“Listening as God Speaks” – 1 Samuel 3:10
January 13 & 14, 2018
Let us pray: “Speak, O Lord, Your servant is listening.” Amen.
You probably recognized this brief prayer comes from the words that Eli, the priest, told young Samuel to pray as God was calling Samuel with a very unique call. We are encouraged to continue to use this marvelous prayer
- as we come here to this place for worship, through the songs, hymns, Scriptures, prayers, liturgy; “Speak, O Lord, and help me to really listen!”
- as the sermon begins and God speaks to us through a pastor as we take a few moments to ask “What do the Words read from Holy Scripture mean?” and “How are we to apply God’s Words to our lives?” “Speak, O Lord, and help me to really listen!”
- it is a marvelous prayer to pray also at home, as we prepare to listen to God’s Word in our family and in our personal devotions.
We pray: “Speak, O Lord, and help me to really listen!”
Samuel was God’s answer to his mother, Hannah’s earnest prayer. (What a gracious blessing as God assures us that He ALWAYS listens as we pray!) Hannah had been barren, she earnestly prayed for a child, including quite a unique promise to “give her child to the Lord all the days of his life.” (1 Samuel 1:28) God listened to Hannah’s prayer. Samuel was born and Hannah kept her promise.
Do you know “the rest of the story?” Do you know what God SPOKE to Samuel? In the text that we read, as God called to Samuel a 4th time, Samuel prayed, “Speak, O Lord, Your servant is listening.” In the verses that follow, God SPOKE that He was about to do something that would shock all who heard it! He was about to punish Eli and his two wicked sons because even though they were to be the spiritual leaders, they chose NOT listen or obey God’s Word. Eli chose NOT to carry out his responsibility as a father to SPEAK God’s Word of correction to his wayward sons, and therefore, God pronounced a severe judgment: both of his sons and Eli would all die on the same day!
What a message of Law to parents who let their children continue to grow up in the sinful ways of the world, choosing not to discipline when necessary, choosing not to fulfill their God-given calling to correct and train their children in the knowledge and instruction of God’s Word! In addition, is not it sadly ironic that Eli, who himself chose NOT to listen to God, would give such good instruction to Samuel: “When the LORD calls, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant listens.” Although Eli did not listen, by the grace of God, Samuel DID listen – and what great, blessings God worked throughout Samuel’s lifetime!
A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told his father that was all he wanted.
Shortly after his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box.
Curious, and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man’s name embossed in gold. Angrily, the son threw down the box with the Bible saying to his father, “with all your money you give me a Bible?” and the son stormed out of the house.
Many years passed. The father repeatedly tried to contact his son, but the son refused to LISTEN. He refused the calls and visits, and did not open the letters written by his father. He was determined to remain angry with his father and chose not to listen to anything his father wanted to say to him.
One day the son received word that his father was very ill. The son’s heart softened a bit and he thought that perhaps he should go see his father. He had not seen him since that disastrous day. However, before he could make arrangements, he received a telephone call telling him that his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to him. Therefore, he needed to come home immediately and take care of things. When he returned to his father’s private study, sudden sadness and deep regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father’s important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it so many years before.
With tears of regret and grief, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. In the front, his father had carefully written a message to him, telling of his love for his son and directing him to turn to Matthew 7:11. When the son turned to the reference, the father had carefully underlined the verse, “And if you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give to those who ask Him?” As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words PAID IN FULL. The father wanted to give the very best to his son, but his son refused to listen.
This is a tragic story that need not happen. God, our Heavenly Father, continues to SPEAK to us, His children through His Word, the Holy Scriptures, and through His Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Because our Heavenly Father loved us so much, He gave His very best: His one and only Son, Jesus to take the punishment, which we deserve, and to give us Jesus’ righteousness. God, our Father’s “love message” to us is “PAID IN FULL”. Forgiveness of sins, life and salvation are His eternal gifts to us. Today, and throughout our lives, God continues to SPEAK to us through His Holy Word, and GIVES His marvelous life-giving blessings through the daily new life of Holy Baptism and the forgiveness, life and salvation given through the Lord’s Supper. What a great blessing to continue to receive these gifts; what a privilege to pass these on to our children, our family members, our neighbors and friends!
God’s blessings as you listen to Him this week and we join in worship this weekend to listen and receive His divine blessings!