09(1Sam 03,01-10)Listening for the Voice of God
I want to start off with a little brain teaser: you are driving a bus. The bus goes east 12 miles, and turns south and goes 2 miles and takes on 9 passengers, and then turns west and goes 3 miles and lets off 4 passengers. How old is the bus driver?
A. The main problem we have when trying to answer this brain teaser is listening.
§ Often we latch onto certain information we think is important in a question and then somehow, miss the most important part.
§ When I read this, I latched onto the directions, distance and number of passengers on the bus.
§ Those are things that that are important right?
§ When I got to the end and it asked how old the bus driver is, I just was dumb founded.
§ It wasn’t for a few moments that I finally realized that the clue to this teaser was a simple, three letter word that starts the whole question off. “YOU are the bus driver.”
B. How often is it that we have this same problem with listening in real life?
§ Your Mom asks you to do something and you aren’t quite paying attention and latter on you get in trouble for not doing what you were supposed to.
§ You get your homework back from your teacher with a big fat F on it and when you inquire to your teacher, he tells you that you didn’t follow all the directions – directions you missed because you were talking with the cute boy behind you and weren’t listening to the teacher.
C. Listening is so important in life and crucial to make relationships work.
§ We all have built into us the need and want to be listened to.
§ Being listened to communicates things like worth, value, love, and respect.
§ How do you feel when pouring your heart out to a friend and find out they weren’t listening?
§ You feel hurt, upset, think they don’t care about you.
§ Listening is so important, yet we live in a day where there are so many distractions to listening that it makes it more and more difficult to do.
D. Listening is so important to any relationship, and that includes our relationship with Jesus.
§ I would argue that it is even more important because I think the God of the Universe is someone to pay attention to when he speaks.
§ How often do we read our Bibles, but just have it go in one ear and out the other?
§ How often do we pray just throwing all these requests to God but yet never take them time to listen to what He may want to say?
E. I want to look at 1 Samuel 3:1-10 that gives some insight to listening to God in our lives.
§ Some of you may think that this is not unlike the times that we live in today.
§ Well, I think I would agree with you but it is important to understand what this verse is getting at.
§ Some might argue that this says that God wasn’t speaking to many people in these days.
§ Well, only God knows, but the problem was that people had given up listening a long time ago.
§ In the chapters that precede it tells about Eli, the priests, sons and how they were wicked and “had no respect for the Lord.”
§ They did whatever they wanted and didn’t care about the work God had called them to do.
§ It wasn’t that God wasn’t speaking, it was that no one was listening to relay the messages of God.
§ Therefore, it seemed that God was silent for years but yet really no one was listening.
§ I think the same is true for our times today.
§ I think God is speaking all the time to many people but, for the most part, we don’t listen.
§ I want to look at four reasons why we are missing God’s message today and not listening.
I. I think a lot of it is because of how busy and crazy we are.
A. Our schedules are so loaded up with things that we don’t ever take time to just stop and listen to God.
§ In Psalms 46:10, the writer says to “Be still, and know that I am God.”
§ How often are we still and do we take the time to just listen to God?
B. Notice that God doesn’t speak to Samuel in the busyness of the day but at night.
§ It was when Samuel was still from the busyness of his day.
§ For us today, we don’t even get that. A lot of you fall asleep reading, listening to music, TV.
§ We are overloading ourselves with so much that we are drowning out God’s voice.
II. Like the brain teaser, I think we are all too often focused on all the wrong things.
A. If we thought about God speaking to us we tend to think in grand terms.
§ Flashes of lighting and booms of thunder that would accompany God’s message to us.
§ There would be angels singing that would make us take notice, “Ok, God. You got my attention.”
B. Notice again, that this is not the way God speaks to Samuel.
§ Instead, he calls out to him quietly in the night.
§ Sometimes God uses dramatic things to get our attention: Moses burning bush, Balaam’s donkey.
§ But they are the exceptions and instead, God speaks to us in quiet and simple ways.
C. There is a great story in 1 Kings about a prophet named Elijah.
§ He is on a mountain top waiting for God to come so that they could speak.
§ As he is on the mountain a “mighty windstorm hits the mountain” yet God was not in the wind.
§ After that an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake. After that was fire but again, no God.
§ Finally, there was a gentle whisper and at that Elijah came out of the cave and spoke to God.
D. God, I think most often speaks to us in very simple ways
§ His words of the Bible, other people, through nature, our consciences, and even a soft voice.
§ But we look for the big, huge message when he is already talking and we just aren’t listening.
III. We miss God’s message so often because we have forgotten what God sounds like.
A. In the midst of all the voices that we take in every day it is hard to pick God’s voice out of it all.
§ This is especially hard if we are not spending any time with Him.
§ Samuel didn’t recognize God’s voice because he had never heard it.
§ It took God calling three times for him to finally realize, thanks to Eli, what was going on.
B. The best way to learn a language is repetition and spending time listening. repeating what you hear.
§ If you take a break, coming back to it can be difficult because you don’t remember everything.
§ I think it works the same way with us listening to God.
§ If we are not reading His words and hanging out with Him, His language will become foreign to us.
§ And we will miss things because we don’t understand anymore.
IV. The last thing that prevents us from listening to God is that we simply don’t want to.
A. God calls out to Samuel, he doesn’t just start speaking.
§ He delivers the message when Samuel says, “Speak, your servant is listening.”
§ He could have chosen, out of fear, to ignore God but he choose to listen to what God had to say.
B. God is speaking today whether you believe it or not.
§ My challenge to all of us is to start listening.
§ It is so important to make sure that we are taking time to “be still” and separate ourselves.
§ This will help us to hear God’s still, small voice and learn what and how God sounds like.
C. On top of all that, we must respond as God calls our name.
§ He will not force Himself on us but waits for us to be ready and purposefully listen to His leading.
§ The question is, are you ready?