Summary: Sermon for the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, year B.
I Samuel 3: 1 – 10 / Are You Listening?
Intro: When the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man answered an ad in the newspaper by going to the address listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background. He was instructed to fill out a form and wait until he was summoned to enter the inner office. He filled out his form and sat down with 7 other applicants. After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office and walked right in. In a few minutes the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the others, “Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled.” They were furious saying, “Wait a minute, he was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. The employer said, I’m sorry, but all the time you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code, “If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.”
I. Listening seems to be a problem not just in this text; but, also today especially with youngsters. Ask any parent.
A. How many times do I have to tell you: The floor is not a hamper / to turn off the lights when you leave a room / put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher / do your homework?
B. The problem of not listening isn’t just limited to youngsters. Go into the restroom of any restaurant and you will see signs telling employees to wash their hands. In the theater people must be reminded to turn off their cell phone.
C. Then there are times when we listen; but, don’t really hear. Every husband knows this experience. When you tune out your wife and then she pounces, “are you listening to me?”
II. I’ve often wondered, “Why did it take so long for Eli and Samuel to realize it was god talking? Samuel had the excuse of ignorant youth; but, Eli was God’s priest!
A. Eli and his sons had wandered far from God. They fobbed God by putting themselves first, through their immoral and impure lives and their arrogance. I Samuel 3:1 “It was RARE!”
B. Many believe God no longer speaks to people. I think those people are wrong! We just aren’t listening! Like Eli and his sons, we either aren’t listening, don’t know how to listen, or don’t care to listen. That doesn’t mean God isn’t speaking.
C. You turn on the radio or TV and tune in to a specific channel or station. When you change the station or channel, does the program on the first channel stop? ----Just because we are listening to another channel does not mean that God has stopped talking.
III. You may be sitting there thinking, “There haven’t been any burning bushes or talking donkeys in my neighborhood lately. So where do I go to hear the voice of God. I Samuel 3:9 tells us what to do.
A. “GO LIE DOWN.” You have to be in a position where you are willing to listen. You must be waiting for God to speak. Stop rushing about, settle down and wait! If you want to hear the voice of God you must wait for it to come in God’s time, not yours.
B. “IF WE CALLS YOU” – Have the right frame of mind. Wait in anticipation and expectation believing that God will speak. Give your undivided attention to listening for God to speak.
C. “SPEAK LORD, FOR YOUR SERVANT IS LISTENING.” Let God know you are available. You can’t expect to hear God speak if the turmoil of your world and life are crowding Him out. Empty your mind and focus on listening. The sweetest words God can hear are, “Here I am, Lord waiting for you to speak.”
Conclu: Often, I think we are so wrapped up in ourselves. We buy into society telling us that God doesn’t speak or care. There are times when we feel we are in a spiritual desert, living in tough times with God far, far away. Even in the droughts, God is there waiting for us to listen. VS. 10 – “Sam-u-el, sam-u-el” Those words SAM U EL in Hebrew mean “God has heard.” God has heard and has great plans for us. The time has come for you to listen for God and follow where God leads. Are you listening?