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Like Samuel, listen with intent to obey

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He was just a boy. He couldn’t be expected to “hear from the Lord.”

Wrong.

Samuel was Hannah’s little boy who grew up in the Temple of the Lord in Shechem, under the priesthood of Eli. He was a special child, given to the Lord by his mother even before he was conceived. Scripture tells us that he grew in favor with God and man. He was consistent in his serving, faithful in his care for God’s house and obedient to the Law of God.

That’s why if anyone was going to hear from the Lord in those days — when the Word of God was “rare,” everyone did “what was right in his own eyes,” and the priesthood was horribly corrupt — then Samuel was the perfect candidate.

Scripture says that when Eli, the chief priest, realized God was calling to Samuel in the night (read the whole story for yourself in I Samuel 3), he told him to go back and lie down. Then, he told Samuel to respond if the Lord called again, in this manner: “Speak Lord, for Your servant hears.”

What an amazing statement grounded by an amazing word. The Hebrew word for “hear” doesn’t just mean to listen. No. It means to listen with the intent to obey. Samuel wasn’t just supposed to tell the Lord he was listening to His voice. He was to tell the Lord that he was ready to hear Him speak and then obey.

I wonder how our lives would change if we put down our phones and iPads in the morning (or throughout the day for that matter) and instead, found a quiet place to sit with God’s Word open and uttered the words of Eli: “Speak, Lord for your servant hears (with an intent to obey).”

I wonder what would change in us if we were more intentional about our time spent with the Lord. I wonder what would change in us if we prayed with the idea that we would obey whatever God challenged us to do, without hesitation. I wonder what we would hear from Him if we followed Samuel’s example and were still before the Lord.

Ouch.

We aren’t often still, are we? Unfortunately, we are valued in this world by our ability to multitask, not our ability to sit quietly and be still. Yet, how much of God’s heart for our lives, how much of His instruction for us, how much of His encouragement to us personally do we miss because we aren’t still?

I wonder about all of these things, but I’d like to not.

So, I’m gonna focus this week on sitting quietly before the Lord and using the phrase of Eli in my quiet time: Speak, Lord for your servant hears.” Won’t you join me? Maybe then, none of us will ever have to wonder again.

Prayer: “Speak Lord, I am listening. I am waiting to hear from You through prayer and also from Your Word. Tell me great and mighty things that I do not know, and help me to obey whatever You speak. I love You, Lord.”

Steve and Belinda Kirk write the “Everyday Grace” devotional for the Johnstonian News. Reach them at 919-449-5745 and sbmkax@earthlink.net .

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