Tag Archives: hearing

Waiting to Hear

I tried, how I tried, to run away.

I heard your call, knew what you were asking me, but ran the other way.

I knew you needed me, but surely there was someone else, another person who could go and do what you were asking of me.  Someone just as qualified as me, if not more.  There were people waiting, needing to hear, but I chose to go a different way.  I just didn’t want to do what you were asking of me.

But despite that, you continued to call.  Your work for me did not change.  My opting out had not made the need go away. You were still willing to call me, equip me, use me.

So I went, did as you asked, followed your call – and the people heard and responded.  How wonderfully you worked, despite my reluctance and disobedience.  You didn’t cast me aside, or the people of Nineveh.  Your word was heard and lives were changed.

Jonah 3:1-5, 10 (GNT)

Jonah Obeys the Lord

Once again the Lord spoke to Jonah. He said, “Go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to the people the message I have given you.” So Jonah obeyed the Lord and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to walk through it. Jonah started through the city, and after walking a whole day, he proclaimed, “In forty days Nineveh will be destroyed!”

The people of Nineveh believed God’s message. So they decided that everyone should fast, and all the people, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth to show that they had repented.

10 God saw what they did; he saw that they had given up their wicked behavior. So he changed his mind and did not punish them as he had said he would.

So, here I am Lord,
reluctant,
unsure,
really rather wanting not to;
but you continue to call me,
to invite me
to share in your work.

Here I am Lord.
Use me
I pray.
Despite my weaknesses
and fear;
may I work with you,
as you work in me;
because there are people
waiting to hear,
waiting to respond
as you long to reach out.

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I’m Listening

I’m sure we all suffer at times from selective hearing!  We hear what we want to and manage to totally miss, or certainly not absorb, those things we don’t want to.

This is a stunning story if we let it be.  The simple, but by no means simplistic faith and obedience of a child.

1 Samuel 3:1-20 (CEV)

The Lord Speaks to Samuel

1-2 Samuel served the Lord by helping Eli the priest, who was by that time almost blind. In those days, the Lord hardly ever spoke directly to people, and he did not appear to them in dreams very often. But one night, Eli was asleep in his room, and Samuel was sleeping on a mat near the sacred chest in theLord’s house. They had not been asleep very long when the Lord called out Samuel’s name.

“Here I am!” Samuel answered. Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. What do you want?”

“I didn’t call you,” Eli answered. “Go back to bed.”

Samuel went back.

Again the Lord called out Samuel’s name. Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am,” he said. “What do you want?”

Eli told him, “Son, I didn’t call you. Go back to sleep.”

The Lord had not spoken to Samuel before, and Samuel did not recognize the voice. When the Lord called out his name for the third time, Samuel went to Eli again and said, “Here I am. What do you want?”

Eli finally realized that it was the Lord who was speaking to Samuel. So he said, “Go back and lie down! If someone speaks to you again, answer, ‘I’m listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?’”

Once again Samuel went back and lay down.

Samuel was listening, carefully.  He slept that sleep with one ear open in case you are needed, the kind of sleep that all carers know about, ready to spring at any moment.

Maybe it is because he is listening, he hears a voice, a call, his name.  He leaps up, assuming it to be Eli, and goes straight to see what he wants.  Three times this happens, until the penny drops and Eli suggests to Samuel that it is God, and next time he is called to ask what God is wanting of him.

Samuel is waiting for God to speak.  And God does.

Am I waiting for God to speak?  Am I ready to respond when he does?  Am I attentive?  Or am I busy with my own agenda and activity that I can’t, or don’t, hear what God is saying?

Can I be prepared, still, put myself in a place where I will hear his call?  Will I?

But before we get carried away in the romance of it all, we need to read on (though once again the lectionary tries to leave out the ‘difficult’ bits, verses 11-20 are only an additional option).

10 The Lord then stood beside Samuel and called out as he had done before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

“I’m listening,” Samuel answered. “What do you want me to do?”

11 The Lord said:

Samuel, I am going to do something in Israel that will shock everyone who hears about it! 12 I will punish Eli and his family, just as I promised. 13 He knew that his sons refused to respect me,and he let them get away with it, even though I said I would punish his family forever. 14 I warned Eli that sacrifices or offerings could never make things right! His family has done too many disgusting things.

15 The next morning, Samuel got up and opened the doors to the Lord’s house. He was afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had said. 16 But Eli told him, “Samuel, my boy, come here!”

“Here I am,” Samuel answered.

17 Eli said, “What did God say to you? Tell me everything. I pray that God will punish you terribly if you don’t tell me every word he said!”

18 Samuel told Eli everything. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord, and he will do what’s right.”

The Lord Helps Samuel

19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord helped him and made everything Samuel said come true. 20 From the town of Dan in the north to the town of Beersheba in the south, everyone in the country knew that Samuel was truly the Lord’s prophet.

The message God had for Samuel, and for Samuel in turn to deliver to Israel was a shocking one.  In fact it was going to be particularly traumatic for Eli, the man who cared for him and who he in turn cared for.

Allowing God to speak in and through us is not always comfortable.  Some times unpopular truths have to be told.  And that can be painful.  Fortunately Eli heard it.  He recognised that it was God speaking and that what God said was true, but that can’t have made it any easier for Samuel to share it.

Being entrusted with God’s word is an awesome responsibility.  It can be truly scary, but it is what God does.  He speaks in and through his people.  If the message seems at odds or painful, I need to be very careful that it is what God is saying and not my own opinion; but when God asks to speak, we do him a disservice if we don’t listen and pass on the message.

Lord,
help me to listen,
carefully,
ready to respond.

Help me to hear,
clearly,
carefully,
and not what I want to hear.

Help me to be bold,
in your love,
in what you entrust to me.

Give me courage,
and peace,
in your call.

Speak Lord,
for I am listening

Master Speak, Thy Servant Heareth

Hearing the Word iv

Jesus Heals an Official’s Son

43-44 Jesus had said, “Prophets are honored everywhere, except in their own country.” Then two days later he left 45 and went to Galilee. The people there welcomed him, because they had gone to the festival in Jerusalem and had seen everything he had done.

46 While Jesus was in Galilee, he returned to the village of Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was an official in Capernaum whose son was sick. 47 And when the man heard that Jesus had come from Judea, he went and begged him to keep his son from dying.

48 Jesus told the official, “You won’t have faith unless you see miracles and wonders!”

49 The man replied, “Lord, please come before my son dies!”

50 Jesus then said, “Your son will live. Go on home to him.” The man believed Jesus and started back home.

51 Some of the official’s servants met him along the road and told him, “Your son is better!” 52 He asked them when the boy got better, and they answered, “The fever left him yesterday at one o’clock.”

53 The boy’s father realized that at one o’clock the day before, Jesus had told him, “Your son will live!” So the man and everyone in his family put their faith in Jesus.

54 This was the second miracle that Jesus worked after he left Judea and went to Galilee.

Lord,
I hear your word.
Though I don’t see
what you have done,
I believe.

Your word,
your promise,
is enough for me,
I trust you.

I ask,
and I believe you will respond
and so I walk
in that faith,
I hold
all that I have
in that trust.

Lord,
help me hear your word
day by day,
in every situation
and walk on
in your strength.

I believe in you.
Help me
to put my faith
in your unfailing love
and loving action.

I believe in Jesus