Friday, August 28, 2009

An ear to Hear

"Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:9

Those words were what Eli the priest told the boy Samuel to say when God was attempting to speak with him. God had stopped speaking to Eli due to his failure to discipline his sons. It's a serious thought - Can our disobedience to God stop up our ears? Hearing requires action.

Listening is an art. A long time ago I heard someone teach about "listening" for God's voice. They encouraged us to imagine ourselves as large receivers ready and waiting to pick up any communication that might come through the air waves. You know the receivers I mean - sometimes you see a huge one on someone's lawn or out here in the country on the top of a hill - strategically placed to make receiving signals possible as well as prolific! So maybe we need to place ourselves strategically too in a state of readiness to receive whatever message God would like to communicate to us.

We live in a world that is full of more sound than perhaps ever before - from channels to tweeting, ipods to blackberries, the sounds are endless. How in the world are we going to be able to tune in to hear God's voice through all that competition? It takes some training, time and attentiveness for sure as Samuel learned. It also required his willing heart. "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening."

Have you ever been speaking with someone and midway they start looking across the room at someone else and focusing on another conversation and you realize they are no longer listening to you? I'm afraid I've been guilty of that myself. It does not help the conversation! We all have that basic human need to be HEARD. Many times Jesus said, "he who has ears to hear let him hear" ... Jesus wanted to be heard! Now I'm not just talking about hearing "audio" sound either. Jesus wanted people to hear him with their hearts in such a way that it would affect their daily living.

We do not need multitudes of people to hear us - matter of fact if we have one person who really listens to us and hears our heart it is usually enough. Not so with God, He actually wants ALL of us to really HEAR Him and get His heart and allow it to transform our daily living. Wow! When I believe that it makes me want to say along with Samuel, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." I remember as a child on the way home from church my Mom would ask us to tell her what we had heard in the sermon that day. It was easy for us to remember the humorous parts but she was not satisfied with that - she was trying to train us to listen to what was actually being said as young as we were. I am thankful for that training today and can still remember many things I've heard in sermons throughout the years.

You've heard a Mom tell her child "now you need to listen to me" she does not just mean "hear my audible voice" she means DO THIS NOW! God has spoken to us through His Word very clearly and HE want us to hear it in such a way that we will stop everything and DO what we have heard from His word NOW! Do I have an "ear to hear" what God is saying to me today? It is the most important message in the universe. He has literally moved heaven and earth to rescue us from eternal death and give us instead eternal life. It's a message of extravagant love that never changes and never ends. It requires our attention and demands our response. It requires daily obedience to live in a way that shouts to those around us that God is alive in us. It will move us to love those around us as HE loves! A tall order but possible because of Calvary! May our hearts always bow in "speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."
Ruth Joy

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