Do you want to hear God speak to you?
Not everyone does.
Some people are rightly afraid of mistaking their own voice in their head for God’s voice. That’s called healthy self-awareness.
A lot of us have been plagued at times with people who claim to speak for God. I’ve had a couple of friends who were told by an admirer that God revealed to them (the admirer) that they should get married. Funny thing, though, is that my friends never got the memo. That's called spiritual manipulation.
One time I heard a church leader explaining how best to recruit people for ministry. She said, “Just tell them that God has laid them on your heart.” Who wants to say no to that? That’s called spiritual abuse.
These kinds of experiences and a little emotional intelligence might make you feel a little queasy about the idea of hearing God speaking directly to you.
And there’s another reality we can acknowledge if we’re going to be really honest—sometimes we don’t want to hear from God because we suspect that what he will say will confront us more than it will comfort us.
Not everyone wants to hear God speak to them?
And yet, I think we all want to hear from God sometimes.
Deep down we want to hear him say, “When I say I love my children, I'm saying I love you. You are special to me.”
We want to hear from him when our spirits are dry and the Scriptures feel like nothing more than words on a page.
We want to hear from God when we have a huge life altering decision to make and we don’t know which way to turn.
And we want to hear from him when we feel all alone in the world.
This weekend's passage (1 Samuel 3:1 - 4:1) is about God speaking and about how to listen. It describes a unique moment in history described as a period of time when “the word of the Lord was rare” (1 Samuel 3:1).
They had the Word of God. They had Genesis through Deuteronomy. And, yet, “the word of the Lord was rare.”
But everything changes in a big way when God speaks to a boy who, at first, fails to discern the voice of God. But he learns to discern.
God speaks. And we, like this boy, can learn to discern his voice.
This passage offers some clues.
I hope to see you this weekend as we gather for worship. Do you know someone that needs to hear about the God who still speak?