Archive for August, 2010

“Speak, for you servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10b

Recently, I taught a Sunday School lesson based on 1 Samuel 3. I invite you to join me in discovering the importance of hearing from God through the life of His servant, Samuel.

“In those days the word of the LORD was rare.” (1 Samuel 3:1b)
Was God’s Word rare because He wasn’t speaking? Or was it rare because they weren’t listening? Examine yourself. Is God’s Word rare in your life? In your home? In your family? In your church?

I have at least ten Bibles within easy reach at any given time. That does not include the nine versions on my PC. Yet for the past few years God’s Word was rare to my heart—not because God wasn’t speaking, but because I wasn’t listening. Sure, I picked a Bible up often and scanned the words written there, but I replaced in-depth Bible Study and quiet time with a mild interest in God’s Word. He longs for an intimate relationship with us. If we want the same, we must immerse ourselves in His Word. Make the Bible a cherished treasure in your home.

“Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.” (1 Samuel 3:7)

This young boy lived in the tabernacle—24 hours a day, seven days a week—yet he did not recognize God’s voice. Why do you think that was? Samuel served God. He worshipped Him. He ministered before Him. He knew about God, yet He did not know God.

Each week our churches are filled with people who serve God, who teach and preach, and sing praises to Him, yet many of these people don’t really know Him. They know about God, but they have not come to the realization that they need a Savior, and therefore many do not have a personal relationship with Him.

How about you? Do you truly know God? Do you have an intimate relationship with Him? If you are not hearing from God, if you do not recognize His voice when He calls your name, perhaps you need to examine where you stand with Him. Are you truly saved? If you have doubts and want to be sure, this article may help: How to be Sure of Your Salvation.

The LORD called Samuel, a mere child.

Why did God call a child? Is it that this child’s heart was more open to God’s message? Or were the adults not listening? Or was their sin so vile that God refused to speak to them? There is a note in my Bible: “God’s chain of command is based on faith, not on age or position. In finding faithful followers, God may use unexpected channels. Be prepared for the Lord to work at any place, at any time, and through anyone He chooses.”

Samuel’s heart had been prepared from birth for this moment, for God’s message.

Hannah’s words recorded in 1 Samuel 1:28: “So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.“
1 Samuel 2:18: “Samuel was ministering before the LORD . . .”
1 Samuel 2:26: “And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men.”
1 Samuel 3:1: “The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli.”

In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Moses tells the people . . .
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

How do you measure up according to these commandments? Are you preparing your children’s hearts so that they will recognize God’s voice when He calls them? Are you impressing God’s Word on your children every day? Do you talk about the Bible when you sit at home? Do you share God’s message with them as you walk or ride through your daily routines? Do you text them often with special Words from God? If you want your child to grow up to be the Samuel of this generation, you need to start at birth. Dedicate them to the Lord and don’t ever stop training them in the way they should go.

If you do this, you can claim the promise in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

God called Samuel by name.
Do you believe that God still calls His children by name? Jesus used the analogy of a shepherd and sheep in John 10:1-18 to indicate that YES, He still calls us by name . . .

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

When was the last time you heard Him call your name?

Lastly, The Word of the LORD was cherished by Samuel.

“The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.” (1 Samuel 3:19)

Isn’t that a beautiful depiction of God’s desire for us? Oh that we’d never let God’s Words fall to the ground! Matthew Henry wrote, “We may expect that God will speak to us, when we set ourselves to hearken to what he says. When we come to read the word of God, and to attend on the preaching of it, we should come thus disposed, submitting ourselves to the commanding light and power of it.”

The commanding light and power of God’s Word. Do you long for it? Do you set yourself to hearken to what God says? Do you truly treasure His Word? In Habakkuk 2:1 we find this beautiful word picture: “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.”

Will you stand on the rampart today? Will you wait in eager expectation for God to speak to you?

If so, approach God’s throne of grace today and say to Him, “Lord, I’m here to hear!”

Then you may hear Him say, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:21


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