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Summary: Stewardship sermon....kind of, sort of. God calls us to both ministry and stewardship - but expects obedience First joke is not funny, but is a set up for later

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A certain Jewish couple, expecting to the their first child, argued hotly about what name should be given to their little boy. This went on for weeks. Finally, exhausted, they asked their rabbi to intervene.

The exasperated mom-to-be said, "I want to name my child after my father, but my husband wants to name him after his father."

"What is your father’s name?" the rabbi asked the woman. "Joseph,"

"And what is your father’s name?" the rabbi asked the man. "Joseph,"

Then what’s the problem?"

"The problem," said the woman, "is that my father was a man with a Godly reputation, his father was a cheat and a liar. If we call our son Joseph, how will I know that we didn’t end up naming him after the wrong father?"

Little Samuel – this precious little boy – just going about living his life…..

Unaware of the spiritual reality around him,

Unaware of who he was,

Unaware that God will use him to bring spiritual renewal,

Even unaware of the true existence of God.

Little Samuel, in the middle of the night – BOOM, God speaks and Samuel is unaware no more.

Have you ever had an experience like that? You know, you know about God, maybe believe in Jesus Christ. Perhaps have grown up in a Christian home, even studied extensively the bible and theology. But then, there is that moment: Sometimes its mystical; Sometimes there is an acute awareness that comes over you; Sometimes it’s an event; Sometimes …. It is difficult to explain, but there it is…and you know without a doubt – God is real. You knew God was real before….but not like this!

For some folks this can happen many times.

Story: Bike Chain

I was about 12 years old. Friend and I and his little brother were riding bikes. Little brother – his bike chain fell off repeatedly – he couldn’t get it back on alone. We were getting upset like little kids do and when the chain came off came of one last time. We rode ahead leaving him alone by the side of the road. We vowed to not go back to help him. But, we stopped, he was crying, we went back and helped him with his bike chain We hopped on our bikes and rode no more than a few feet – Ka-blaam! A car careened off the road and into a ditch over the exact spot we were standing moments before. It came by so close that we felt a breeze from the car passing by…

We were unaware no more….

Samuel has a moment like that – but more intense.

As we look at this chapter, chapter three, what word is God bringing to us this morning?I think there are three spiritual keys for us to understand this morning. Ready….On the positive side: 1 An open heart to the spirit of God brings awareness. 2 Responding to the spirit of God in obedience brings an intimate relationship. Conversely, on the negative side: 1 Failure to be open to the spirit of God brings a cloudiness of spiritual things. 2 Failure to be obedient to God brings outright disaster.

Let me say a couple of things about what this passage is not about:

It is not a manual on how to hear God speak.It is not a manual on parenting.

Hearing God Speak. Since your bibles are open (notice, I’m just assuming that now). Since your bibles are open, place your finger on verse 7.

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD:

The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

The word “know” here is Yada (if you did time in NY or NJ you know this word). I went to First Presbyterian on Sunday…yada, yada ya…

Pastor Peter had a good joke in his sermon. This word means more than “know” – it means to intimately know someone. So Samuel isn’t completely unaware, he is working in the temple after all, but he may assume God is like all the pagan gods in the land.

Let me ask: what special preparation does Samuel do to hear God?

Three things: 1. He serves the priest Eli obediently. 2.Apparently is not influenced by the bad behavior of Eli and his sons. 3. He goes to sleep

That’s not really much is it?

Why should God speak to Samuel? He is just a kid. Josephus says he was 12 years old. But Josephus is not known for his accuracy, though I would say since he is called a boy twelve is the most he could be.

Samuel doesn’t even really know God. God speaks to Samuel because he is a gracious God. God simply chooses Samuel. God knows everything, does he not? God then knows that Samuel will respond, because he knows his heart. God elects, chooses, preordains, predestines – however you want to put it. God selects Samuel – and that’s it, the only thing Samuel has going for him is an open heart.

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