Samuel and the Voice of God

Last week we saw that in the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament, the words for obedience and listening are really the same word—synonyms, essentially. To obey is simply to listen and to act on God’s voice. But (as Michael pointed out) listening is not just a passive exercise: It is the activity of attention, even—for high quality listening—of undivided attention. 

What does that mean? How can that be done? To better understand the principles of listening to God, we will study the story of the boy Samuel found in 1 Samuel 1-3. The story begins with a woman named Hannah, who was barren and unable to have children. She desperately prayed to God for a son and promised to dedicate him in the service of the Lord. God heard her prayer and she gave birth to a son whom she named Samuel. As promised, when Samuel was weaned, Hannah took him to the temple in Shiloh to serve under the priest Eli. 

Samuel grew up in the temple and his mentor, Eli, taught him how to serve God. One night while Samuel was sleeping, he heard a voice calling his name. Thinking it was Eli calling to him, Samuel went to him, but Eli had not called him. This happened three more times, until Eli realized that it was God who was calling Samuel. 

Eli instructed Samuel to respond to God, and Samuel then heard God’s message that God would punish Eli’s family for their disobedience, and honor Samuel as a prophet himself. Samuel then became a prophet of God and his reputation grew throughout Israel, in whose history he was to play a significant role. 

Here is the part about Samuel being called:

Now the boy Samuel was attending to the service of the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days; visions were infrequent. 

 But it happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to be poor and he could not see well), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was, that the Lord called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. And the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son, go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. So the Lord called Samuel again for the third time. And he got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 

 Then the Lord came and stood, and called as at the other times: “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am going to do a thing in Israel, and both ears of everyone who hears about it will ring.  (1 Samuel 3:1-11)

The passage goes on to talk about Eli and his family, and particularly Eli’s sons, who were fairly corrupt, and that God was going to replace Eli with Samuel. in 1 Samuel 1, Hannah names her son Samuel because, she says, “I have asked of him from the Lord.” We see in Samuel’s name the same word that we saw last week that meant listening or obedience. It’s the Hebrew word shama. El means God. Putting the two together as Shama-El gives us Samuel—a listener of God. 

The story of the young boy Samuel teaches us many lessons about how to listen, recognize, and respond to God’s voice. From it I derived eight lessons about listening to God’s voice. (There are probably more.)

Lesson 1: Age has no bearing on God’s choosing to speak, or our ability to hear, God’s voice. God may speak through the elderly, through the middle aged, and even through children. Don’t be surprised to hear God’s voice from someone of any age. God has no limitations. Samuel’s story is a reminder that God speaks to us in many different ways and through many different people. 

We need to be open and receptive to his voice, no matter our age or experience. In fact, sometimes God chooses to speak to us through the innocent and unassuming—like Samuel—who have not yet been corrupted by the ways of the world. This childlike innocence allows us to hear God’s voice unfiltered by adult confusion. It is a reminder of Jesus’ exhortation to become like little children. 

Lesson 2: If we want to hear God’s voice we need to be in a place where God actually is. Samuel lives and sleeps within the temple, near (the record says) the Ark of the Covenant. This metaphor is significant because the Ark was the physical embodiment of God’s presence among his people, a symbol of his power and glory and a reminder that he was always with them. By sleeping near it, Samuel was in close proximity to God, and this allowed him to hear God’s voice. 

The story teaches us that if we want to hear from God, we must be close to him. We cannot expect to hear his voice if we’re living far from him spiritually. This means that we must spend time in prayer, in study of the Scriptures, and in physical community—attending gatherings where God is present. It helps to surround ourselves with other believers who can encourage and support us in our faith, as we do each Sabbath morning here. 

Nature, of course, is God’s habitat, and he uses the natural world to communicate with us. Samuel was filling the lamps and attending to the altars and the table of showbread and so on. He was in God’s service. We are near to God by being in his service. We can find God by being in his service. God’s voice is heard by those in God’s service. 

Lesson 3: The voice of God is personal. Each time he called Samuel, God repeated the name—making it eight times in all that God called Samuel by his name. When God has a message for you, he will address you by name. God’s relationship to you is individual and personal. Isaiah said:

 But now, this is what the Lord says, He who is your Creator, Jacob,
And He who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!

 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.

 For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; (Isaiah 43:1-3)

The Bible has numerous examples of God’s addressing individuals by name. In Genesis 22, God calls out to Abraham by name as he is about to sacrifice his son (the story of the binding of Isaac). In Exodus 3, God calls Moses by name from the burning bush, revealing his plan to deliver Israel from the slavery in Egypt. In 1 Kings 19, God calls out calls out to Elijah by name as he flees into the wilderness in fear of the evil queen Jezebel. In Acts 9 he calls out to Saul on the road to Damascus. He addresses Simon Peter by name in Luke 22:31-32. He speaks to Mary and Martha at the funeral of Lazarus by name in John 11 and he speaks to their dead brother from the grave: “Lazarus, come forth!” He commands Zacchaeus to come down from the sycamore tree in Luke 19:5-6. And you’ll recall that he startles Mary Magdalene, by name, at the tomb of the resurrection. 

There are many more examples, all indicating that the call of God’s voice is individual and personal. In each instance, God’s personal communication with these individuals reveals his plan and purpose for their lives. Similarly, in the story of Samuel, God’s personal communication revealed God’s plan for Samuel to become a prophet and the judge of Israel.  

Lesson 4: God’s voice is not just personal—it is also persistent. Four times God calls Samuel, saying his name twice each time. God’s voice is persistent, patient, and personal. The persistence highlights God’s desire to communicate with us and his commitment to ensuring that we hear his message. 

Throughout the Bible we see numerous examples of God’s persistent communication with his people. In Genesis 6, God persistently warns Noah of the coming flood and instructs him to build the ark. In Exodus 7:7-12, God persistently sends plagues upon Egypt in order to demonstrate his power and deliver the Israelites from slavery. In the New Testament, Jesus persistently reached out to the lost and to the broken, healing the sick and preaching the message of salvation. 

Many other stories show the persistence of God’s message to his people and demonstrate God’s unwavering commitment to communicate with his people and accomplish his plan for their lives. His persistence highlights the importance of listening for his voice and responding to his call. 

Lesson 5: You might hear God’s voice but not recognize it as God’s voice, like Samuel:  

 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. (1 Samuel 3:7) 

Apparently, in order to hear God’s voice, it requires some knowledge of God, knowing something about God. But this requires, it seems, a special revelation from God himself. Hearing God’s voice and knowing something about God seems to have God’s initiative written all over it. The story of Samuel illustrates the importance of knowing God and being able to recognize his voice. 

Samuel had been raised in the temple and was familiar with the ways of God but he did not yet know him personally. It was only when he responded to God’s call and listened to his voice that he began to understand who God was and what he wanted from him. This personal relationship with God allowed Samuel to discern his voice from others, and receive guidance and direction for his life. 

The benefits of knowing God and recognizing his voice are numerous. For one, it allows us to receive guidance and direction in our life. Just as God had a plan for Samuel, he has a plan for each of us and we can discover it by listening for his voice. Knowing God also gives us a sense of purpose and meaning in life. When we understand that we are created by God for a special purpose, we can live with more intention and focus. 

Additionally, recognizing God’s voice helps us to distinguish between truth and falsehood. In a world full of conflicting voices and opinions, it can be challenging to know what is true and what is not. However, when we know God and understand his voice, we can discern the difference between his voice and the voices of others. 

Fortunately, even if we don’t know him, he knows us by name, and personally. And with time and patience and guidance we will gain some knowledge of God. Hosea 6:3 says that by following God we can come to know him. Apparently coming to know God is a dynamic experience. It is a learning enterprise, and is underwritten by God himself. 

Lesson 6: We might require assistance in order to hear or to understand God’s voice. We might need others to help us to see that God is talking to us. In short, we may need a spiritual mentor. One of the ways Eli mentored Samuel was by creating space for him to hear from God himself. Eli recognized that Samuel had been called by God to serve as a prophet and helped him to discern God’s voice. 

When Samuel heard God’s voice for the first time he did not recognize it and thought it was Eli calling. Eli was able to realize that it was God speaking to Samuel and taught him how to respond. He instructed Samuel to say: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” This allowed Samuel to hear directly from God and begin to understand his plan for his life. 

Lesson 7: The response to hearing God’s voice is to listen. As we talked about last week, the response to hearing God’s voice is a humble submission to God’s will. As Samuel responds to God’s voice he says,: “Speak, Lord for your servant is listening”—shama, the Hebrew word for listening. God’s voice requires listening and not talking. He requires our silence and our humble meditation. 

One of the key lessons we can learn from Samuel is that hearing God’s voice requires a humble response. When Samuel first heard God’s voice, he did not recognize it and thought it was Eli calling him, but Eli helped Samuel to understand that it was God speaking, and instructed him to respond by saying: “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening,” a response that demonstrates humility and a willingness to submit to God’s will. 

Calling oneself a servant of God is a profound statement of humility. It acknowledges that God is the one in control and that we are here to serve him. When Samuel called himself God’s servant, he was recognizing that God was the one with the power and the authority and was willing to submit to his will. The concept of servanthood is central to the teachings of Jesus as well in the New Testament. He frequently spoke about the importance of serving others and modeling humility. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus says: “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). The statement emphasizes the importance of humility and service in the Christian life. Pride makes claims of knowing God and speaking for God, but the true response to hearing God’s voice is humility.

In addition to humility, calling oneself a servant of God requires a willingness to listen. When Samuel responded to God’s voice by saying: “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” he was expressing a willingness to listen to God, to follow his commands and to yield to the will of God. The concept of servanthood and humility is essential to the life of the believer and particularly relevant when it comes to hearing God’s voice. 

When we approach God with humility, we open up ourselves to his guidance and direction. We recognize that he is the one in control and we’re here to serve him. This kind of posture allows us to hear God’s voice more clearly and respond with obedience. We are in God’s service, he is not in our service.  

Lesson 8: You can worship God, you can think that you know God, you can even be in his service—and still not recognize his voice. The boy Samuel lived in the very presence of God and served him day and night but still did not recognize his voice. One of the key lessons from the Samuel story is that God speaks to us in various ways. In Samuel’s case, God spoke to him audibly while he was sleeping. However, God can also speak to us through other means, such as the Bible, prayer, other people, and other circumstances. It is essential that we learn to recognize and discern God’s voice, regardless of how he chooses to speak to us. 

The story of Samuel teaches us the importance of seeking wise counsel. After hearing God’s voice Samuel sought wise counsel from Eli, a more experienced and knowledgeable prophet. Similarly, we should seek wise counsel from other believers when we are unsure about what God is trying to tell us. This can help us to discern God’s will more accurately. 

The story of Samuel in the Bible provides us with these many valuable lessons about listening to God. We must: Learn to recognize and discern God’s voice; be attentive and responsive to his call; have a personal relationship with him, by name; trust in his plan for our lives; seek wise counsel and follow his will, humbly. By doing so we can fulfill the purpose and calling that God has for our lives and experience an abundant life. 

What can we learn about listening, from the story of Samuel? With so many ways that God can communicate with us, how easy is it to get confused? How difficult is it to tell whether the voice we’re hearing is that of God or not? How can we tell what is genuine and what is not? How do we know God’s voice? What role do you have in helping me to hear God’s voice? Have you thought about your responsibility as a fellow believer in helping others to hear the voice of God? Have you ever heard a voice that you thought was from God but you weren’t sure?

Carolyn: At times I have a deep impression, sort of a deep nudge, pushing me in one direction or another in the context of what I am experiencing at that time. But I have never heard an audible voice and I’ve never dreamed a dream that (I would say) God has given me. But I do get an okay to go ahead, or a feeling of pressure to slow down and seek more counsel. That has been my experience in my walk with God—this deep, almost physical feeling inside me that I need to look out, or else a feeling of gratitude for the impression he gave me of permission to go in a certain direction.

Reinhard: In my experience I don’t hear a voice but I sometimes feel something bugging me, bothering me; and an answer springs to mind, telling me what I need to know. Most of the time, if God speaks to us, it is for our individual needs and concerns. In general, as the Bible shows, God speaks through the prophets and apostles. That’s the consensus of Christians. We are taught to live the right way, the Christian way, through the writing in the Bible. That’s the basis of our faith, and it is sufficient. 

I don’t hear an audible voice from God but sometimes when there’s a problem a solution appears inside me—that’s what I think of as the voice of God. It is personal personal.

Janelin: I too hear no audible voice but when we make sometimes difficult decisions in life we pray for the peace that comes with knowing we have made the right decision. There’s comfort and peace when you feel like you made the right decision in a hard time. 

Don: Is God a little bit irresponsible in this story? Should he not have just manned up and said to Samuel “This is God speaking to you.” Why the ambiguity—the persistent ambiguity? After Samuel mistook his voice the first time, God could have said “This is me, God, and here’s what I want you to do.” 

Why all the mystery, the ambiguity, the uncertainty? Why are they running around trying to figure out who’s speaking? Is there something to be said for that story?

Michael: It makes me question people who speak on behalf of God so strongly and adamantly, as if they actually have heard the voice, when the Biblical record shows that is not so simple.

Reinhard: In the Old Testament there are many instances in which God speaks directly to people, mostly through angels who represent him. He spoke to Abraham, Moses, and others, but in the New Testament there is no record (except for Paul and the angel who spoke to Mary) of God having spoken directly to anyone—with one major exception: Jesus spoke to everyone. 

When God spoke in the Old Testament, it was mostly for the welfare of the Israelites, his chosen people, through individual prophets, in circumstances such as war (David, for instance). The purpose of God was to protect them and guide them as his chosen people. 

The New Testament tells us what we need to do to lead a Christian life, through the teachings of Jesus and the writings of the apostles, for our personnel benefit. There are times when we have great concerns and God speaks—to me, at least—through the Holy Spirit.  I think God put the Holy Spirit in us to enlighten us about difficult things that bother us. Maybe it is doing so most of the time, maybe there are times when we don’t get an answer. That’s God’s prerogative.

Rimon: I think that ambiguity is not from God. I think the source of the ambiguity is us. We cannot hear God because of the disconnect we have with God. I think and hope that once we are connected with God we can hear him loud and clear and have that peace that’s beyond understanding. I think it’s the loss that we have experienced by living in this world that created the disconnect and muffled God’s voice and the experience of being with him and experiencing his world.

David: I agree with Reinhardt that the Old Testament seems to be essentially exclusive to the Israelites, whereas the New Testament is inclusive of the whole world—of everybody. The prophets mainly figure as God’s voice in the Old Testament but in the New Testament we hear the voice of God through Jesus. 

Regardless of whether we were born Christian, or know anything at all about Christianity, we can all hear the voice of Jesus through the Holy Spirit that is in everyone—it is the eternity set in everyone’s heart. That is the only place, I believe, where we can hear God’s voice. Yes, we can see reflections of God’s will and echoes of his voice all around us—in nature, in how other people behave, and in things that other people say, we certainly can, but in terms of a direct communication with God, to me, there is only one way it can happens, and that’s through the Holy Spirit.

Michael: I find it a bit frustrating that God is not as clear as he could be. There were several instances where Moses wanted to see God’s face, but he was only shown God’s backside. God plays hide and seek. Why do we have to discern God in nature or in other people’s voices and get confused (is that God? is it the devil? who is that speaking?) Why aren’t things more clear? Why is it so confusing?

Anonymous: God is clear in the Bible. His voice is not audible but you know (because you believe) that it is God talking to you, whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament. The Old Testament wasn’t only for God’s people at that time, not only for the Israelites, it still speaks to us now. We have such precious lessons from the prophets of the Old Testament. 

I believe God is ambiguous to those who don’t know him, just as in the story—Samuel wasn’t familiar with God, had never heard his voice before, he was just a boy. This is why he he did not recognize God’s voice. It is the same for us if we are not familiar with God through his Word, which is the easiest way to understand (as Jesus said, even babes can understand God’s principles). 

If we don’t praise God when even the stones can do so and God can extract praises from the mouths of babes, it is because we are not familiar with God, we’re not walking with him. We may know a little about him, or all our experience with him may be what we hear from others—it is not direct and not personal. Then every message from God will be ambiguous. However, with the experience of going with God day after day and year after a year you realize that God is saying something to you. 

I experienced that so many times through bad feelings. Sometimes I can’t explain why I’m feeling like this. It’s just heaviness. I’m not calm. I would wonder: “What is it Lord, what do you want to tell me? What’s the message? Come on, you have to take away this feeling somehow!” Without knowing what it is, it’s not going to go away. Sometimes I would fall asleep feeling like that and wake up with the same feelings. It might stay with me all day. 

I have learned that there is always, in such cases, a message from God that I did something wrong; that God wanted to teach me a lesson. It’s not intentional, not that I I knew it was not right but I did it or said it anyway. But God in his mercy looks at the heart and sees that we said that or did something with good intentions and he seizes the opportunity to teach us something about him. That happened to me many times and as soon as I realized the crux of the feeling I was led to repentance. I was led to acceptance of God, and forgiveness, and I went back to my joyful heart. I had no problem now. I felt so peaceful. 

So this is one way of God, talking to me personally. I know it from from experience. Also, through the Bible, God talks to us very, very clearly. If you just spend time with him, you’ll find him jumping out of the verses talking to you in your own circumstances. Somebody else might read the same passage and not gain anything. God makes it clear to you that he’s talking to you through the Bible.

Don: Michael wants to know if he should marry the girlfriend he has now, or wait for a better one. (Kidding!) And he’s trying to get God to answer him. Does God really care who Michael marries? Is that what we should be expecting to hear from God’s voice?

Anonymous: No. He does care, of course.

David: I think there might be a reason why God might not want Michael to marry a particular woman, but if so he’ll make that clear through through the Holy Spirit, through the inner voice in Michael’s head. It will be something between him and God. Who can speak for what God wants of Michael, or me, or anyone? It’s strictly between the individual and the God within.

Michael: I don’t think it’s that simple. You can think of it from the other way and say that if I were to marry this person, whether it’s the right choice or not, isn’t that God’s will? And if I end up divorcing that person, isn’t that God’s will as well? So it doesn’t matter whether I’ve made the right decision or not. The decision was already made.

David: Only if you believe in determinism. I don’t. I think God’s will is that we try to be like him. Try. That’s his will and he knows it’s the best we can do. God did not ordain that we must behave like him. You are not obligated to listen to your inner voice and indeed all too often we ignore it or deny it or hide it under a bushel.

C-J: Michael, that’s a slippery slope. It’s saying you don’t want to take responsibility for the decision and the aftermath—the promise that you will be faithful and not be a quitter, and all of that. To say, “God knows. So it must be his will” is a slippery slope. It’s a business deal. Marriage is a business deal. It is a contract, it’s not about love (if you get love you got lucky!) You have to think of the five year plan, the 10 year plan, when it’s interrupted with kids, or sickness, or a change in direction. People say “You didn’t keep your promise, or I didn’t expect this to happen.” But if you start with the premise of a promise, then you’ve got to say, “Are you open to all the sidebars?” 

The reality of it is that I don’t think people really understand what a marriage for the long haul really requires. Especially if you’re young. And if you think it’s like, “Well, I had my education, I’m established,  together we make a good team,…” Marriage is much more than that. Much, much more. Even something as stupid as “Didn’t I ask you not to do that? How many times do I have to ask you not to do that?” Marriage is something that is always a package that hasn’t been opened. “I never knew” or “I don’t understand.” 

So when you make a decision to make somebody your lifelong partner, get lots of counsel, look at people who are similar to the two of you and at how far they got down the path. When Kiran talked about an arranged marriage of his friend he used the phrase, “They’re killing each other.” Be very mindful that you when you go into a marriage, you fall in and out of love multiple times, you rediscover that person in a new way, and you fall in love again, you get frustrated and you go: “I just need a break. Go find something else to do so I can just recover from this.” Marriage is filled with adjustments. So don’t go in thinking this is what it’ll look like always, or that it can only get better from here. Plan on the bumps and how you’re going to weather that storm.

Don: I don’t think Michael is ready to sign up for marriage class yet, but it brings out a point illumined by the story of Samuel but we don’t think much about, namely: What responsibility do we have for other persons hearing God’s voice? Samuel’s mentor Eli recognized things that Samuel did not recognize. He saw God’s work where Samuel did not see it. What responsibility do we have for each other in terms of listening for or hearing God’s voice? As Michael says, it is confusing enough just for myself. How can I tell whether God is speaking to him or not? Can I be of any help?

C-J: The Bible says we’re the bride and he is the groom. I think it’s the same kind of thing. We’re always learning. We’re always adjusting. God is very patient, and his intention is that we fulfill the purpose in our life: To live a life of service, to understand humility (it’s not just “you win, I lose”), to understand that we only grow when we’re willing to sacrifice a small portion for a much greater understanding in this relationship with God.

David: Eli couldn’t hear God speaking to Samuel. Only Samuel could hear it. Eli was essentially saying: “Go listen to your inner voice. If you think you’re hearing something nobody else seems to hear, it’s probably your inner voice. Listen to it.” To me, that’s the only valid advice we can give to anybody. We can’t tell them what the voice is saying—only they know that.

People might come to us with a problem. Michael might come to me and say he’s met a girl who is she’s everything he wants in a wife, except for one terrible, evil, habit. From a spiritual perspective, I can only counsel Michael to listen to his inner voice, which will tell him whether or not the evil aspect of his beloved should warn him off marriage, or not. 

But from a strictly spiritual perspective I can’t warn him off, even if I know the woman and her evil side too. From a wordly perspective, my answer might be quite different. What happened between Samuel and God was strictly Samuel and God’s business; and Eli, knowing that, did the only (and right) thing he could do, which was to say: “Go and listen to the voice.”

Robin: I agree with Carolyn that when you have made the right decision there follows a peace that you may not feel when you’re considering another decision. The tricky part is that sometimes what we want is not what God wants, so we have to pray daily for the humility to accept what God wants when it is in direct opposition to what we think we want. 

Jesus said that his sheep will hear his voice and will follow. The inner voice, the inner light, the Holy Spirit makes itself known. But as for hearing “This is God, listen to me!” society is no stranger to people who claim God told them to go and kill other people. Other spirits may claim to be God. And they are not.,

Janelin: Early in the pandemic, when there was much discussion about the vaccines, I was encouraging my patients to get vaccinated. One patient told me the Holy Spirit had told her, in response to her prayer, not to be vaccinated, so she wanted medication and antibiotics instead. She was picking and choosing her own therapy rather than go with the recommendation of her doctor. 

In a weak moment (which I hope never to repeat) I suggested she might try praying a little bit harder. She sincerely felt at the time that as a result of her prayer, the Holy Spirit was counseling her against vaccination. I was wrong to be angry. How could I know how she really felt? It speaks to the question of our responsibility to help others hear the voice of God. 

Michael: Eli did not counsel Samuel about what God was asking him to do and did not then tell him what he, Eli, wanted him to do. After all, Samuel was working in the temple directly under Eli and I’m sure had his own thoughts about what Samuel should be doing, but he didn’t use that opportunity to say “This is what God wants” and then tell him exactly what he, Eli, wanted. He just told him to go and listen.

David: Robin has pointed to the difference between the sacred and profane; the spiritual and the worldly, in terms of what we want versus what God wants. The rich young ruler wanted spiritually to reach the kingdom of heaven, but his worldly want was to hang on to his riches. There is usually, though perhaps not always, a clash between these two things and it’s a struggle we wage every day. But so often when we listen to the prophets or read Scripture we often conflate the spiritual with the worldly. 

We have to go on with our lives in this world as long as we’re alive. But we also seem driven to look look to the future and to do that we feel a need to lead some kind of spiritual life. Jesus said to try our best to do that whilst stating that we would never get there, but that should not stop us from trying. The best way to do it, in my view, is to simply listen to your inner voice.

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