Listening with Purpose
1 Samuel 3:1-10
1 Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. 2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, "Here I am!" 5 and ran to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call; lie down again." So he went and lay down. 6 And the LORD called again, "Samuel!" and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again." 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the young man. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant hears."
Yesterday we learned about hearing the Word with eagerness and attentiveness. Now, letˇ¦s think about approaching the Bible purposefully, expectantly, and prayerfully.
Christians study the Scriptures not just individually but also corporately to learn more about God and His ways. Underlying this simple concept is a big challenge. To gather biblical knowledge with purpose means determining in our heart to obey what we hear (Ps. 119:33). And to do so expectantly means we believe that the Lord is going to speak specifically to us (Ps. 25:4). Sermons, Sunday school lessons, and quiet times on our own are all things to be anticipated. God uses these to build us up, strengthen us, or offer us comfort--He certainly makes listening to Him worthwhile. And obedience is the only proper response to this kind of personal attention.
Approaching the reading of Scripture prayerfully prepares our hearts to listen well and ushers in an attitude of purpose and expectancy. Todayˇ¦s passage tells the story of young Samuelˇ¦s first encounter with God. The priest Eli gives the boy valuable advice--that when the Lord calls, he should say, ˇ§Speak, Lord, for your servant is listeningˇ¨ (v. 9). Pray those simple words with conviction before you open your Bible, and you will hear God more clearly.
If you want to experience God working in your life, come to Scripture with a prayerful, expectant, purpose-filled attitude. The mourner will be comforted. The weary will gain strength. Those convicted of their sin will repent and know peace. All will sense joy. Recognize what a gift Godˇ¦s Word is.