Summary: God is still calling people to follow him into full time ministry and we must hear his voice and respond.
CAN YOU SEE WHAT I AM HEARING?
I SAMUEL 3: 1-21 (II CORINTIANS 4: 5-12)
JULY 8, 2001
INTRODUCTION: In More than You and Me, Kevin and Karen Miller write of the power of a God-given Vision:
One couple lived in London 130 years ago. For the first 10 years of their marriage, William Booth, especially, was in a quandary: What was God calling him to do?
Then his wife, Catherine, a skillful Bible teacher, was invited to preach in London. While they were there, William took a late-night walk through the slums of London’s East End. Every fifth building was a pub. Most had steps at the counter so little children could climb up and order gin. That night he told Catherine, “I seemed to hear a voice sounding in my ears, ‘Where can you go and find such heathen as these, and where is there so great a need for your labor?’ Darling, I have found my destiny!”
Later that year, 1865, the couple opened the “Christian Mission” in London’s slums. Their vision: to reach the “down and outers” that other Christians ignored. That simple vision of two people grew into the Salvation Army, which now ministers through 3 million members in 91 countries.
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for today speaks of the same voice speaking to a listening ear. Here in our text, we have another who hears the voice of God and responds! In our day, today, it is often hard for us to see clearly, but to remain in the dark is to miss the blessing of God. Our primary hope for today is that we together will hear the voice of God “Calling” and respond as young Samuel did.
THESIS SENTENCE: God is still calling people to follow him into full time ministry and we must hear his voice and respond.
I. (THE PROBLEM) THE BLIND LEADER/ THE CONDITION OF THE CHURCH (VV. 1-3/ 4-7)
A. “In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.” 1. What is the cause of a lack of vision: I Sam. 2: 12-17, 22-25 and 3: 11-14. 2. Sin and disobedience close our eyes and our ears to the Call of God! B. Slowness in perceiving the work and word of the Lord: 3: 4-7
1. Eli did not perceive that the Lord was calling to Samuel.
2. Eli was out of relationship with God.
C. Eli redeemed (?) Verse 18 is a noble statement!!! (Eli allowed his son’s to do evil in the sight of the Lord!!
SHORT ASIDE HERE: NOT ONLY WAS ELI THERE FATHER, BUT HE WAS ALSO THEIR SUPERVISOR OR BOSS! THIS WAS NOT JUST A FATHER SON PROBLEM, THIS WAS AN EMPLOYER, EMPLOYEE PROBLEM!
1. “He is the Lord; let Him do what is good in his eyes.”
2. Vs. 6 and 16, My Son – Eli accept this new era, the transition from his own sons to this adopted son – one who would minister faithfully before the Lord. He did not oppose!
ILLUSTRATION: People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. Worry, self-distrust, fear and despair; these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust. Douglas MacArthur
II. (THE CURE) THE NAÏVE/INNOCENT OBEDIENCE OF THE STUDENT/ GOD’S DESIRE FOR THE CHURCH (VV. 4-10)
A. Immediate response – “Here I am.”
1. Not once but four (4) times young Samuel responds to the call of God. Not lackadaisical, but committed to finding the answer/ truth!
2. God calls us to be 100 percent committed. His resources can make us willing to take a stand with our friends and neighbors. Ours need not be the day of the placid pulpit and the comfortable pew. Dante said, “the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality.
B. There is here a great contrast to Eli and his sons, especially his sons, to that of the young man Samuel.
1. Contrast: I Samuel 2:12-17 with 2:18, 21c, 26; and 3:1a.
2. Note the narrative in verses 4-10.
a. Samuel ran it Eli. Do we run when we hear the voice of God!
b. Are we committed to respond time and time again. Have you responded once and feel that you have done all you should. God is still calling you to respond to his voice.
c. What is your response: “Don’t bother me right now, I am busy?” Or is it, “If you bless me a little more, I will do what you ask.” Or could it be, “Give me all the details and I will Pray/ think about it.”
SAMUEL’S RESPONSE WAS, “SPEAK, FOR YOUR SERVANT IS LISTENING.”