Summary: One of the most frustrating things about prayer is that we seem to be doing all the talking. How do I "hear" God’s answers if He’s not "answering" me?
OPEN: The father of a teenage daughter was concerned with the amount of time she spent on the telephone; not so much for the time she wasted (he had given up on that long ago), but because nobody else could use the phone.
So, as a happy solution, he had a telephone installed for her with her own private number and directory listing.
Two or three days after her telephone had been installed, he came home to find her stretched out on the floor with her feet on the living room couch and chatting away on the family telephone. Her own telephone was resting silently on her dresser.
"Why are you using our telephone," he yelled. "Why aren’t you talking on your own telephone?"
"I can’t," she said, "I’m expecting an important call on MY phone."
APPLY: When it comes to praying, Christians would like to have a direct line to God. They’d love to have a phone where they KNOW that they can expect a important call from Him. But the one thing that frustrates many Christians is that it seems to be something of a one-way street.
We do all the talking
God… listens. But He doesn’t seem to say a whole lot.
Now we do have an advantage. We have a book called the Bible filled with 66 separate revelations from God where we can learn just about everything God wants to have us know. But in the days of Samuel’s youth we’re told: “ … the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.” 1 Samuel 3:1
Now that was particularly hard on these folks because they didn’t have nearly as much Bible as we do.
They had the first 5 books – Genesis thru Deuteronomy
And they might have had Joshua and Judges (which told the history of Israel up to that time, but many people believe these were composed by Samuel)
Maybe they even the book of Job and Ruth
But that would have been about all they’d have had - 7 or 8 books.
It kind of limited their Bible study options.
Previous to Samuel’s day, God had actively led Moses and Joshua during their lives.
And during the days of the Judges, God had spoken to and guided people like Gideon and Debra.
But now in Samuel’s day… that’s kind of trailed off.
So, they only have a handful of books.
God isn’t talking to much of anyone.
But God’s looking for someone He can pick up the phone and talk to.
That someone is Samuel.
God has always wanted someone who will listen to Him.
All thru scripture you can hear God say: "Listen to me! Listen to me!"
· “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that you may learn them, and keep, and do them” (Deuteronomy 5:1)
· “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one”. (Deuteronomy 6:4)
· “Hear, O Israel the word which the LORD speaks unto you” (Jeremiah 10:1)
· “Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak… and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth” (Deuteronomy 32:1)
· Jesus Said: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27)
· Jesus Said: “He that has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:15)
And why does God want someone to listen Him?
In the Old Testament He said:
· “Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you” (Deuteronomy 6:3)
· “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, [even] the sure mercies of David” (Isaiah 55:3)
What God’s saying is this: listen to me because…
I want to bless you.
I want to give you what your heart desires
BUT if you’re not going to listen to me - I can’t do that.
Now Eli - the priest - had long ago stopped listening to God because he didn’t like what God was asking him to do.
And Eli’s sons (Hophni & Phineas - who were also priests at the tabernacle as Eli was) those sons had not only ignored God, but they pretended to speak for God telling the people to give them a choice part of their sacrifices that priests weren’t supposed to receive. (I Samuel 2:13-17)
In essence Eli’s sons were saying was “God spoke to me”
They had an agenda.
They wanted to manipulate the other worshippers for their own advantage.
ILLUS: Last week Stan (a member of our congregation) was in a side room with a microphone. He and I did a little skit where I prayed the Lord’s Prayer… and Stan played God, responding to me as I prayed.