Summary: Principles on listening to God taken from the call of Samuel.
A Study of the Life of Samuel
Sermon # 3
God Is Speaking But Are You Listening?
I am still amazed at how God works the messages from two separate series to coincide so perfectly on any given Sunday. This morning we looked at “Are You Ready to Listen?” from our series in Luke and tonight in our study of the life of Samuel we are by the providence of God considering, “God is Speaking But Are you Listening?”
1. We Must Be Ready To Hear What God Wants To Say To Us. (vv.1-8)
Samuel moved from a godly home at Ramah in which his mother and father were scrupulous in their worship of the Lord into the priestly home of Eli in which the worship of Lord was scorned. Samuel ministered before the Lord under the guidance of Eli at a time when God was not speaking to his people very often. The writer tells us in verse one, “… the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.” That pretty well describes our day don’t you think? The spiritual leaders were corrupt and God’s people were not obeying his law so why should he say anything new to them?
“I heard once of a black preacher who went in view of a call to a new church. He preached a fine sermon that morning. When the congregation came back for the evening service he preached the same sermon again. The deacons meet and attributed the fact that he preached the same sermon to nervousness and extended a call to become the new pastor. The preacher arrived the next Sunday to preach and again he preached the same sermon. The people just shook their heads and came back that night to see what he would preach. Well he preached the same sermon again. We the deacons had had enough by this point and said among themselves, “If he preaches that sermon again we will be forced to confront him. Well Wednesday night rolled around and you guessed it he preached the same sermon again. The deacons met with the pastor after the service and said, Now preacher that is a fine sermon that you have been preaching, but when are you going to preach something new?” The preacher replied, “Well I reckon when you do what I told in that sermon we will go on to something else.”
Well it seems that since men were not listening to God in those days he rarely bothered to speak to them. But perhaps we should consider whether the word of the Lord is really rare today, or have we simply lost the ability to hear a word from God and recognize it as such?
I suspect that the problem is not with God. I suspect that the problem is that we are not listening. We do not expect God to speak and we certainly don’t expect God to speak to us! God can speak at any time but we hear Him best when we remove the obstacles that may block a message from God.
What did you really expect when you came to church tonight? Teenagers did you come expecting to hang out with your friends? Perhaps you came expecting to sing some songs? Hopefully you come expecting to hear a message from scripture. But did you come expecting, “I wonder what God wants to say to me tonight?”
Would you know God’s voice if you heard it? Well Samuel certainly didn’t. The scene is pretty funny if you stop to think about it, God kept waking Samuel up and Eli keeps telling him to go back to sleep. In verse two we read, “And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see, (3) and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the LORD where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, (4) that the LORD called Samuel. And he answered, "Here I am!" (5) So he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." And he said, "I did not call; lie down again." And he went and lay down. (6) Then the LORD called yet again, "Samuel!" So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." He answered, "I did not call, my son; lie down again." (7) (Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor was the word of the LORD yet revealed to him.) (8) And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you did call me." Then Eli perceived that the LORD had called the boy.”