April 07, 2020
There is nothing more important. God has gone to extraordinary means to make Himself known to us. He speaks through creation (“The heavens declare the glory of God”); He speaks through His Word (“All Scripture is God-breathed”); He speaks through His Spirit (“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth”); and He speaks most clearly through His Son.
And He is communicating through our circumstances. There is nothing without meaning. God is constantly working to bring His people back to Him. Even His judgments are designed to alert us to our need and bring us back to Him.
The great tragedy is our unwillingness to listen. Examine history and you will see a recurring theme of God communicating to His people and their refusal to pay heed to what He says.
That’s why a man or woman who listens and responds to God is such a beautiful anomaly. These are the ones who are distinctive. These are the ones who are used of God.
A LISTENING BOY
Samuel was a young boy, dedicated to God by his mother, Hannah. He had been taken, under God's instruction, to Eli the prophet to live with him.
One night, God called his name. But Samuel was young and didn't recognize the voice. After two such calls, Eli recognized what God was doing and discipled Samuel more fully in the ways of God.
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. So the Lord called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the Lord was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:6-10)
As Samuel tuned his spiritual antenna to hear God and respond, God came and spoke to him, which gave direction for the whole nation.
THE RIGHT POSTURE
We must position ourselves to hear God. God was speaking, but Samuel could have ignored Him. Worse still, Eli could have been jealous that someone other than himself was hearing God. He could have failed to instruct his young disciple properly. Instead, he taught Samuel to listen to God’s voice and respond with an attentive ear and a willing heart.
As a result of this positioning, Samuel became a man who knew how to hear God. This spiritual sensitivity made him a man God could use again and again in the coming years. His usefulness depended upon his ability to hear and relay God’s messages to His people.
Thus Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fail. All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, because the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. (1 Samuel 3:19-21)
OUR GREATEST NEED
There is nothing the world needs more than men and women who know how to hear God and are unashamed to speak His word. People who understand His Scriptures and pay attention to His Spirit. If we position ourselves to be such men and women, God has the opportunity to lead His people. And there is nothing more important than being led by God.
Are we positioning ourselves daily, hourly to hear the voice of God and proclaim His truth? And, if we have learned how to recognize God's direction, where are the young Samuels that we are training?
Father, thank You for Your self-disclosure. We are awed that You so readily make Yourself known to us. Forgive us for not listening. And forgive us for not responding in humility to Your words. We long to hear from You, and we humbly, gratefully position ourselves to hear and obey.
July 02, 2022
July 01, 2022
In each generation there are wicked rulers leading nations to do wicked things, oppressing those around them with senseless violence and evil. Hitler had his day and Stalin, and now Putin as he ravages Ukraine.
Where is God in all of this? The small, one-chapter book of Obadiah gives us the answer: God will always, ultimately judge wicked men nations. Justice wins the day. Notice God’s word through Obadiah to the wicked nation of Edom. No nation that ignores God will escape His judgment.
June 29, 2022