Continuing on our theme this week, we have been talking about praying and hearing from God. If you haven’t taken the time to listen to this week’s episode of the Everyday Jesus podcast, please do so now by clicking on the play button below.
We also spent some time on Tuesday’s blog post diving deeper into what this means by recognizing our role as a servant. You can catch up that by clicking on the link below:
Now let’s dive a little more into the last word in that instruction that Eli gave Samuel – hearing. The Bible is clear that hearing isn’t as simple as it may sound. When Jesus is speaking to the churches in the the Book of Revelation, he says:
“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Rev. 2:29
This verse has always fascinated me because doesn’t pretty much everyone have ears? Jesus in the gospels puts it this way, “he who has ears to hear, let him hear.” What does this mean? Why does Jesus add this to particularly hard teachings?
This means that just because you have ears, doesn’t mean you are actually listening. Let me give you an example that may help. My seven-year-old son is in first grade and learning to read. He is amazing for his age. He can read fairly large words and he can tear through tough books in minutes. The problem is, even though he can read the words, he’s not actually understanding what he is reading. He hasn’t learned to slow down to comprehend what the story is about and I think we are like that sometimes as well. Jesus put it this way:
And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty-fold and sixty-fold and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:13-20
Jesus says that even though the word is going out, not everyone will hear it and there are key differences in even those who do actually hear the word. He says how you receive it or how you listen matters. If you hear it and accept it, the word will bear fruit in your life. We must endeavor to have good soil for the word that the Lord will give us. When God speaks, what kind of soil will he find in your life? Will you even hear what he says?
Back to Samuel to wrap this up. He goes back to his bed and the Lord calls to him again. “Samuel, Samuel.” And Samuel replies, “Speak, for your servant hears.” God then goes on to reveal his plans to Samuel and this relationship continues throughout the rest of Samuel’s life. It all started with these components: a willingness to hear the Lord speak, recognizing that his role as a servant and having good soil for the word to take root. I pray that we will all be ready like Samuel was to hear the word of God.