Summary: May God give us all the attitude of Samuel that says, "Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening."
(Note: For this sermon I had my cell phone in the pulpit. I had someone call me on it just as the sermon began.) The Word of God that we will consider in our sermon this morning is the Old Testament lesson for this Sunday from 1 Samuel 3:1-10. (Cell phone rings…) Just a minute let me take this call. (Talk for a few seconds with the person.) How long would you pay attention to me if I kept talking to someone else while you sat there waiting? Or what would you get out of the sermon if I interrupted it every now and then to receive phone calls? You would be distracted and disappointed. In time you would stop listening to me because I wasn’t giving you my full attention.
We could reverse this situation. Imagine how hard it would be for me to speak to you if you were all talking to each other or carrying on conversations on your cell phones. In time I would just give up trying to communicate with you.
What I just illustrated for you with my cell phone has a number of applications to the way we listen to God and even the way he speaks to us. As we focus on the familiar story in our Old Testament lesson for today from 1 Samuel 3:1-10 about God calling Samuel we will be led to see those connections. In the process we will also be reminded of how important it is for us to give God our full attention and to really listen to what he has to say. We ask the Holy Spirit to work in us the ability that we find in Samuel. May we learn to:
“LISTEN TO THE LORD”
I. With the ears of a servant
II. With the actions of a servant
Our Old Testament lesson begins with this information. “The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli.” Samuel was one of those “miracle” babies of the Old Testament. A barren woman named Hannah prayed intensely for a son. She vowed that if God enabled her to conceive and give birth to a son she would turn him over to serve the LORD all his life. After Samuel was born Hannah kept her vow to the LORD and offered her young son back to the Giver of Life. She placed him in fulltime service to the LORD at the temple that had been constructed at Shiloh.
The first chapters of 1 Samuel not only tell us about Samuel they also tell us about the spiritual conditions among God’s people at that time. Hitting an all time low in their idolatry and immorality the Israelites could barely be recognized as the LORD’s people. Even some of the priests, especially the two sons of the high priest, Eli, were openly ignoring God’s commands and living immoral lives.
After being told that Samuel, the future prophet, was serving at God’s house we are given another important piece of background information. “In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.” Because God’s people were not listening to Him He stopped talking to them!
But that was about to change. God would use Samuel to open the ears of His people. “Listen to the LORD,” would be Samuel’s message. And he himself would be a living example of how that is done. Samuel listened to the LORD with the ears of a servant and the actions of a servant.