Summary: “Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel answered, ‘speak, for your servant hears” 1 Samuel 3:10.
Theme: Speak Lord, your servant is listening
Text: 1 Sam. 3:1-10; 1 Cor. 6:12-20; Jn. 1:35-42
The letter to the Hebrews begins by telling us “In the past, God spoke to our ancestors many times and in many ways through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us through his Son, Jesus Christ.” Before the world was created, the Word already existed; he was with God, and he was the same as God. The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out. The Word was in the world, and though God made the world through him, yet the world did not recognise him. In other words, the people refused to listen to Him. They didn’t recognise that in the rainbow or sunset God was telling them about himself. Too often, in fact, people began to worship and serve the trees and rocks and flowers that God has made instead of the Creator himself! God is always speaking to us and teaching us the truth but are we listening? He speaks to us through the various tests we face in life. In school we are given lessons and then tested to make sure we have learnt the lessons. The teacher, depending on how well we have performed, then grades us. If we receive a passing grade, we graduate to the next level or grade, one that is more difficult and more challenging. The same principle is evident in life. The only difference is that the tests we do in school will one-day end but the tests of life continue throughout life. God is always testing us and determines our passing grade based on our performance in dealing with the various trials and frustrations we face. When we have passed one course, we move on to the next course, which is more difficult and more challenging. Just as we are rewarded after completing school with many good opportunities, so great blessings come to those who pass the tests of life. And just as the teacher is pleased with his successful students so God is pleased with those who prove themselves faithful. We can only pass these tests when we listen carefully. God will only speak to those He knows are prepared to listen, those who are faithful. ‘Speak Lord your servant is listening’ is the only way we can approach God when we want to hear Him speak to us.
God speaks to us in many ways. We either refuse to listen to Him or we allow sin or greed to get in the way of any communication with Him. Listening to God and responding to Him is vital to a relationship with God. Although God does not always use the sound of a human voice, He always speaks clearly through His Word. Today the written Word of God is the most frequent way God uses to speak to us. God never speaks against what He has written. God also speaks to us by making His Word come alive to in many different situations and conditions especially during times of prayer and worship. Although it is true that praying a lot, praising God and doing other godly things will make us more receptive to the voice of God, it is also true that we cannot force God to speak to us. We can never make ourselves worthy enough by anything we do for God to feel obliged to speak to us. We rather need to be ready to listen and act upon what He tells us. Like Samuel we need to be ready to say ‘speak Lord, your servant is listening’.