Tuesday, July 5, 2022

           Samuel is an interesting and large figure in the life of Israel.  He was sort of a transitional figure away from the judges to the monarchy where Saul and later David assumed the throne over Israel.  Some people suggest that Samuel might have even been the last judge.  The circumstances of Samuel’s birth were extraordinary.  He was born to a childless couple named Elkanah and Hannah.  His mother, Hannah, prayed fervently for a son.  And God answered those prayers.  After his birth, Hannah dedicated her son to the Lord’s service.  She said, “So now I will give him to the LORD.  For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD” (I Samuel 1:28). 
            Samuel served alongside Eli the priest.  One evening, the LORD called out to Samuel.  After some initial confusion thinking Eli was calling him, Samuel finally realized that the LORD was calling to Him.  His response was “Speak, for your servant is listening” (I Samuel 3:10b).  What a wonderful response for God’s people!  The Lord does speak today.  The Lord continues to lead His people and shepherd them in ways that are both right and good.  John Piper noted, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.”  The point is God is at work.  God is always at work.  And God works in and through people.  We want to hear Him when He speaks to us.  There are some steps we can take to sharpen our listening and discerning skills so we can hear and understand the Lord. 
            First, God speaks through His Word.  We possess the Bible today.  God’s Word is NOT outdated, old fashioned, stale and irrelevant.  It is as relevant and urgent today as it has ever been.  A commitment to reading Scripture opens us to what God might have to say to us or to teach us.  There is no magical amount to read.  Some days you might explore several chapters.  Other days may find you camped out on one single, compelling verse that has captured your attention.  God’s people need to read the Bible.  Biblical literacy today is alarmingly low.  We have no reason to believe we will hear God speak if we choose not to read or study what He has already said and inspired.
            Second, God speaks as we pray.  God can grant us answers, assurance, peace and clarity when we seek Him in prayer.  We pray because we believe God works in response to the prayers of His people.  Prayer does not always involve us talking.  Prayer can often be times of silence and solitude.  We can pray as we journal or write.  We can pray as we walk.  We can pray as God brings matters to mind.  The purpose of prayer is to create an ongoing dialogue with the Lord about our lives and where He is leading us.  This idea is expressed in Scripture as praying without ceasing.
            Third, God can speak to us through the counsel and guidance of other believers.  We can be blessed by the wisdom, truth and perspective that other Christians offer to us.  And fourth, God can speak as we worship Him.  A song, a sermon, a passage from the Bible, a testimony and a chance to give become occasions where God can speak to us and move within us.  Worship does not confine itself to Sundays with other believers.  We can (and should) worship the Lord on other occasions during the week.  The Lord is worthy of all the worship we can bring to Him. 
            A final way that God speaks is through the legacy, testimony and example of other faithful believers—either alive today or already with the Lord.  Consider some believers whom you hold out as role models.  God often blesses us with the lives of faithful men and women whose examples speak volumes.  And often, these role models continue to speak to us long after they have passed away.  God can speak through giants of the faith like John Wesley, C.S. Lewis, Jim Elliot, Fannie Crosby and Billy Graham.  But he could also speak through the faith and example of people like parents, siblings, co-workers, Sunday school teachers and friends who simply help you grow in Christ each day.  Be as ready to listen to the Lord as Samuel was.  Begin your day by saying, “speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”  Remember you can share our worship with others at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.  Have a great Tuesday!

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