Title: How to Hear the Voice of God
Theme: To show how to hear the voice of the Lord and to listen
Text: 1 Samuel 3:1
Over the last month or so we have been talking about Authentic Christianity. We have been working on an understanding about what it is to be an authentic “real” Christian. So far we have seen that it is important to separate our selves and know the Lord is coming at any moment “Parable of the 10 Virgins”, also we must move from “Religion to Relationship” and finally we are to be “Salt & Light” to the world.
Act 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.
Prophesied about the coming drought or devastation
Acts 11:27-30 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. (28) Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. (29) Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. (30) This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
Gave warning and confirmation to Paul
Act 21:10-14 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. (11) And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. (12) And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. (13) Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. (14) And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.
Why do we need to hear the voice or a prophetic word from the Lord
1) To confirm that which we already know
2) To give confidence in a task to achieve
3) To confirm that which will happen later on
4) To show God’s power with us
Interferences from hearing the voice of the Lord
1) Our mind
Rom 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Mat 6:25-34 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? (26) Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (27) Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? (28) "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. (29) Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (30) If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (31) So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (32) For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (33) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
3) Satan – the accuser of the brethren Rev 12:10
Samuel: Hearing the Voice of the Lord
1Samuel 3:1 The boy Samuel was serving GOD under Eli's direction. This was at a time when the revelation of GOD was rarely heard or seen. 2 One night Eli was sound asleep (his eyesight was very bad--he could hardly see). 3 It was well before dawn; the sanctuary lamp was still burning. Samuel was still in bed in the Temple of GOD, where the Chest of God rested. 4 Then GOD called out, "Samuel, Samuel!" Samuel answered, "Yes? I'm here." 5 Then he ran to Eli saying, "I heard you call. Here I am." Eli said, "I didn't call you. Go back to bed." And so he did. 6 GOD called again, "Samuel, Samuel!" Samuel got up and went to Eli, "I heard you call. Here I am." Again Eli said, "Son, I didn't call you. Go back to bed." 7 (This all happened before Samuel knew GOD for himself. It was before the revelation of GOD had been given to him personally.) 8 GOD called again, "Samuel!"--the third time! Yet again Samuel got up and went to Eli, "Yes? I heard you call me. Here I am." That's when it dawned on Eli that GOD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli directed Samuel, "Go back and lie down. If the voice calls again, say, 'Speak, GOD. I'm your servant, ready to listen.'" Samuel returned to his bed. 10 Then GOD came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, "Samuel! Samuel!" Samuel answered, "Speak. I'm your servant, ready to listen."
The land was dry spiritually. There was just nothing going on. Especially when it came from receiving a fresh revelation from the Lord. This was not anything knew but had been going on for a good many years.
The problem was that there was not prophet or faithful priest in the land. At this time God would use two people to get a word to the people. It would either come through a judge or a priest. Soon we will see a new role and that is the prophet.
Eli the priest of the day had long burned out his spiritual fire. His children had made a mess of the priesthood. They were conning people and seducing young ladies. Eli’s main fault was that he would turn a blind eye to their sin.
Yet God has a plan. God saw the wickedness and this discontent. So God rose up a new priest. God spoke to a man by the name of Samuel. Samuel was a man of character who was after the heart of God. So God called him into the priesthood.
I want to show you something interesting about this passage.
1Sa 3:7 (This all happened before Samuel knew GOD for himself. It was before the revelation of GOD had been given to him personally.)
Samuel at this time was probable around 9 years old. He had been in the temple for over 6 years. Yet he did not know the Lord. He had done the work of the Lord but he did not know him personally.
Yet we read that God called him and verses 19-20 reads
“ And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.” (1Sa 3:19-20 AV)
They found something in Samuel that they had not seen in a many years. They found a man who spoke for God and his prophecies were true. They found a man who, as one translation reads, was “the real thing—a true prophet of God”.
It all came from a vision. It all began when Samuel began to hear the voice of God and listen.
I believe that there are many people out there that God is speaking to. I don’t believe that I have a lock on God. I don’t believe that God only speaks to me. But there are many that hear from God.
Yet I also believe that God would like to speak to many more people. I believe that he would like to get the attention of many people. God is a personal God he wants that relationship.
I believe that he is also calling to people yet they are not hearing his voice. He is calling out.
Samuel heard from God and God used him mightily. If we listen to God and obey his voice he will use us mightily.
So the question we must ask is, “How do we hear the voice of God?” As we seen in this story I want to tell you a few things that must be done to “hear God’s voice”
Location, Location, Location
Notice where Samuel was at when he heard God’s call, “
1Sa 3:3 It was well before dawn; the sanctuary lamp was still burning. Samuel was still in bed in the Temple of GOD, where the Chest of God rested.
Samuel was in the temple of God near the chest of God or the ark of the covenant. As you know the ark of the covenant represented the presence of God. It represented the glory of the Lord.
There is something about being around or in the presence of God.
This is the lesson that Obed-edom learned. Oh, you say, who is Obed-edom. Well we are first introduced to him in
2 Samuel 6. His house is where the ark of the covenant was stored after David’s first failed attempt to bring it back to Jerusalem. You may remember that right after the calling of Samuel, Israel got into a fight with the Philistines. They had remembered the power of the ark and brought it into battle. Well it was not the ark that was what had power but it was God. The ark was captured by the Philistines. Then drove away by them. It made it back to Israelite country but not Jerusalem.
Well David went after it. You probably know the story. On David’s first attempt Uriah stuck his hand out to steady the ark and he was killed. David was hurt and mad and sent it to the house of Obed-edom.
God blessed Obed-edom’s house. Yet something changed for Obed-edom. There was something about being in the presence of God.
From then on you see Obed-edom’s name mentioned numerous of times. Each time it is associated with the work of the ark. Next we see him in 1Chronicals 15, here he was a porter or “ark carrier” in verse 18. In verse 21 he is a musician and in verse 24 he is a door keeper. He wanted to stay close to the presence of the Lord.
So I believe that the first step to hearing from God is to get into his presence.
James 4:8 tells us, “Draw nigh to God and he will draw near to you”
The second step in Hearing from God is to pay close attention to his calling. Samuel didn’t know God nor did he know the voice of God. Yet he was listening. He was awake. Eli was asleep. Samuel was awake. He was paying attention. He was in the right place.
Notice the timing. Timing is everything. Samuel was awake late at night.
A third important step in hearing the voice of God is instruction. Listening to the instruction of others. Samuel listened to Eli. Sometimes God speaks through others.
I believe the last thing we learn from this story is acceptance. Samuel said, “Speak Lord your servant hears.”
Acceptance is a big part. We must accept the call of God. We must be willing to receive his instruction.
How does God speak?
a) God speaks through his ministers (5 fold ministry) Ephesians 4;11-12
b) God speaks through his Word Ps 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path”
c) God speaks through the Holy Spirit Romans 8:16 “The spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit”
d) God through our inward voice or conscience.
e) God speaks through his authorative voice (Peter and this vision in Acts 10)