Listen Where God Speaks!

August 7, 2022

Pastor Gunnar Ledermann

1 Samuel 3:1-10

1 Samuel 3:1-10

1 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.”

I vow to love you with all my heart because we are soulmates, and I could never find anyone else who completes me the way you do. I vow to follow you wherever you go and stand by you even if no one else believes we can do it. I vow to call you my honey bear and love you even if I have to stand in a hurricane. When you listen to wedding vows, the promises sound nice, but they often fail to make the fundamental promise of marriage. Marriage is a promise to remain faithful to one person as long as you live.

It is important to listen when someone is speaking. If two people speak at each other, but no one listens, it is not a conversation. Instead, it is a waste of time. In our Old Testament reading from 1 Samuel 3, we hear the account of the Lord speaking to Samuel when he was a young boy. There were two major influences on Samuel before the Lord spoke to him. Before the Lord spoke to Samuel, he listened to his mother Hannah and the priest Eli. We learn a lot about Hannah and Eli from listening to them speak. We learn that Hannah was faithful to the Lord, she was married, but not able to have children. She often wept because she did not have children, so she prayed to the Lord, and eventually he blessed her with a baby boy, Samuel. On the other hand, Eli had two sons who served with him as priests in the temple. His sons were wicked taking the choice cuts of meat for themselves from the Israelites offerings to the Lord and going to bed with the women who served at the Tabernacle, where the ark of the covenant was kept, and the Lord met with his people. Eli spoke to them about their wickedness, but they did not listen. And the Lord promised to put them both to death on the same day for their wickedness, and he made good on his promise.

Samuel lived at a time when many did not listen to the Lord. Hundreds of years before the time of Samuel God spoke to his people through the prophet Moses. Then, he spoke to the various Judges who led Israel before Israel had Kings. Samuel lived at the time Israel transitioned from the Judges to the Kings, a time described in 1 Samuel 3, 1 … In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. Israel was at a spiritual low point when Samuel was a young boy. He served under the priest Eli at the Tabernacle because his mother Hannah promised that she would dedicate her child to the Lord if he blessed her with one. One night while Samuel was sleeping at the Tabernacle, he heard someone calling his name. This happened three times. Each time, Samuel when to Eli thinking he had called him, but each time he was sent away because it was not Eli. The third time this happened, we read,

8 … 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.”

Again, at this time it was rare that the Lord spoke directly to anyone, and Samuel was so young that he had not yet received a vision from the Lord. When the Lord was calling Samuel, Eli finally realized it was the Lord speaking and he gave Samuel the proper directions. Unlike Eli’s wicked sons, Samuel listened to Eli and listened to the Lord.

Where you go to listen to someone matters. When Samuel heard his name, the most logical source was Eli, but he was wrong. Eli pointed Samuel to the correct source. He also reminded Samuel that he was a servant of the Lord. A servant listens to the master. A servant does the listening while the master does the speaking. You and I are also servants of the Lord. You and I are meant to listen when the Lord speaks. The source for the Lord’s words to us is the Bible. In our New Testament reading from Colossians 3, we hear what results from listening to the Lord,

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

When you listen to the Lord, the message of Christ is living in you.

This message is alive with the power of God. The Holy Spirit worked through the message of Christ to give you faith and continues to grow your faith through this message. This message opened your eyes to see your hurt, shortcomings, anxiety and struggle to find identity among other things are the result of sin. Sin took you from where God wanted you to be and put you on a path where there is no hope just death and hell. This message of Christ also spoke of the only way to get where God wants you to be. God made peace with you through Jesus’ exchange at the cross. Jesus took your sin and punishment, and he gave you his righteousness and the reward of heaven. Listening to this message brings you peace and thanksgiving. This message is what you are called to teach and admonish, call to repentance, one another with, which we do each week in worship through psalms, hymns and songs of praise rich in words, phrases and passages from Scripture. The hymns and songs of praise chosen for worship are not like wedding vows with lots of nice sounding words that do not get to the point. Instead, they get at the heart of what we need using God’s Word to expose our sins and the danger they pose to us, and our Savoir Jesus who saved us through his sacrifice on the cross to give us forgiveness, righteousness and eternal life in heaven. When you are eager to hear God speak to you, open your Bible. And if like Samuel you are unfamiliar with Scripture, go to your pastor who will direct you where to go in Scripture.

Trouble comes when you do the speaking to God rather than the listening. In our Gospel reading from Luke 10, Jesus, the Lord, again called to someone. A woman named Martha invited him to her home. Jesus went and taught. While he was teaching, Martha’s sister, Mary, sat listening to Jesus,

40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Martha’s faith brought her to invite Jesus where she could best connect with him, but she became distracted. Martha’s priorities were mixed up and so much so that Martha spoke, when it was time to listen. She spoke what was on her heart and Jesus listened. Jesus listened to Martha, and then he told her what she needed to hear.

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha was not where she needed to be. Jesus spoke directly to what was bothering her and to the solution. Martha needed to be where she could listen to Jesus, beside her sister Mary. Your Lord Jesus calls you away from the worry, anxiety, anger, business, schedules, work, productivity, results, expectations, frustrations, etc. in his word. You and I are all guilty of speaking too much, whether out loud or in our head. Stop speaking and listen. As Jesus told Martha and Mary, listening to him is better. Do what is better and listen to Jesus, and it, Jesus’ love, forgiveness and peace, will not be taken away from you.

I vow to call you my honey bear and love you even if I have to stand in a hurricane. When you listen to wedding vows, the promises sound nice, but they often fail to make the fundamental promise of marriage, faithfulness. Samuel’s mother Hannah was faithful to the Lord trusting him to answer her prayers and to take care of her son, Samuel, who grew up serving at the Tabernacle. Eli struggled with raising his sons, but he gave Samuel the right directions when it came to listening to the Lord. God listens to what is in your heart, and he speaks to what you need. Sin causes the hardships in your life, even death. Stop speaking when the hardships come and listen where God speaks. The where is God’s Word, the Bible, Scripture, which saves you from sin, death and hell. The where is God’s Word which gives you peace, thanksgiving, teachings, gratitude, wisdom, repentance, what is better, the one thing needful that will not be taken away from you, your Savior Jesus. Listen where God speaks. Amen.

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