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15 October 2012

Listening to God - October 15

Last week we looked at things that could hinder us as we listen to God. This week we consider ways to listen actively. God expects us to listen actively, with full and undivided attention. He gives a great example in the call to Samuel. The boy, Samuel, was passively listening at first and heard Someone call his name. Samuel thought it was the priest Eli, so he went in to see what the older man needed. Eli knew that he hadn’t called Samuel, so he told Samuel to go to bed and when it happened again, to tell God that he was listening. God called; Samuel listened actively, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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.” 1 Sam 3:7-10 (ESV)

When you are ready to listen to God, what do you do? How do you listen? We will focus on a few aspects of listening today and through the week.

Expectantly. We need to anticipate that if we listen, God will speak! We have His promise that He will do just that:

Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it— the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.  Jer 33:2-3 (ESV)

We can expect from God because God is completely reliable. When we listen expectantly, we listen faithfully, and our faith grows as we wait expectantly on His answer.

Quietly. We can’t hear if we are too busy babbling ourselves. We learn about God through our stillness.

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalms 46:10 (ESV)

Think about your life. You need to carve out time for God. It should be a non-negotiable daily appointment. Your time must involve stillness. What time of day best works for you? For some, it’s late night. For others, lunch time. For me, it’s early morning. I go to bed earlier than most 12 year olds J so I can get up very early in the morning. I have carved out a specific amount of time each morning to be with God. Nothing gets in the way. If my schedule somehow alters so that I need to do something at that time, I go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Morning is my best time.

How do you schedule your quiet time? Seriously – comment and let us know what you do. You can leave an anonymous comment, so no one will know who you are. What struggles do you have in keeping your quiet time? How has a quiet time impacted your life? If you don’t have a regular time, what keeps you from doing so?

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.  Psalms 62:5-6 (KJV)

Patiently. How hard is it for you to be patient? Have you ever asked God for more patience? What happened?

Wouldn’t it be nice if God gave us our answers right away, every time? He could, of course, but that would make Him subservient to us. The King doesn’t answer to the subjects; the subjects answer to the King.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. 26  It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lam 3:25-26 (ESV)

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Psalms 37:7 (ESV)

How are patience and quietness related? Why does the Psalmist tell you to not fret over a sinner? How would fretting, or not waiting quietly, hinder God’s plans?

Today we discussed listening expectantly, quietly, and patiently. In which areas are you most comfortable? Do you have areas that require extra work? How will you approach God and petition Him for help in these areas?

Wednesday’s lesson will discuss waiting confidently, dependently, openly, and attentively. I pray that this study has helped you as you look to God for answers to prayers. Please feel free to leave comments regarding any insights or questions you may have. See you Wednesday.

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