The word of the Lord is revealed to Samuel in chapter 3. The ancient historian Josephus believes that Samuel was twelve years old when this happened.
It says the Lord called to Samuel. It also says that the Lord came and stood, calling to Samuel. There is no indication that Samuel sees the Lord, but Samuel seems to hear the Lord calling to him audibly because Samuel thinks it is Eli calling to him.
The Scripture points out that the word of the Lord hadn’t been revealed to Samuel yet, that Samuel didn’t know the Lord. The implication would be that when the word of the Lord was revealed to Samuel, then he would know the Lord.
He didn’t know the Lord’s voice yet. Eli plays the part of a good mentor and listens to the prophecy and confirms that it was from the Lord. He helps Samuel learn to recognize God’s voice.
When you first came to know the Lord, did anyone teach you to recognize God’s voice? I certainly didn’t. We should be taught relationship and seeking, but we’re taught the duties of Bible reading, prayer, and church attendance, all of which amount to nothing without the relationship and seeking. Do you know the Lord and His voice?
The word of the Lord was revealed to Samuel. God reveals Himself to us. We need the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s word, reveal Himself. That’s where the seeking comes in. Pursue God, pursue knowing Him. Ask Him, read the word, pray, ask Him to lead you to good teaching, pursue Him. He promises to be found.
As you spend time pursuing Him in prayer and Bible reading, you’ll get to know Him. As you get to know Him, you’ll understand His character and will be able to better discern His voice. He will not encourage you to be selfish, self-centered, self-pleasing. Thoughts of fear and worry are not from God. Thoughts that result in bringing you into deeper obedience and submission to Christ, that’s God.
One thing God does to help me know His voice is to answer me before I finish my question. I’ll start asking a question in my mind and I have the answer before I can even ask. That’s helpful because then I don’t start thinking about the answer. I don’t want my thoughts; I want His.
He speaks to His servants. Come before Him and offer Him ears willing to listen along with a heart ready to accept and obey.