Let Them Hear!
Let Them Hear!
1 Samuel 3:1-10
The Word of the Lord was rare...
It’s hard for us to imagine the Word of the Lord being “rare” – right? I mean, we have a church on every other corner here in the “Bible Belt”, and preachers are a dime a dozen (Tammy and I were in Rogers this past Tuesday and there were no less than three preachers in the dining room). But… let’s remember… every voice is not God’s voice, and sometimes we mistake God’s voice for the voice of others.
Eli was a priest in the Temple; Samuel was a helper, kinda like an usher or an acolyte. His job was to keep the flame, that represented the presence of God, burning at all times, when he was on duty.
During the night, Samuel was awakened by a voice… an audible voice calling out his name. Of course, he thought it was Eli, which is easy to understand. Who else would it be? But after this happened a few times, Eli realized it was God speaking to Samuel.
I’ll be the very first person to admit: I’ve never heard God’s audible voice. God has never parted the clouds and thundered down Words for my hearing. I’ve never experienced God’s presence, and voice, in a burning bush.
But that does NOT mean I have never heard God speak! God often uses people like you, to help affirm and re-affirm his voice, his calling. Since I was a child, I was aware that God was nudging me, leading me, speaking to me. But I didn’t always understand. Like Samuel in our lesson today, I didn’t always know it was God’s voice, God’s Spirit leading me. But throughout my life, God has placed a number of Eli’s who’ve helped me hear God’s voice. Some were family members, Sunday school teachers, choir directors, even a preacher or two. They all helped me to respond to God’s voice… which I’m trying to do even today.
Of course, saying the Word was rare is not to say God wasn’t speaking! God is always speaking. Sometimes his voice thunders the universe into existence, while other times he whispers in a still, small voice.
God speaks through us, as we encourage one another, and speak life into the lives of others. Every time we forgive or extend grace… every time we do what’s right and seek God’s Will and ways… every time we trust and obey, God speaks. He speaks through his creation… through signs… through remembrances… through his Word. God is always speaking.
The problem is we’re not always listening. There are so many competing voices in our lives… sometimes in the midst of the noise, God’s voice gets drowned out.
But… most of the time, honestly, God’s voice is muffled by choice. We know perfectly well what God wants, what He’s calling us to do… we just don’t want to do it. Selective hearing. We hear what we want to hear!
And if we… or any one… only hears what we want to hear, we will never truly hear God’s voice. To choose to hear is to fail to listen to God’s Word. And if we fail to listen, we lose our vision. And without vision, without purpose, without a clear directive… we’re lost.
Jesus even talked about this lack of vision, particularly from leaders, and asked, “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?”
The Good News is God (again) is always speaking! He’s too gracious and loving to let us grope around in the darkness. God’s calling to young and old. Men and women, red and yellow, black and white. He’s using people like you and me, to help others hear, and respond to his voice.
The call of ministry, the call of salvation, the call of redemption… is a gift from God to the people of God. A gift to be shared as much as received. God’s calling each and every one of us into ministry, together, as his people, to share his Word in any and every possible way, with those around us.
Just look around. We’re here, in God’s House, as followers of Christ, we’re the Eli’s and Samuel’s of our day. The lights are burning, and God’s voice is calling out our name… “Michael… Julia… Randy… Lori… Robert… Tony… Jerry.” If God wasn’t calling, you wouldn’t be here today.
The question is: will you and I listen to God’s voice?
When Jesus finished teaching his disciples, he once said, “whoever has ears, let them hear!”
In this new year, having just celebrated the coming of Christ; Emmanuel, God with us… will you and I choose to hear, will we respond by sharing the Love, Mercy and Grace of Christ with a community and world that desperately needs to know… or will be pull up the covers and go back to sleep?
As God calls, as he faithfully calls… let’s join together, as Christ’s Spirit leads, and say, “Here I am… I’m listening!”