely in my room except to sleep, which often was long past the time my parents had gone to bed for the night. And so contact with my parents became somewhat rare.
This experience reminds me of what life with God too often can become. He calls, but I’m too busy to answer. Sometimes I don’t even have the ringer of my phone turned on. I may even have my messages turned off. I am busy with work, pleasure, chores, ministry, thoughts, ambitions, dreams, heartaches, pain, failures, successes, and much, much more. Even if I did have my messages on, I wouldn’t have time to listen to them. Before I know it, I am “Now in those days…”
“Now in those days” has a context. Eli was so busy cleaning up the messes his wayward sons were making as priests that he didn’t have time to listen to God. His sons didn’t want to listen to God as they were determined to do as they pleased. Everyone else in Israel was busy with their lives as they had plenty to worry about with their crops, their own families, and hostile nations all around them. And so the messages from God were either ignored, unnoticed, or deleted. “Now in those days” God must have felt isolated, rejected, and alone. I can’t even imagine the pain God must have felt in those days. His own children wouldn’t even pick up the phone when He called. Even though His angels were around Him and He experienced the love within the Trinity Itself, there must have been a huge hole in His heart to be cut off from His children. Nothing is quite right when you can’t talk with those you love so much.
We know God was always there for the Israelites in those days because we read a few chapters later in 1 Samuel 12:22, “For the Lord will not abandon His people, because that would dishonor His great name. For it has pleased the Lord to make you His very own people.” Abandoning His people would dishonor His name because God is love. To stop calling on you and me is not in His nature, no matter how often we delete His messages. It would bring shame upon Him to stop contacting you because He is wired to connect, to love, to reach out, to talk and listen and understand you.
I don’t know about you, but I am ready to listen to the messages God is sending me every moment of every day. But to do that I will need to turn on my awareness of God in the occurrences, circumstances, and conversations with people I have throughout each day. The best way I have found to do be aware of God throughout the day is to set aside some time each morning to listen to Him though prayer, meditation, and reading His Word. What steps will you take to ensure you hear the messages God is sending to you?