These people had developed a relationship with God and were so attuned to him that they had no problem in recognising God's answer to their prayers and longings. There are very few of us who could spend each day in prayer and meditation, but with the help of the Holy Spirit we can learn what God really says in the Bible ( in contrast to what we would like God to be saying) and have a conversation with God at any time and in any place. Our lives can become complex overnight, usually with unpleasant matters to deal with, so having that relationship with God can help us with how we handle these situations. Being of the more mature age group, I can look back at examples of how God has helped me in difficult situations in the past and that is always an encouragement when new challenges arise. 'Great is Your Faithfulness' is one of my favourites and on darker days, a gospel song from teenage days 'No-one Understands Like Jesus'
Looking back on Bible characters, Gideon didn't do so well in the relationship with God stakes as he was shocked to be asked to form an army and did not want to do this. Contrast Gideon with Joseph who through little fault of his own, became a slave and was thrown in prison, then ended up second in charge of Egypt. We don't read of him questioning God over this so somewhere along the line, he knew that God was with him. In Hebrews chap 11, we read of some unlikely characters who are listed with the likes of Moses, David and Samuel - Rahab the prostitute and Samson the spoilt teenager for example. However, on comparing these people, it was the ones who established and maintained a relationship with God, who achieved so much.
There are many pressures on our time and established ethics and although it is wise to question our values, we need to ensure our thoughts are attuned to how God thinks on issues. Sorting through our thoughts is just as beneficial as sorting through the kitchen cupboards or our wardrobes, and having a healthy relationship with God will go a long way in ensuring we maintain God's direction for us.
In growing this relationship with God, let us remind ourselves of who God is - not just some warm fuzzy! "Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word." Hebrews 1:1-3
Wow! and this God wants a relationship with us! Praise God!