On my mother-in-law’s bathroom mirror is a sticky note that says “We want God to work in a microwaveable moment. God uses a crock pot.” When I pray to God, I have to admit that I am looking for an answer now. But God speaks in his time, at his pace, and in his way. God’s word can sometimes come to us rarely. We pray and read scripture, but get “nothing” We sit waiting and it feels like everyone else has the connection we long for. It was at such a time in the history of Israel that a boy named Samuel was born.
The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see,was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was.4 Then the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
8 A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”1 Samuel 3:1-10
- Rareness, expectation and the ways God speaks.
- Confusing the voices of authority with the voice of God.
- Revelation leads to relationship “knowing God”
- Expectant listening leads to changes.
So what is this “voice”? We talk about God’s word, but sometimes the bible doesn’t help, it gives us the words of the good shepherd, but sometimes that voice seems muffled to us no matter where we turn. Jesus opens up to us in John 10 who and what we are listening for.
1 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own 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. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 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 gate. The way in is through faith in the shepherd.
- Calls by name and goes ahead of us.
- Theft and destruction are signs that the robber has come.
- Lays down life.
- Other sheep not of this pen.
- Jesus has gone ahead and is calling us out to sheep not in this pen can we answer as Samuel did?