IT’S NOT A GIVEN

12 April 2013

IT’S NOT A GIVEN

1 Samuel 3
New Living Translation (NLT)

The Lord Speaks to Samuel
3 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in
those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were
quite uncommon.

2 One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. 3 The
lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the
Tabernacle[a

] near the Ark of God. 4 Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”

“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” 5 He got up and ran to
Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he
did.

6 Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!”

Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

“I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.”

7 Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message
from the Lord before. 8 So the Lord called a third time, and once more
Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 9 So he
said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again,
say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went
back to bed.

10 And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing
in Israel. 12 I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and
his family, from beginning to end. 13 I have warned him that judgment
is coming upon his family forever, because his sons are blaspheming
God[b

] and he hasn’t disciplined them. 14 So I have vowed that the sins
of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or
offerings.”

I was reading this chapter a few months back when God spoke clearly
into my spirit: “See, Mark, you can literally grow up in my house and
still not recognize my voice”.

Samuel grew up in the temple. We read in the last chapter how he grew
in favour with God and man. Yet, when God spoke, he didn’t recognize
His voice. This was a powerful, personal challenge for me, and one I
pray will challenge you. You may be serving God faithfully. You may be
waking up early to pray, read the Bible, devotions and you may attend
every church service your church hosts. But do you know when God is
speaking to you? Being in the church is not a given that you will hear
God’s voice.

The difference is relationship. Intimacy over programme. Taking time
out to hear God’s voice, to discern His will.

A CALL TO ACTION
One of the most common questions I get asked as a pastor is “how do I
know when God is speaking to me?” God speaks in many ways. The primary
way is through His word – when we read something and it jumps out at
us, and something in our spirit connects with scripture – that’s
called a ‘rhema’ word. It’s a word now, in season for you! He also
speaks in our spirits. When we have this inner voice that is telling
us something – we need to obey it. Often, it’s not our “sixth sense” –
but it’s the voice of God speaking into our spirits.

Today – be intentional about asking God to speak to you and guide you,
then listen. Read another portion of scripture and ask God to speak to
you through that. Ask Him to speak into your spirit as you go through
the day. God has no problem speaking – we have a problem listening.
Open the ears of your soul to His voice today!

A PRAYER TO PRAY
God thank you that you want to speak to me in many ways – through the
Bible, in my spirit, through friends and circumstances. Please help me
to hear your voice today. Please speak to me through your Word,
through Your spirit or through other people. Amen.

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