Summary: Learning to listen for the voice of God and being receptive to receiving a vision.
Can You Hear Me Now? – 1 Samuel 3: 1 - 10
Intro: If you watch television at all, you’ve seen the commercials for the cellular phone company where the man is walking with a phone to his ear and every few feet he asks, “Can you hear me now?” --- I wonder if they conceived of that commercial after reading this scripture passage from Samuel. --- Perhaps you’ve wondered why God doesn’t speak to us today as God spoke in “Bible times?” Why doesn’t God speak in dreams or burning bushes or prophets, miraculous signs or even animals?” I have 3 questions about this situation: 1) Does God really speak to people? 2) How do I know it is God who is talking? And 3) Can we learn to hear the voice of God?
I. Why did it take Eli and Samuel 3 times before they realized it was God talking? Samuel had the excuse of ignorant youth; but, Eli was God’s priest!
A. 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
B. 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!
C. 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!
II. A number of years ago, Bill Cosby did a routine where he was Noah and God was talking to him telling him about building the ark. Cosby wanted to know who it was talking. “IT’S THE LORD, NOAH!” Yeah, right! --- How do we know that it is God who is talking? There are 3 tests we can use to determine if it is really God who is speaking.
A. 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.
B. You know it is God because God never asks 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.
C. You know it is God speaking when you compare what God is asking you to do or telling you to 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.
III. Can we learn to hear the voice of God? Providing we actually want to hear the voice of God speaking to us, how do we get to the place where that happens. 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 and what do I need to do? READ VS. 9 – “So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’”
A. So, we can also follow Eli’s instructions to Samuel. The first thing he tells Samuel to do is to “go and lie down.” - So where do we look? --- It isn’t so much WHERE as it is the attitude. --- One must be willing to listen, waiting. This is one thing we all hate to do – WAIT. If you want to hear the voice of God you must wait for it will come in God’s time, not yours.
B. The Eli says, “If he calls you,” – expectation – anticipation. We must have the right frame of mind. It involves believing that you will hear God speak. You must shut out all distractions and be deliberate in your listening. Every man I know is guilty of this. Your wife is talking to you while you are distracted doing something else. She babbles on and finally she ends with what you thought was a question because the pitch of her voice changed and you answer, “uh huh.” And you have no idea whether it was a question or even what the question was. We are so easily distracted. We must dedicate our undivided attention to listening for God to speak.
C. Finally, Eli tells Samuel, “say, speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” Let God know you are available and that God has your undivided attention. You can’t expect to hear God speak of the turmoil of your world and your mind are crowding Him out. Empty your mind and focus on listening. These words are probably the sweetest words God could hear.