Summary: Inviting God to graciously Shatter the Silence in his communication to us requires that we position ourselves to hear his voice.
Shattering the Silence: Hearing from God
November 25, 2001
This Thanksgiving we went to Tulsa to spend time with some of our family who lives there and we had opportunity to meet up with a cousin of mine whom we haven¡¦t heard from in more than 5 years. We quickly got caught up mentioning how long it had been which of course led to an extensive conversation about other people I haven¡¦t heard from. One of my cousins there graduated in the same high school class that I did, and we visited about a number of our peers all of whom he had been in contact with. I think the funniest thing I learned was that two of my friends were asked to speak at career day at our high school in a time when neither of them were employed I think they were in the ¡§learn from the mistakes of others¡¨ booth.
You can just imagine how this conversation went. It started with the question, ¡§have you heard from so and so?¡¨ As Brandon completed one bio and the laughs died down, the transitional question to fill the silence was, ¡§well have you heard from so-and-so?¡¨ What was most interesting to me was that there were very few people that Brandon had not heard from. AS a matter of fact, we probably discussed 25 people, some of whom had been detained by authorities and other who should have been detained, he knew something about 20 of them and I only had information on 1 of them.
I was impressed with how he had heard from so many of my acquaintances, and felt a little shamed by his contact. So pretty soon I found myself involved in a conversation about how he had heard from so many people. The difference was effort. When he travels back to South Carolina, he looks them up. When he calls one he gets numbers for the others. On one occasion he chased down a rumor that one of our friends was in Charlotte, North Carolina. He took a chance and called information, got a number called his house and had a wonderful conversation with our friend¡¦s wife who had no clue who he was. He made the effort, he¡¦s got the scoop.
Our conversation was a very timely one for me because I have been intending to ask you a very similar question today. ¡§Have you heard from God lately?¡¨
I hear lots of people in conversation asking how to hear from God. They think they are hearing him but they are not sure, or they are interested in hearing from him but they don¡¦t. What we all need to understand is that hearing from God is much like hearing from old friends. It takes E for effort.
Hear ye, hear ye! You don¡¦t earn the right to hear from God. Your responsibility is to put yourself in the right situation to hear from him and then in his grace and mercy he will shatter the silence and speak.
Today we are going to look at one of my favorite people in the entire Bible. His name is Samuel. If you don¡¦t know much about him, his story unfolds for us in the book of 1 Samuel. He is the only man in scripture to hold the offices of prophet, judge, and priest. He is also one of the few heroes of our faith whose story is chronicled literally from beginning to end. The scripture tells the story of the unusual circumstances surrounding his conception and how he was promised to God. His life is then traced from childhood to old age and ultimately to death. But what is perhaps most unique about Samuel, is that the scripture opens the door of his prayer closet and gives us a glimpse at how he first heard God¡¦s voice and learned to recognize his call. By looking at Samuel¡¦s life we are going learn that hearing from God comes from intimacy with God, cultivated through discipline, or a little effort.
Turn in your Bibles to 1 Samuel 3:1-19 (READ).
I want you to see that there are three disciplines that we can engage in that will invite God to shatter the silence.
First, shattering the silence requires the discipline of service.
To shatter the silence, you must render service to the Lord. What is service? It is dutiful engagement in what is right. Now this is very important to understand because we are talking about hearing from God personally.
We have said this before, but it is absolutely imperative to make mention of it again in this context today, there are some things that you do not need special or personal instruction from the Lord. Should you be generous? No question. Should you pray? No question. Should you attend church on a regular basis? No question. The Bible is very clear here.