Having Ears to Hear
1 Samuel 3:1-21
April 24-25, 2021
Amen. The theme in first chapter three is having ears to hear. We meet this young boy, Samuel, who will become one of the greatest prophets of the old testament. Here in chapter three, he hears, he begins to have ears to hear, to learn to hear the voice of the Lord.
You know there's a big difference between having ears and having ears to hear. Jesus taught that very thing, and used a parable to speak of it. There is different types of hearts. There's different types of hearers. Then when he finished the parable, then he said, "Let him who has ears to hear. Let him hear." Such an important aspect of relationship to the Lord is having ears to hear.
In Jesus's day, what a contrast there was because there were the Jewish leaders who were dull of hearing and hard of heart. Then you have the disciples who would hear and hang on every word, and who else has the words of life. Notice Matthew 13 where you see this contrast. Jesus says, "The heart of his people have become dull. With their ears, they can seriously hear. They have closed their eyes. Otherwise, they would see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart. It would cause them, you see, to return to the Lord. It would make such a difference. I would then heal them.
Then He speaks to His disciples who do have ears to hear, "Blessed are your eyes because they see. Blessed are you ears because they hear." What a blessed beautiful life He wants you to have. The key is having ears to hear. 1 Samuel 3, is about Samuel learning to hear the voice of the Lord. The book begins by the account of how the prophet Samuel came to be born as we were looking at this last week. His mother, Hannah, had been barren for many years. Now, that in and of itself would be very difficult for a woman in those days, difficult to endure. It was made much worse because her rival Peninnah-- See her husband Elkanah had two wives.
Whenever you read, the man had two wives, you can predict that trouble will follow and sure enough, great trouble followed. Peninnah had children, Hannah did not. Elkanah loved Hannah the more, so Peninnah was bitter about this and would provoke Hannah, bitterly provoke her on purpose just to irritate her because of her bitterness.
Here's where we saw the character and the heart and faith of Hannah. Instead of retribution, instead of getting even, instead of adding drama to drama, she prays. She brings her burdens to the Lord. It tells us year after year her family would go up to Shiloh, that's where the tabernacle was in those days, and she would pray. She would bring her burdens and pray there asking God to remember her, to give her a son, and God delayed in answering because this went on year after year. She was steadfast, persistent in her prayers.
One day then in her praying at the tabernacle in Shiloh, she prays a vow, "Oh, Lord of hosts, if you indeed will look upon the affliction of your maid servant and remember me. If you will not forget me, if you will give your main servant a son. I will give him to the Lord, and he will be dedicated to serve the Lord all the days of his life." She meant every word of that.
God heard her prayer. She gave birth to Samuel which means, heard of God. Now, when the boy was weaned, and we would presume this to mean probably he was five or six years old, she brought him then to Shiloh, gave him to the priest Eli to serve the Lord there at the tabernacle of the Lord. Then it tells us really a cute little thing. It says that Hannah, of course, would go up with her family every year to worship, bring the offerings and sacrifices.
It says that every year she would bring a little robe that she made for him. I love this little cute little picture as she's making by hand a little robe, estimating how much he's grown throughout the year. Every year, she would bring this to him when they came up to worship.
Now in chapter three, we come to Samuel where he's ministering to the Lord there before the priest Eli. It's important also to remember that though Eli is the high priest, his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas are corrupt. There's corruption in the priesthood. It's here that Samuel begins now. They are serving ministering to the Lord. He begins his own personal relationship to the Lord. It's here. Samuel learns to have ears to hear.
Now we know that Hannah was a good woman, faithful, woman of character, woman of excellence, woman of faith. It was by her faith that she dedicated Samuel to the Lord. It was those years that Samuel was with Hannah when she was weaning him, that no doubt she would speak into his life, spoke character, and heart, and faith into the boy, and it changed him. It gave him a foundation. Oh, did he need a foundation because he's now serving up there where there's corruption in the priesthood but he's got a foundation.
Samuel must come to his own personal relationship to the Lord. This is a great word actually. Each one must come to his own personal relationship to the Lord. You cannot rely on the faith of anyone else. Each person must have his own relationship to the Lord. Samuel, he must learn to have ears to hear and to receive God's word. For those who do have ears to hear will not only receive them, but take hold of them, and will live then according to them, and that's the key to the beautiful life that God wants to bless you with.
All right, let's read it. We're in 1 Samuel chapter 3:1, that's just all introduction. Now the boy, Samuel, was ministering to the Lord before Eli. Notice this. It says, a word from the Lord was rare in those days. Visions were infrequent. Now it happened at that time that as Eli was lying down in his place, and it mentions now that his eyesight had begin to grow dim, could not see well, he was getting old in years.
It was during the time of day that the lamp of God had not yet gone out. This would be likely 3:00, 4:00 in the morning, let's say. It was that time of day that Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was. I love that little scene right there. Here's Samuel, the boy, it says, lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was.
Now, whenever you read that, isn't there something inside of you that's a little jealous like, what a privilege to be near to the presence of the God in such a close way. It was there, lying down there that the Lord called to Samuel and Samuel said, "Here I am." He thinks Eli is calling him, "I'm here. Here I am." He run to Eli and he said, "Here I am for you called me." He said, "I did not call you. Go lie down again." He went and lay down. Then the Lord called yet again, "Samuel." Samuel arose and went to Eli, "Here I am for you called me." He answered, "I did not call you my son. Go lie down again."
Verse seven is very interesting. Now, Samuel did not yet know the Lord nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again for the third time, and he rose and he went to Eli. He said, "Here I am, you called me." Then Eli discerned it was the Lord calling to the boy. Eli then said to Samuel, "Go lie down, and it shall be that if He calls you again, that you say, "Speak, Lord." He uses here the name of Jehovah, the God of Israel, Yahweh. "Speak, Lord for your servant is listening." You say that.
Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the Lord came and stood-- I find that to be an interesting description. The Lord came and stood, and called as other time, "Samuel, Samuel." This time Samuel says, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." Then the Lord said to Samuel, "Behold, I'm about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle." Now this is an expression in Hebrew. It means when they hear it, their heart will light up with fear.
"In that day, I will carry our against Eli all that I spoke concerning his health from beginning to end." Eli had had a word of God in chapter two. He says, "I will carry out every very word I said to him from beginning to end@" verse 13 "for, I have told him that I'm about to judge his house forever for the iniquity, which he knew about because his sons had brought a curse on themselves." That's an interesting phrase, don't you think" His sons were corrupt and they brought a curse on themselves. What an interesting descriptor of people who make such decisions that they bring such troubles. He says, ''Eli, he knew about it and he did not rebuke them.'' You didn't do anything. You didn't fire them. I'm going to fire them.
Verse 14. ''Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.'' Samuel laid down until the morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord as usual, but Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli, but then Eli called Samuel and he said, ''Samuel, my son.'' He said, ''Here I am.'' He said, ''What is the word that He spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. That God do to you and more so also if you hide anything from me of all the words that He spoke to you.'' Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him and Eli said, ''It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.''
Now, first he might think this is an honorable thing to say, but he should have done something. He's resigned himself now. Why didn't you listen? That's the tragedy of that story. Thus verse 19, ''Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of His words fail." He will become one of the greatest prophets of the old Testament. "All Israel from Dan, all the way to the North, even to Beersheba all the way to the South, they knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. The Lord appeared again at Shiloh because the Lord revealed himself.''
He revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. These are the verses that we're going to see. There's so much to apply to our lives because we need to see the applications. We begin with this very important thing. God reveals Himself. I tell you, God is revealing Himself today and God reveals Himself through His word, it says ''A word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.'' Why was a word from the Lord rare in those days? Because no one was listening. No one cared to hear what God had to say. There was even corruption in the priesthood.
I. God Reveals Himself Through His Word
I mentioned before all of this that we're reading now takes place during the time of the Judges. In fact, we'll read Samuel will be raised up to be the final, last of the judges. This was one of the darkest periods in the history of Israel and the theme of that day was each man did what was right in his own eyes. If each man is doing what's right in his own eyes, then they don't care what's right in God's eyes. If each man is doing what's right in his own eyes, why listen to the word of the Lord?
As I said before, we are living today in times very much like the times of the judges. Today, each man does what is right in his own eyes. Hey, when someone comes to the point where they want whatever they want without regard for what God wants, then their ears become dull and their hearts become hard and they do not hear the word and they cannot honor God in their lives. For those who do have ears through here, God is still speaking. God is still speaking today to those who have ears to hear.
A. For those with ears to hear, God still speaks
Now, it says ''A word of the Lord was rare in those days.'' I suggest that a word of the Lord is not rare today. In fact, we have the very word of God we have the heart of God, God reveals Himself. God still speaks today and He speaks through His son.
Let me give you a great word. Hebrews 1:1-2 where it says, ''Now God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His son whom He appointed heir of all things through whom also He has made the world.'' At one point, Philip, one of the disciples said, ''Show us the Father", to Jesus. "Show us the Father. We want to see the father.'' That's all, "Show us the Father. That's enough."
Jesus said, ''Have I not been so long with you, Philip? If you've seen me, you have seen the Father. All the words that I speak, I speak the words my Father gives me.'' You do have the heart of God. He reveals Himself, He reveals Himself through His word. I remember when I was a young man in Bible college I remember hearing an illustration of someone trying to explain that all religions are equally valid, that there are many paths to God, all paths lead to God.
Now you might know, I actually believe all paths do lead to God. Everyone's going to meet God. The problem is what happens after you meet Him. That's why this illustration is so important.
They say, you see, religion is like blind people trying to define an elephant, they say. One blind man holding the leg says, "Oh, an elephant is like the trunk of a tree", another blind man with his hands on the side of an elephant disagrees, "No, an elephant is like a great wall" and on and on, et cetera. You see all religions are equally valid. You just have a hold of a different aspect of God.
Here's the fatal flaw. There is a great and fatal flaw with this illustration. God is not a dumb elephant. God speaks. God reveals Himself. God defines Himself. God has revealed Himself through His son, through His word. It would do well to listen to what God says through His son. In fact, in the book of Revelation, Jesus gave a warning of such. Revelation 3:17-18. ''You do not know that you're wretched and miserable, poor, blinded, naked. I advise you to buy from me eye salve to anoint your eyes that you may see''.
The scripture makes it so clear that God has revealed Himself. In fact, He has revealed Himself so sufficiently revealing Himself to every person that no one will have an excuse. Let me give you a really strong word out of Romans 1:19-20, it says, Paul writes it this way, ''Because that which is known about God is evident within them for God has made it evident to them for since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, He's the eternal power, His divine nature have been clearly seen, having been understood through what has been made. They are without excuse.'' No, man will have an excuse.
B. “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”
The problem is not that the word of the Lord is rare these days, the problem is that hearing is rare in these days. There we see a theme then that comes out of 1 Samuel 3, where the boy then is told to say, ''Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.'' That's the theme. That's an attitude of the heart, I submit. It's an attitude of the heart that God very much wants to see in people today. Speak, Lord, my heart is open. I want to hear what you have to say. Let your word speak to my heart.
In Jesus's day, the Jewish leaders were dull of hearing, hard of heart. Jesus explains they would not hear therefore they couldn't out hear. Notice John 10:23-25. It says, ''It was Winter, Jesus was walking in the temple in the Portico of Solomon, some Jews gathered around Him and they said to Him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell it to us plainly'' Jesus said, ''I told you, but you will not believe. Even the works that I do, these testify of me and yet you do not believe.''
He explains John 10:26-28, ''You did not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep, they hear my voice. I know them and they follow me. I will give eternal life to them and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand.'' That is a beautiful picture of the relationship to those who hear His voice.
That's why Revelation 3:20, one of my favorite verses in the Bible, it gives us another aspect perspective to hearing that voice. Notice Revelation 3, where he says, behold, Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door and I knock.'' I love this verse because it shows us God is the one pursuing. God is the one who is seeking to save those that are lost. ''Behold, I stand at the door and I knock. If anyone will hear my voice'' There it is.
C. Open the door and invite Him in
Which is to say, He's calling, He's calling. He knows your name. He's calling out to you. He's pursuing you. If you'll open your heart. "If you'll hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him and will dine with Him, and He with me." That's a beautiful picture of relationship, That's the result of it. When you open the door and invite Him in, that's the heart, that's what He's saying, I'm knocking, I'm calling, I want you to open the door. I want you to invite me in.
God is pursuing you. It's a beautiful picture but when you open the door, that's the beginning of a personal relationship. Now, notice back to 1 Samuel 3, At First Samuel, he thinks Eli is calling because he didn't know that God was pursuing him, and verse seven explains. Now, Samuel did not know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him he didn't know the Lord. You see, it's one thing to know of the Lord, it's a different thing entirely to know the Lord.
One is intellectual, the other is relational. Because in relationship, there's beauty. In a relationship, there's an exchange of words and of hearts. There's the giving, there's the receiving. In a relationship, there's something beautiful that happens, there's the giving, there's the receiving. God reveals Himself through His son. He speaks the words of His Father. The heart of God has been revealed and when you hear the heart of God in His word, His word is His heart, and when you open your heart, there's relationship.
My sheep hear my voice. Now, the idea and they understood the point of this. Back in the days of course, that Jesus gave this parable, it was very common to see shepherds with their flock of sheep behind them. The picture is that at the end of the day, when it was time to gather at the watering-place, several shepherds would all gather together and no doubt they would be comparing notes and talking and whatnot. Meanwhile, the sheep are all mingling together and there's the bleating of sheep and the baaing of sheep or whatever they do, and all of that noise of all of these sheep.
Then when it's time to leave, the master simply calls out, and amongst all that bleating and baaing and noise of all of it, they all can hear, all through all the noise they can hear his voice. He calls his sheep, and he begins to leave and they all just follow, because they know the voice of their master and they hear, they listen. Through all the noise it cuts through. Here's why that's such a beautiful picture because today we are living in a time when there is much noise in this world. There is a cacophony of noise, so many things that you can listen to. I'll tell you, never in the history of the world have there been so many things to listen to today and so many ways to listen to cacophony of noise.
There are things today you can listen to and see that will poison you. Poison your soul. So much is out there. A cacophony of noise but when God speaks, they hear His voice. Those with the ears to hear, through all the noise, they hear, for He speaks through His son, and when He speaks, He speaks life and love and peace and joy. You can choose. It'll cut through the noise. The heart that listens, the heart desires can cut through the noise. You can choose to listen, you can choose to follow because there were many in Jesus's day that didn't.
When the disciples asked Jesus, "Why do You speak in parables?" Jesus said He spoke in parables because of the hard heart of the Jewish leaders. Matthew 13:13, "I speak to them in parables because while seeing, they do not see and while hearing, they do not hear and they do not understand."
II. Those who Hear are Transformed
Those who do hear, those who have a heart to hear, they are transformed by it. The Word of God is a transforming word. Speak, Lord, your servant is listening. It's an attitude of the heart. Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.
I was thinking of an illustration many years ago I used to travel to Russia quite often, we were doing missions, planting churches and bringing medical supplies and whatnot. Whenever I would go to another country, even still today, I like to learn whatever language of the country, I like to learn. I'm learning some Hebrew I'm looking forward to going to Israel.
I remember my very first trip and I'm learning some basic Russian words, hi, hello, thank you, please, basic things. One day we're in this meeting with his official, and he's all-important and everything and his would phone ring and he would answer it. He picked up the phone and he used a word that-- This was an unusual word he didn't say hi. I knew that word. He didn't say hello typically we say, hello, he didn't answer this way. He used another word "slushayu".
I like the sound of it but I don't know what it means and then we continued our meeting, the phone rang, he picks it up, "Slushayu" I'm intrigued. After the meeting, I said to the interpreter, "What is that word? Every time he answered the phone he would say the same word, what does that word mean?" He said, "Oh, it means I'm listening." Oh, I like that. That was really a very beautiful thing. What a great way to speak to someone to whom you have a relationship. Can you imagine your wife calls," Hello, dear, I'm listening."
That is beautifully refreshing. Hello, dear, I'm listening. I suggest that's a wonderful way to pray. Yes, the wives in the room are going, yes, why don't you do that?
I submit that it's a wonderful way to pray. Speak, Lord, I'm listening. Oftentimes, when people pray, the theme is to ask. Now, let me just say, God does not mind that. God wants you to ask. He tells you, ask and keep asking. Ask and you will have. Seek and you will find. Keep knocking and the door will be opened. He doesn't rebuke you for that. He says, I encourage you, I want you to ask and keep asking. Persist in it. Keep seeking. Persist in it. Keep knocking, persist in it. He doesn't rebuke you. Do it. There's another thing that we need to add to prayer let not that be the only thing. Let there be a seeking through listening. I'm listening, speak, Lord, I'm listening.
A. To listen is to be teachable
When you listen with that attitude, you're teachable. To listen is to be teachable, is to come to the Lord with a humble heart, a teachable heart. I want to know what you have to say. I want you to speak into my life, I'm listening. It's to recognize that God's word is like a mirror, the Scripture says, that shows you what needs to be changed. I tell you if God wants to point out something that needs to be changed, it's always to change something for the good. It's always to bless you. He wants you to have a beautiful life. He wants nothing to stand in the way of a beautiful blessed life, so He will show you, this thing, this thing in your life needs to change.
He's trying to bless you He's trying to make a beautiful life. Let me give you a great word out of James 1:22-25. James writes it this way, "Prove yourselves to be doers of the word and not merely hearers only. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he's like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror. For once he's looked at himself, and then he's gone away, he's immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. He said, do you do that? No, you don't do that.
If you go to the mirror, you go and you look at your face in the mirror and you see oh, there's spinach in my teeth. What do you do? You spend the next five minutes trying to get that thing out of your teeth. If you look in the mirror and your hair is all askew you spend the next 10 minutes trying to get your hair back to what it should be. You do something. The mirror shows you this needs to change in your life. See this? I want to show you what's going on.
He says the Word of God is like that. The one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, the law of freedom and then abides by it, not becoming a forgetful hearer, but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in whatever he does. This man will be blessed because God's word is like a mirror. It will show you that which needs to change. When God shows you what needs to be changed, it's a blessing. It will bring you to a beautiful life.
What if God told you you needed to be a different kind of husband a better husband. Would you listen? Can He bring a word? What if He said, I want you to be a more excellent wife. Would you listen? A better father or a better mother or a better businessman or employee or neighbor or a friend. God speaks a word, speak, Lord, your servant is listening. The word that God spoke to Samuel was transforming. It was earth shaking to him and to Eli. Let's look at Eli, Eli is was an interesting case because God had already given a word to Eli in the chapter before this.
A man of God had come to him with a warning. Your two sons are corrupt. There is corruption in the priesthood and you know. The word of the Lord came to Eli and listen to this word it's very interesting. Why do you honor your sons above me? You know there's corruption, you know this is wrong and yet you don't remove them. Why? Why do you honor your sons above me?
Now that I'll tell you is a very good question for when God says to a person, this thing in your life, it's standing in the way. It's keeping you from the fullness of God, the fullness of God's blessing, the fullness of God's beautiful blessing that He wants to give to your life. This thing stands in the way. Let's remove this thing. If the person won't do it, God says, why do you honor this thing? Why didn't you honor this thing above me? Then He adds this phrase, those who honor me, I will honor them.
That is beautiful. It shows us the aspect of relationship because relationship is the giving and the receiving. There's a giving and there's a receiving in relationship. What is that you give to God? Well, you give honor, you give Him honor, you give Him thanks, you give Him love, you give Him praise, you give Him thanks. What does He give you? He gives you forgiveness, kindness, the promise of eternal life. He gives you a relationship to God as your Father. He adopts as sons and daughters. I could go on and on. He gives you peace that passes understanding.
There's the giving and there's the receiving. That's what relationship is. Those who honor me. You give me honor, I'll honor you but those who despise me will be lightly esteemed. Eli would not listen to God's word. He should have taken strong action. Remove that thing, remove that corruption. Therefore the word now, spoken through the boy was confirmation of what God had already said.
This is a great key. Jesus was speaking to a large crowd who had come to hear His words. They wanted to hear what He had to say but Jesus said this, this is Luke 6:46-48. Jesus said, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord if you do not do what I say?" Why do you call me Lord if you don't do what I say? Now to Eli, we can ponder that question a long time. That is a deep question right there. That is a deep, deep thought. Why do you call me, Lord? You call me Lord but then you won't do what I say?
B. God confirms the word He speaks
He then illustrates, everyone who comes to me and hears my words but then acts upon them, does it, lives it, takes hold of it, I will tell you whom he's like. He is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock. We would say today, bedrock, there's nothing more solid you can build a house on today than bedrock. It's like that. It's like a man who dug deep, laid a foundation on the rock and then when the flood occurred which is to say when troubles arose.
Hey, we're living in times where there are many troubles. There are many, many troubles in this life and He says, if you lay your life on a foundation, you build your life on a foundation, when those troubles come, when the flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well-built. God is saying, I want you to build your life well. Build it on that rock, that rock of Christ and then when troubles come, you'll have a foundation because you have taken hold of His word. That's the foundation. That's how you build the foundation. You have taken ahold of His word.
You say to Him, speak, Lord, your servant is listening and then He speaks that word and then you say, I'll do it. Let me add this and we'll close with this. When God gives a word, He confirms it. God confirms the word that He speaks. God spoke to Eli chapter two then He confirmed it with the word He gave to the boy. It's a principle of the word. It's a biblical principle. God confirms His word.
May I suggest to you today that the greatest confirmation that you're ever going to see in the word of God is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is the proof. That is the evidence. That is the confirmation and there is no greater confirmation than that, that everything that God said is true. In fact, Acts 17:30-31, some of my favorite verses in the Bible. It says, Paul says it this way, "God, having overlooked the times of ignorance is now declaring that all people everywhere must repent because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom he has appointed" notice "having furnished proof to all men by raising him from the dead."
That is the proof, the evidence, the confirmation. Then it says, "He gives the Holy Spirit as witness to your heart. The very Holy Spirit is witness. In other words, you know in your heart of hearts. It's like Romans 8:16, the Sprit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. You know, I've given you the Spirit that testifies, that speaks to your heart. He confirms. He always confirms His word.
There's an interesting story out of the book of Jeremiah that illustrates this point so well. The prophet Jeremiah warned Israel that Jerusalem would fall to Babylon. Babylon was besieging the city. "This city will fall, do not resist. It will do you no good. Even the King himself will be taken." They didn't like that word, the king didn't like that word so him put him under guard and threw him in prison but God gave Jeremiah another word. "Though this city will fall, this city is mine. I would give it again to my people." I will give this city again to my people.
Jeremiah, held under guard, God's going to confirm it. He says, your uncle, Hanamel, is going to come to you and he's going to ask you to purchase his land. Of course Hanamel's thinking, "We're out of here. Buy my land." He said, "You buy it. You buy his land. It's a testimony to everyone that they're coming back." Sure enough his uncle did exactly that very thing.
Here's what Jeremiah said as a response, Jeremiah 32:8-15, he says, "Then I knew this was the word of the Lord. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, "Houses and fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land." In other words, God confirms His word. God gave a word, they shall return and now we're even seeing another fulfillment in our own day. God gives a word and then He confirms it.
A couple of Wednesdays ago, I mentioned how this chapter three always reminds me of a time when I was a young man and was at church. Used to love going to church. I'd go by myself even. I loved to get there early and just sit there. I loved the smell of church. I loved the feel, I just loved being at church. They would play music on the sound system and I just loved it. I got there one day and I'm sitting there and I would just read in the word. I was in the Psalms and I happened upon Psalm 27 and one of the verses out of the Psalm just leapt out to me and did something, something happened to me there.
Listen to this word, Psalm 27:4, David is writing. One thing I've asked from the Lord, I'm asking, I want one thing, and that one thing I seek and is this, that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life. That's what I want. I just want one thing, if I could have one thing, it would be this, that I could dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life," to behold the beauty of the Lord and then meditate in His temple. That's the one thing. I would want that. I'm reading this sitting there in church and I thought, "This is beautiful. That's what I want. I want that. There's one thing I want, that's what I want."
Right away, I just sensed that God was calling me to be a pastor. Wow, what a privilege. I teach five times a week. I get to worship five times a week. I will tell you, this is not a job for me, this is not a job, this is the privilege of my life. This is the most beautiful privilege of my life. What a gift God gave. He called me there that day, but then He confirmed it because I'm thinking, "I don't have a foundation. I need to go to school. I need to study. I need a depth of understanding that I don't have. I need to go to Bible College and seminary and I can't afford it. What am I going to do? I felt a strong call in my life. What do I do, now?"
See, God confirms His word, He gave a word, He stirred something but He confirmed it. Sometime later, I came to church, the story is way too long to explain today but I'll give you the summation. I came to church, I was ten steps in the door, a fellow stepped in front of me like this, literally. He said, "Stop. I want you to know something. God has put it on my heart that I'm supposed to pay your way through Bible College."
God confirmed His word in a beautiful way. He meant every word of it. Seven years I studied. He paid all of it. God confirms His word. God revealed Himself to Samuel. God reveals Himself to you through the word of the Lord and He confirmed it when He raised Jesus from the dead and He gave a witness of His Holy Spirit.
He still speaks to those who hear. Speak, Lord, your servant is listening. That's an attitude of the heart. That will bring to you, the beautiful life that God wants to give to you. God wants to give you a beautiful life. The blessing of His presence is beautiful. May we truly have that heart to say, "I'm listening, Lord. I'm listening, you speak and I'll move."
Let's pray. Father, thank you so much for your beautiful, beautiful heart, that you reveal through your word and it stirs us up to want, to desire those very things that you reveal. What an attitude, what a heart. Speak, Lord, your servant is listening. That's what we want to do. We want that heart.
Church, how many today would say that to the Lord? I want that heart. I want to say to you today, "Speak, speak, Lord, your servant is listening." You can even speak a word of correction and I'll hear it because I know that you want to do that which is beautiful and wonderful. That's what I want. That's the very thing I want. Do that in me, Lord, do that in me. Here I am, I'm listening, speak.
Church, how many today would say that to the Lord? Would you say that to the Lord by just raising your hand? It's a beautiful thing to respond to the Lord. Just raise your hand. When you raise your hand, you're saying, God, I'm saying, speak to me, here is my heart, it's open to you. I want that kind of relationship where there's the giving and the receiving. Speak. Speak to me Lord. Show your heart. Do that which is beautiful in my life.
God, we honor you, we thank you. We gave you praise and glory and honor in Jesus' name and everyone said, amen. Let's give Him thanks and glory, Amen.