Summary: God spoke to Samuel and God is speaking to us...are we listening?
“Listen! God is Speaking”
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer,
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
Many of us can probably relate to how the people felt in Samuel’s time:
“In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.”
This was a time when Israel didn’t hear the Word of God much. It was a dark time...
...it was a time of curruption and greed.
In Shiloh, the town where the central sanctuary and the ark of God were located, Hophni and Phinehas
[FIN-ee-uhs], the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord.
The evil practices of Eli’s sons are described in chapter 2:11-26.
These men not only used their office as priests for personal gain, but they also committed immoral acts
with the women who were serving at the entrance of the tabernacle.
And although Eli rebuked his sons, Eli’s warnings were too little and too late.
So, it was in this loose environment that Samuel grew up.
Today, many of us sense a similiar vacuum in leadership.
Too often, many leaders appear to be serving their own narrow self-interests, without listening to the
voice of God.
Jesus proclaimed: “He who has ears, let him hear.”
God gave us two ears but only one mouth.
Some people say that’s because He wanted us to spend twice as much time listening as talking.
Others claim it’s because He knew listening was twice as hard as talking.
A high school class in music appreciation was asked the difference between listening and hearing.
At first there was no response.
Finally a hand went up and a youngster offered this wise definition: “Listening is wanting to hear.”
God is always speaking to people, the key is that we must want to hear Him.
Our world needs leaders who want to listen to God.
But if we believe the media, many of our present leaders have no clue what morality or honor is...many of
our leaders have closed their ears to God.
And often, a lack of godly leadership causes people to feel as if the Word of the Lord is rare, and that
there are not many visions.
Yet, in our time, just as in Samuel’s time, God is still speaking.
God is still willing and able to call and lift up godly leaders.
But from the calls of God that we read about in Scripture, it often seems like God’s voice comes as a
surprise to everyone--including the person God calls.
Our Old Testament Lesson reveals to us that both Samuel and Eli were puzzled over God’s calling of the
12 year old Samuel.
God called out three times to Samuel in the night.
And three times Samuel ran to Eli to ask what the priest needed after Samuel heard his name called.
When Sameul came to Eli for the third time, finally Eli perceived that it was God Who was calling the boy.
“Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.”
Do we know the Lord?
Has the Word of the Lord been revealed to us?
Listen! God is speaking.
So Eli told Samuel to return to his bed: “and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is
Samuel had been hearing God, but he hadn’t been listening.
And admittedly, at times all of us have trouble listening.
Maybe we’re watching our favorite football team on Monday night, and our wife is talking to us about
something important that happened to her.
As she talks, we may mumble, “Uh, huh.”
Until, finally, in exasperation, she says with tension in her voice, “You are not listening to what I am
When God speaks, do we listen?
...or do we just mumble, “Uh, huh,” and continue with what we are doing?
“Do you have trouble hearing?” asked the teacher of a youngster who sat dreamily at his desk.
“No, ma’am,” replied the boy, “I have trouble listening.”
“So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!”
But unlike the other times...this time...Samuel was listening!
“Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.”
How do we know when God calls us?
One test is to determine if the calling is consistent with the Word of God revealed in the Scriptures.
According to his auto-biography, Billy Graham has wrestled with similar issues.
When Dr. Graham was just starting out as an Evangelist...
...the year was 1949, and he wasn’t aware that he was on the brink of being catipulted into worldwide
fame and influence.
Ironically, as he readied himself for his breakthrough crusade in Los Angeles, Dr. Graham found himself
grappling with God’s call on his life.