Summary: This Kyle Idleman message begins in silence. Sometimes we talk too much. To hear God, we need to be where He speaks, confirm His voice, avoid distractions, & respond with obedience. (34 PP slides/posters are available on request)
Be Still and Know
(Sermon notes courtesy of Kyle Idleman, Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, KY)
NOTE: This is most effective if the speaker begins the message in silence, holding up 34 different posters for the congregation to read, making the point that many are uncomfortable with silence. These posters are available as PowerPoint slides; please contact me for a copy.
We often see prayer as a monologue where we talk, and God listens. But we have it wrong! Prayer is a conversation. Not only do we need to talk to God, we need to learn how to listen to Him. Psalm 46:10 tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.”
Many find that genuinely listening to God is one of the most difficult things to do. It is one of the greatest mysteries of our faith. We find ourselves often times saying, “I would listen to God if he would speak out loud to me,” or “I would do a better job listening, if God would do a better job speaking.”
Perhaps the suggestion needs to be made that it is not that God is not speaking, but rather that we are not listening.
Does God speak to us? How can we listen to what He is saying? How can we know it is God who is talking? 1 Samuel 3 opens up great insight into the art of being still.
1. Be Where God Speaks, verses 1-6
We need to put ourselves in a place and position where we can hear God most clearly.
Samuel placed himself in the best place to hear from God he was in the Temple where God dwelt (1 Samuel 3:3).
Note verse 1: God rarely made Himself known in those days.
Does God really speak to people? Eli and his sons had wandered from God. They robbed God by putting themselves first, through their immoral and impure lives and their arrogance. Read I Sam. 3:1
God still struggles to speak to people like you and me. But, we just aren’t listening. We are either like Eli or Samuel. Not knowing how or not caring, so we miss it!
When you turn on the radio or TV, you tune into a specific station or channel. If you flip to another channel, does the program on the first channel stop? --- Just because we are listening to “another channel,” does it mean God has stopped talking? --- Does God really talk to people? --- You bet! But we must be listening to the right frequency.
2. Confirm that it’s God’s Voice, verses 7-9
God spoke to Samuel, but Samuel did not realize it was God speaking to him until Eli confirmed that God was the one calling Samuel (1 Samuel 3:8-9).
We can confirm God’s leading through His Word (Psalm 119:105).
We can confirm God’s leading through His people.
A number of years ago, Bill Cosby did a routine about how God spoke to Noah about building the ark. When Noah wanted to know who was talking to him in such a strange voice, the answer boomed from heaven, “IT’S THE LORD, NOAH!” Noah’s response? "Right! Who is this really?" How do we know when God is talking?
There are 3 tests we can use to determine if God is speaking to our hearts.
First. What does the voice we hear tell us about Christ Jesus? --- Does what the voice says direct us to the cross of Christ and resurrection, to forgiveness or to God’s promises.
Second. God will never ask us to do something he has forbidden in the scriptures. To know it is God speaking, you must know what the Bible says, so you must read and study the scriptures.
Third. Compare what you are hearing with the way Jesus lived and the things Jesus did.
--- WWJD ---- Is this something Christ Jesus would do? If so, then, it must be God speaking.
3. Avoid Constant Distraction, verses 10-15
God does not speak to Samuel in the busyness of the day, but rather in the quietness of night when Samuel was still from life’s distractions. Listening is so important in life and crucial to make relationships work.
Let me give you a little brainteaser. If you have heard this before, please don’t ruin it for everyone else and just keep your thoughts to yourself. I’ll read the question and then you some time to think.
You are driving a bus. You go east 12 miles, and turn south and go 2 miles and take on 9 passengers, and then you turn west and go 3 miles and let off 4 passengers. How old is the bus driver? (Answer: How old are you?)
There are four reasons why we are missing God’s message today and not listening.