Tag Archives: listen

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.

help me to listen,
ready to respond.

Help me to hear,
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

I’ve Heard

I’ve heard all about you.  Words that I’m never sure are terrifying or heart-warming.  Does my reputation precede me?  Am I notorious?  Or has someone actually been telling someone else nice things about me?  Maybe I shouldn’t feel so guilty!  But it a serious thought.  If someone has heard all about us, what would it be?

Ephesians 1:15-23 (CEV)

Paul’s Prayer

15 I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. 16 So I never stop being grateful for you, as I mention you in my prayers. 17 I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God. 18 My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God’s people.

19 I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used 20 when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side in heaven. 21 There Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers, and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well.22 God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything. 23 The church is Christ’s body and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything.

Paul has heard about the Ephesians.  Good things by the sound of it.  The reputation that precedes them is of their faith and love.  They have done well, and Paul is grateful for them and their witness.

But that doesn’t stop him continuing to pray for them, that they will continue to discover new things about God and the life of faith.

Three thoughts:

  • What might someone have heard about me and my life and faith?  What might they have noticed?
  • However much I might think I know, however well I am perceived, or not, to be doing; there is always more to learn, more to discover of God, that in turn will effect how I live further.
  • do I continue to pray, even for those who seem to have life sorted?

Thank you Lord,
for those who are a shining example
of how to live for you.

Forgive me
when I do not meet that standard,
help me to learn more of you
and let that effect my life.

May I never think
I know everything about you,
and stop listening
and learning,
but always be open
to what you long to teach me

Time to Listen

How much time do you have in your life?  I’m guessing not much.  It is a truism that things expand to fit the amount of time we have, we never seem to gain any time.  But sometimes in our busy, busy lives, we need to stop, take stock and listen.

This coming Sunday is the one before lent, which starts with Ash Wednesday on 5th March.  So this is an opportunity to prepare, to think how we are going to meet God anew in the journey towards Easter, to pause and reflect.

Exodus 24:12-18 (CEV)

Moses on Mount Sinai

12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up on the mountain and stay here for a while. I will give you the two flat stones on which I have written the laws that my people must obey.” 13 Moses and Joshua his assistant got ready, then Moses started up the mountain to meet with God.

14 Moses had told the leaders, “Wait here until we come back. Aaron and Hur will be with you, and they can settle any arguments while we are away.”

15 When Moses went up on Mount Sinai, a cloud covered it, 16 and the bright glory of the Lord came down and stayed there. The cloud covered the mountain for six days, and on the seventh day the Lord told Moses to come into the cloud. 17-18 Moses did so and stayed there forty days and nights. To the people, the Lord’s glory looked like a blazing fire on top of the mountain.

God invites Moses to join him on the mountain, in his holy place.  But this isn’t for a jolly, a rest or just a special time with God (though undoubtedly it would have been that!), this is for Moses to hear God’s word, not just for himself, but for all the people.

Now, I’m sure God could have given his word to Moses where he was, without bringing him up the mountain, but maybe Moses wouldn’t have heard it in quite the same way.  Sometimes it is necessary to draw apart to hear what God is really saying; to intentionally focus on him with no distractions; to be where God is, alone with him.

And so it is with us.  Yes we can hear God in the everyday, and actually that is necessary, but sometimes we need to step apart, to specifically put aside some time and space to be with God, to hear what he is saying – not always just for ourselves.  Lent is an opportunity to take that time.  Whatever we do, or don’t do, during lent, it is an opportunity to set aside purposeful and intentional time with God.  If this isn’t the right time for you, and it may not be, then there needs to be a time to set aside, to have the space to listen purposefully to God.

Taking time out to listen to God can be scary – after all who knows what he will say or ask of us?  But it is vital for our well-being and our relationship with him.  What can I do, to take time out to listen to, and really hear, what God is saying?

life is so busy,
so much to do,
often for you…

you call to me
to come and stay a while,
to listen to you,
to hear what you are saying.

And so I come
and wait in your presence
and listen

To Be In Your Presence