Our hearing might be okay, but our listening skills might not be.
1 Samuel 3:1-18
Listening is a challenge. We might…
- be too busy with our own thoughts and agendas
- already think we know enough or more than the speaker
- not like the speaker
- not be able to hear over the din—over loaded senses!
Sometimes we just don’t care.
God is always listening to us. He knows everything about us, every minute detail of our lives from conception to our final breath (Psalm 139).
We too can learn to listen.
Consider this story of the young boy who learned to listen and follow, to discern God’s voice and follow God’s leading in obedience. That young boy is Samuel.
The early disciples also learned how to hear Jesus’ voice, to listen and to follow Him!
1 Samuel 3 starts out by telling us the “word of God” was rare in those days and that visions were infrequent.
Yet, amazingly, God is always speaking—through nature. Consider that great old hymn, “How Great Thou Art” where the hymn writer reflects and responds in wonder to God’s creative voice.
God speaks through His prophets and preachers who proclaim God’s word.
God speaks through the Bible—the Spirit breathed Word!
The problem is we cannot hear because we are not listening. If we do hear, do we put into practice what God tells us? We need to let God’s Word inform and instruct us. We need to let God’s Word change us!
Sometimes we do not listen and follow God’s Word because we are caught up in our own thoughts and ideas. We do not want to let go of our errant thinking. We protect our position, our power and our privileges.
Like young Samuel we can pray, “Speak Lord. Your servant is listening!”
Pray for a receptive and open heart, mind and soul.
Let God’s Word confront us, challenge us, change us—change our values, our thinking, our priorities, agenda; our worldview!
Let go of our false thinking, stop being defensive, proud, obtuse!
God can speak through a donkey if we are listening, just like Balaam’s donkey in Numbers 22.
God’s Word calls us out of ourselves, to care past ourselves. God’s Word calls us to be vulnerable, humble and teachable. God’s Word, over and over again calls us to care for the vulnerable and marginalized in society.
When we hear God speaking to us we need to respond with obedience like the disciples Jesus called to “come, follow Me.” We need to put into practice what we hear and learn. Show God we are listening.
Consider Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things out of Your law (Word).”
Jesus opened the eyes—minds and hearts—of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. That story if recorded in Luke 24.
When we are listening we must be willing to be surprised and interrupted, to be inconvenienced. God changes our plans and agendas.
Consider the group of military veterans who cleaned up the litter and graffiti of the insurrection that took place in early January 2021. They wanted our country to know they did not agree with the insurrectionists who violently stormed the capital.
God give us ears to hear and hearts to know and follow. In Jesus’ name. Amen!