Scripture: I Samuel 3:1-10
Do you think there is a difference between hearing and listening? If you think there is, then you are correct. Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration so your brain can process meaning from the words and sentences. Listening leads to learning. Most people are “hard of listening” rather than “hard of hearing.”
When Samuel first heard God call to him in the Temple, he heard the voice but he wasn’t listening. He thought it was his mentor, the temple priest Eli, calling him. With Eli’s help, Samuel was able to listen and know that it was God speaking. The next time Samuel heard God’s voice he was able to listen with ears of understanding. He responded back to God, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Many of us need a modern day Eli to teach us not only to hear the voice of God but to listen. With so many voices trying to get our attention today, we need to focus on God’s voice so that we might say “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Questions for the Week
Consider journaling your response to these questions:
First Samuel 1 (The Story, 129-131) Tells Hannah’s heartbreaking story of barrenness and how her prayer for a child is finally answered. What impresses you about Hannah’s character and faith?
What does Eli teach Samuel about listening to God (I Samuel 3:1-10 – The Story, 131-132)? What can we learn about communicating and listening God as we hear Samuel’s story unfold?
What does Samuel have to say about a heavenly King versus an earthly King?
Saul does not follow God’s instructions, which leads to Samuel telling him that he will lose his throne. Saul’s big mistake was misrepresenting God as cruel and greedy rather than just and holy. Why is God so concerned about the people receiving an accurate picture of who He is? What can we do to present God to the world with greater clarity and accuracy?
God’s desire is to reveal his presence, power, and plan to the world and thus restore people’s relationship with Him. How does God reveal his presence, power, and plan in this chapter of the The Story?
As you take time to pray, here are some ideas to get you started:
· Ask God to help you see where you are being conformed to the world and pray for strength to follow his plan for your life instead.
· Ask God to help you move from imitating the world to following His desire for your life.
· Ask God to help you experience His grace and power. How can God’s presence in your life be transformational?
· Ask for the courage you need to follow God’s direction.
The human capacity to deceive one’s self and rationalize sin is staggering. This pattern cost Saul his kingship. Reflect this week on any patterns in your life where you tend to rationalize sin. If God convicts you of an area of your life where this is happening, honestly confess it and ask for his strength to change.
Just like the people of Israel in Samuel’s day, we are prone to imitate and follow bad examples. Think through your behaviors, practices, patterns of behavior, language . . . anything you might do because someone else does it. Try to identify those things that are unhealthy spiritually. See if you can commit to ending the behavior.
Read for the next session
Read Chapter 11