Summary: A look at the story of Samuel as a boy in the temple, asking the questions why should we listen to God? and Is God still speaking today? With the intention to inspire God’s people to listen to Him.
INTRO (credit to www.stillspeaking.com)
This morning we’re going to talk about listening to God. We want to be careful listeners and not let other things get in the way.
Later, while you’re in Sunday school, I’m going to talk to the adults about a young person named Samuel. He had been sent to the temple to learn about being a priest. This was an honour, not a punishment.
Let’s see what good listeners you are. Each time I say the name "Samuel," you are to jump up and say, "Here I am!" and then lie back down again.
To begin, direct children to lie down and pretend they’re sleeping.
Samuel (pause while children jump up and down) was a young person who loved God and did what God asked. Samuel (pause) lived at the temple with Eli, the minister. One night while sleeping, Samuel (pause) heard a voice calling his name. He ran to Eli and said, "Here I am." Eli was very sleepy. He yawned and said, "I didn’t call you. Go back to sleep." Then Samuel (pause) heard a voice calling his name again. He ran to Eli and said, "Here I am." Eli was still very sleepy. He yawned and said, "I didn’t call you. Go back to sleep." For the third time, Samuel (pause) heard his name. He ran to Eli and said, "Here I am." This time Eli realized that God was trying to speak to Samuel (pause). Eli told him to say, "Speak, God, I am listening." One more time Samuel (pause) heard a voice calling his name and he said, "Speak, God, I am listening." And God told Samuel (pause) many important things. Samuel (pause) listened to the Lord that night and for the rest of his life.
ILL. - Ask for a volunteer. Give them the radio and ask them to turn it on. What can they hear? (This should be nothing more than a hiss.) Then ask your volunteer to turn the tuning dial. Stop them when a programme can be clearly heard.
God wants us to hear what he is saying, but it is no use just sitting and listening out for something. We won’t hear any great booming voice from the clouds. Like the radio needs to be tuned in, we need to be tuned in to God to hear what he is saying to us. We can do this through careful study of the Bible, through regular prayer, and through listening to other Christians. When God talks to us, we’ll hear clearly what it is that he is asking us to do, rather than just a hiss.
Reading: 1 Samuel 2v12 – 18, 2v22 – 4v1
ILL- It has been said that on average we think four or five times faster than we talk. This means that if I speak at 120 words a minute, you will be thinking at 500 words a minute!
I guess either I’ll need to talk faster, or you’ll need to listen slower this morning.
ILL- Now God gave us two ears and only one mouth.
Was this because He wants us to spend twice as much time listening as talking? Or is it because He knew that we would find listening twice as hard?
Listening to God’s voice should be one of the most important parts of our life. Listening is the only way to know Him and His will and purpose for your life.
ILL- A music teacher once asked her class what is the difference between listening and hearing. At first there was no response. Finally a hand went up at the back of the class and one of the young people offered this wise definition: “Listening is wanting to hear!”
Do you want to hear God, do you want to listen?
God is always speaking to his people; the key is that we must want to listen.
Eli’s sons refused to listen to God
Eli’s sons Hophni [ HAHF-nai ] and Phinehas [ FEHN-ee-uhs ] were priests of the Lord at Shiloh [ SHAI-lo ], Shiloh was were the Lord’s temple and the Ark of the Covenant were.
Because of their high positions within the priesthood they would have been aware of how they should have conducted themselves and their duties in God’s house.
However we are told that they chose to ignore God’s guidelines, they took the best parts of the sacrifices for themselves and were sleeping with the women who worked at the temple.
They also chose not to listen to God’s word of rebuke spoken to them through their father, Eli – Eli was the high priest and a judge.
So (Eli) said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the Lord’s people. If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke.