In this episode, we look at one of most fundamental elements of the Christian faith – prayer. Specifically we look at the need for us to have God speak into our lives by using the example of Samuel. Our Good News segment is about the nephew of the Masterpiece Cake owner becoming a Christian. Our unreached people group for the week is the Hakka of China. And Today’s Word is found in John 2:15-25. This famous passage talks about Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple!
Speak, Lord. Your servant hears.
As we have been talking about living for Christ daily, one of the main issues that needs to be addressed is the subject of prayer. You wouldn’t know it talking to most Christians, but prayer is one of the fundamental elements of the Christian life.
Prayer. Praying to God. Speaking to the Creator of the universe. It is one of the supreme benefits of being a child of God. We, as His children, can walk “boldly to the throne of grace”. Praying is the street that we walk down to get to God.
And the sad part is, praying is noticeably absent in many Christian’s lives. And not too surprisingly, praying is also almost non-existent in many churches as well. Praying becomes something that your grandmother did, but not you. Praying becomes something that only the super religious do, but not you. This shouldn’t be the case!
As Christians, we should invest our time in prayer. We should spend time pouring out our hearts to God and we should spend time listening to God. Wait. What? Yes, the other error with people who do pray, is they seldom give room for the Lord to speak. They are like your friend that talks and talks, but you can never get a word in edgewise.
Sometimes we need to take a minute. Give room for the Lord to speak.
Let’s look at the story of Samuel. Samuel is the son of Elkanah and Hannah. Hannah was barren but promised the Lord that if he would answer her prayer for a child, she would give the child to God. The Lord answered her prayer and Hannah kept her word.
Now this all seems well and good from Hannah’s perspective, but how might Samuel have felt. He was given up as a young boy to go and live in a stranger’s house with people he did not know. He was likely told he was dedicated to God, but to a small boy, he probably didn’t understand that.
He possibly felt rejected. He likely felt alone. He was living with Eli and Eli’s sons and the Bible describes them as scoundrels. Despite being dedicated to God, he probably felt pretty far from him seeing how Eli’s family operated. But this is where the story changes.
One night as Samuel lie in bed, he here’s a voice calling out to him, “Samuel, Samuel”. Now Samuel had never heard the voice of the Lord before, so he was unfamiliar with it and thought it may be Eli calling him. It wasn’t.
Now despite all of the faults that Eli had, he gave Samuel great advice. After a couple of times of Samuel hearing the voice and questioning Eli, Eli realized it was God speaking to Samuel, so he instructed Samuel to go back and lie down and when you hear the voice again, say “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.” That’s found in 1st Samuel Chapter 3, verse 9. Let’s take this apart. What does it look like for the Lord to speak? Here’s three quick takeaways:
- It’s personal. Notice the Lord calls Samuel by name. This isn’t some general calling out. The Lord knows us by name. He calls us by name. This means he communicates in a very personal way. Now we know that God, through his word, speaks to all people through all times. And this predominately the way that he speaks to people, but in this passage we see that God will choose to get personal with us. And we should welcome that.
- He waits for our response. We see in this story that God waited for Samuel to listen. He didn’t just start talking when Samuel wasn’t even sure who was speaking. He waited for Samuel to recognize his voice and to respond. Samuel responds, “Speak Lord, your servant hears.” Samuel put himself in a position to hear from God. He responded and he waited. Samuel was willing to hear God’s voice. He wasn’t scared. He didn’t try to drown it out. He sat quietly waiting for God to speak. And we should be the same way.
- God speaks to the lowly. Samuel was just a young boy. He had no standing in that house. Eli was the priest. Eli was the man of God. Why wasn’t God speaking to Eli? Why would he chose Samuel. Samuel wasn’t anything special. Sure his parents dedicated him to God, but Eli’s sons were dedicated to God as well. All priests were dedicated to God. Samuel was just a servant to the house of the Lord. He probably felt unworthy. He likely felt rejected. But God likes to call those who may have been rejected or young or inexperienced and use them to do great and mighty things. He calls people like you and me. And He will speak to us now, if we will just say, “Speak Lord, your servant hears.”
God speaks to his people. But I think too often we don’t hear him. Take some time and pray this week. Pour out your heart to God and give God room to speak to your heart. When He speaks, things change.
The Good News –
Unreached People Group –
Today’s Word – John 2:13
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple,[c] and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
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