Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Teach Us To Listen

Year 4-Day 68: Today...I am grateful for for those who teach us to listen when God speaks. 

“Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 (NIV)

This is another scripture that jumped out to me in childhood.  Perhaps, because Samuel is a child at the time of this event.  He is in the house of God and there to learn and serve Eli, and God calls his name.  Not the "still small voice" we hear in our hearts...but he actually called his name. Scary or exciting?  Maybe, both. 

Samuel was sleeping in the temple where the Ark of the Covenant of God was kept. For many, God's house was a place to go out of tradition or duty. For Samuel, his mother, Hannah,  promised God that if he gifted her with a child, would give that child back to the Lord. She kept her word with a grateful heart...and I am sure some tears.  I have struggled to understand the courage it took to fulfill that promise, but she did. 

You don't break packs you make with God. The house of God became Samuel's home and Eli became his teacher and mentor. He taught him to respond when God call. 

1 Samuel 3:9-10 : "Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 

Hannah kept her promise.
Eli taught him the Word of God ...and to listen.

Samuel listened and responded to God's call. 

The message God gave Samuel was not easy.  It was regarding Eli's own house and his rebellious children.  It was not good news. Still, he asked that Samuel deliver the message as God had given...even if he wasn't going to like it. 

1 Samuel 3: 16-18  But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17 And Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.”  

There was some tough stuff to swallow, but Eli listened and accepted.  His faith did not falter because of his disappointments.  He embraced what God put before him and letting go of the things he could not control. Tough stuff.  

Here is what the Lord said to Samuel: 

 1 Samuel 3:11-14- Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.  And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God,[a] and he did not restrain them.  Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

No one likes to deliver bad news. For Samuel, this was his first encounter with God speaking to him in a human voice.  Why couldn't it have been good news? Samuel listened and did not shake off the truth he was given. 

Once again...God uses a child. Then that child grows up and chooses a child to be the next king of Israel (David). And that child grows up and from his offspring God will send our Messiah as a baby. 

Yes...Eli is a part of the story of Samuel...who is part of the story of David...that leads us to the birth of Jesus. There is a bigger picture we cannot see. God says, "Trust in me." 

"Speak Lord. Your servant is listening". 

Today...I am grateful for for those who teach us to listen when God speaks. 

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