Summary: Are we really listening and expecting God to speak with us or are we too busy being distracted by many things that we can’t hear Him call?
“Finding Your Calling”
INTRODUCTION: During three centuries of rule by the judges, the word of God was rare. By Eli’s time there were no prophets speaking God’s message. In fact there had only been two prophets--Deborah (Judges 4:4) and Othniel (Judges 6:8) during this time period and only five revelations by God. (Judges 2:1-3, 6:11-23, 7:2-11, 10:11-14, and 13:3-21). Scripture says the word of God was rare and that there was no “open vision.” The few visions that did exist were not widely known. Amos calls it a “famine of the Word of God” (Amos 8:11-12). Psalm 74:9 says, “we are given no miraculous signs, no prophets are left and none of us knows how long this will be.”
At the time of the judges people did what was right in their own eyes and made up their own rules pretty much as they do today. Sin had closed off the revelation of God to people and even Eli’s sons were living such sinful lives that judgment was ready to fall on them. Eli was now a very old man and his health and eyesight were failing. But what is sad is that his SPIRITUAL eyesight was also getting dim. He wasn’t as spiritually perceptive as he once was. He began to let things slide in his own house with his sons. Maybe Eli didn’t really care if he heard from God or not. Are we like that today?
STORY: Aunt Lucy was losing her hearing and the doctor recommended surgery to correct it. She promptly vetoed the idea saying, “I’m 94 years old and I’ve already heard enough.”
Maybe Eli felt the same way. Maybe he had become dull of seeing and hearing from God as well. He didn’t care much one way or another anymore.
Samuel lived during this spiritually dry time. Many say that we are living in a post-Christian era. People are going their own way, making up their own rules and not giving God a second thought. You might wonder if you can hear God’s direction in your own life when surrounded by so many distractions and voices proclaiming doubt and unbelief.
Is it reasonable for us to EXPECT to hear from God and to EXPERIENCE His guidance and direction in our daily lives? Can we expect God to show us what He wants us to do? Many shrug it off and say, “You surely don’t believe that do you?”
What can we learn from today’s scripture that we can apply to our lives?
1. Make Listening a Priority: God communicates with those who make it a priority to listen. Many will say, “Well, if God speaks, why doesn’t He speak to me?” or “Why does He always seem to speak so clearly to old “what’s his name?’”
After listening to people you soon come to the conclusion that they are not really READY to listen. Too many other things to take care of first. They usually have an idea of what they want to be doing and waiting for God to tell them to go ahead and do it. “God, put your stamp of approval on my pre-written plans.” They are not open to hear what God wants from them but only what God can do for them.” Many people will deliberately say, “this is my time, my evening. I’m not going to take my evening to do this for the church. I’m not going to take time away from what I want to do... I’ll give God an hour of my time on Sunday morning and I think that’s enough. Don’t expect me to do more.”
Many of us are like Kathleen in this story. Even if we have good intentions for him to speak to us, sometimes the whole day is gone before we know it.
STORY: I need to do my prayer and Bible reading, but I’ve got lots of time. I’ll do it later.
I decide to do work on the car, start to the garage and notice the mail on the table. OK, I’m going to work on the car...
But FIRST I’m going to go through the mail. Lay car keys down on the desk. After discarding the junk mail, I notice the trash can is full. OK. I’ll just put the bills on my desk...
BUT FIRST I’ll take the trash out, but since I’m going to be near the mailbox, I’ll address a few bills...Yes,
Now where is the checkbook? Oops...there’s only one check left. Where did I put the extra checks? Oh, there is my empty plastic cup from last night on my desk. I’m going to look for those checks...
BUT FIRST I need to put the cup back in the kitchen. I head for the kitchen, look out the window, notice the flowers need a drink of water. I put the cup on the counter and there’s my extra pair of glasses on the kitchen counter. What are they doing here? I’ll just put them away..