Message: In 1 Samuel 2 the little boy that was dedicated to the temple was beginning to hear from God. He wasn’t sure what it was at first, so he kept responding to Eli the priest. After a few times Eli recognized what was happening and directed Samuel to respond “Here I am Lord. Speak, your servant is listening.” Even as I write these words I relate to this so much. God is always speaking to us through people and situations. When we are first learning to hear from God it can be confusing, and we may try to respond to the people and situations around us instead, but God continues calling to us. As we learn to recognize his voice more often, we learn to step back from situations and say “Here I am. Speak, your servant is listening.” Instead of asking why things are happening, this is our opportunity to ask God what he is trying to speak to us and what he is trying to show us.
In this case Eli had known for years that his sons were defiling the house of God but he refused to do anything about it. His sons were not only defiling the house of God, but they were defiling the sacrifices the people brought and abusing the people with their conduct. Eli allowed this to continue for years despite the warnings from God. The first word Samuel received as a young prophet was a word of judgment against Eli and his sons because they had ignored the voice of God. I found it interesting that Eli seemed to know already what it was going to be. He told Samuel to speak the word of God without hiding any of it because he knew the young prophet would be afraid to speak the judgment that God had given him. Eli had been actively ignoring God’s voice so he knew it was coming and he had already determined himself to accept the consequence.
This really had me thinking about a time when I was a teenager and I really felt God talking to me about my life. I was enjoying the comfort and familiarity of my sin so I remember consciously turning on music and other distractions to drown out the thoughts because I was feeling guilty. I was actively ignoring God and somehow even at that age I really knew it. God kept speaking and eventually at age 18 I responded. Looking back I see how gracious he was to continue speaking while I was ignoring him. It becomes dangerous to get used to ignoring God’s voice because if we drown it out for too long we learn to treat it like background noise. For Eli and his sons that background noise went on too long and judgment came. For us, judgement will come a little differently. We are in a time of grace where God calls us to examine ourselves before judgment day comes. If we ignore his voice too long, we may find we waited a day too long. My challenge to myself is to pay attention to what I keep hearing as background noise. The edge and frustration I’m feeling just might be me trying to drown out the voice of God with distractions. When I feel this way I need to say “Speak, your servant is listening.”