To Listen – To hear
Are they the same thing?
I might not hear but I can still listen. How can I do that?
Chinese character portrays the characteristics well. To listen well requires ear, eye & heart. Be concious throughout the service that to listen requires all three – ear, eye & heart
God speaks (communicates) to us to encourage, comfort & guide. Often to call us deeper on a journey together. That usually entails change.
From that simple story of Samuel’s, there is a lot at stake. Israel was in a mess at this time. They were not a nation but a collection of tribes and they were fighting each other - no clear leadership. This was Eli & Samuel’s world. At first they both fail to grasp whats going on - to be fair the hearing God was rare & visions not all that common.
Eli the priest, years of experience & wisdom ‘Cottons on.’ Eli encourages Samuel to speak, even though he realises the end of his family dynasty of preistly leadership. His boys don’t take his mantle. Samuel does.
Eli’s mentoring & God’s guidance takes Samuel on the path of Leadership. His life is changed forever as is Israel’s as under his leadership they move from a loose group of tribes into a nation. All from Eli listening to God.
Listening though is only the first step. As Samuel once he had listened to God, speaks for God, and acts for God. Once we have listened to God, we need to have the courage to speak and to Act.
What is it that we are to have the courage to speak of Love, to act for Love. God’s Love of us & all!
Love is the Loudest voice.
1 Samuel 3:1-10 (NRSV)
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.
At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and ran to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” ’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’
Our lives are full of noise;
yet we fail to listen, fail to hear.
Sometimes we use the noise as an excuse.
We say we are too busy to listen to God,
too busy to listen to each other,
too busy even to listen to ourselves.
Sometimes we hear,
but we choose to ignore.
God does speak.
Like Samuel, we may not understand immediately; sometimes we need time and help to hear.
But God still speaks, encouraging and restoring,
challenging and confronting.
As we listen and respond,
we partner with God for good.
-©Seasons of the Spirit