Saturday, October 29, 2011

Listening for the LORD

“Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening’.” ~1 Samuel 3:10 (NRSV).

Three times Samuel had ventured off to Eli to ask what he was calling for. On the third occasion Eli works out what is going on. The Divine Lord was calling Samuel.

He calls to each of us.

The human proclivity, as seen here via Samuel, is to charge about at the obvious without seeking to determine what is actually being said or, more aptly in this circumstance, who is saying it.

As listeners, we make very good speakers. We defy the sensibilities of having two ears and one mouth.

Learning to Listen for God

Samuel obeyed the Lord. Yet, he was only just beginning to learn how to hear.

Hearing God—actively listening—is not a skill like actively listening with human beings is, as much as it’s the willingness to slow down and take in the patient silence with which the Lord speaks.

As listeners we must become virulent meditators and praying persons of the Word. We seek first to listen, and only to speak when we have heard, and heard right.

Many times, however, we find God has little to say in our prayer time; we have the Lord’s full hearing as we speak during these times. It’s more the case that God will want to speak to us, in his silent language, by the things of everyday life—not during our sacred prayer time.

We need to learn how God awakens our understanding.

When we do this, practising the presence of the Lord in our going out and coming in, we find that God wants to guide us in so many things, little and large, significant and seemingly insignificant. (Everything is significant.)

Installing the Role of Prophecy

People are often confused regarding prophecy’s most common function. It isn’t in discerning the future, in ways to instruct or warn others, communities, and nations.

Sure, there are prophets for those roles. But our role in prophecy, as it pertains to our personal and interpersonal lives, is to discern what the Lord is telling us to do. In this way we obey.

We can only do this, pleasing the Lord via faith to listen and apply, if we busy ourselves with the act of listening for, and actively seeking, the will of God in each conscious situation.

God is heard in silence. Like the prophets of old, our chief aim needs to be to discover the moment’s revelation as the Spirit reveals it, and then promptly obey the Lord’s requirements of us.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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