Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Samuel's Ear

The poet, James Drummond Burns, once wrote:

Oh, give me Samuel's ear,
an open ear, O Lord,
alive and quick to hear
each whisper of Thy Word;
lie him to answer to Thy call,
and to obey Thee first of all.

For those of you who may need a refresher on the story of Samuel, the much prayed-for and beloved son of Hannah and Elkanah who was dedicated to the Temple of the Lord under Eli's priesthood, this poem is a hearkening back to being open to hear ALL God wants us to hear, whenever He speaks to us.

Whether God initiates the conversation, as happened with Samuel, or when we are studying the Word, or we do, through prayer, fasting, and Christian meditation, it is important to be open to listening for God in WHATEVER way He chooses to speak.

For some occasions, God might use the Spirit highlighting Scripture within us; other times, He may speak through a prophet we know is walking closely to Him, a dear friend, a book or posting we happen upon, through angels, nature, symbols within the scope of our lives, music, or dreams. There are numerous ways God can and does communicate with and to us, and if we are open, heart, eyes, and ears, we will understand the language of God that much more.

For me, music, nature, art, loved ones, dreams and visions, the Word, the Spirit while praying or fasting, others' posts and replies to posts, books... there are so many things which speak God's language to me; things which I can discern, praise God, the way I am to go, the step I am to take, the word I am to give, the dream I am to interpret, etc. It is a humbling, thrilling, awe-inspiring experience to know that God can, will, and does use ME and uses those around me, whether or not they are aware of it. God can and is willing to use ANYTHING to get our attention, for our good, so that we are better able to interact with the world around us and be a blessing.

In Samuel's case, the priest Eli no longer listened much to the Lord's Word, and his sons most certainly ignored the commands they had been given, and so when God spoke through Samuel the destruction of Eli's family, this was not only the first known interaction he had with Him, but was his first prophecy, too.

Sometimes God speaks what we would consider destruction, as in this case; this is because a HOLY God cannot reside with unholiness, and a JUST God cannot remain unjust to the people. Many times, however, God speaks to us about our own lives... what needs to change and what we must do next; instructions in bits and pieces as He awaits our fulfillment, our obedience to the last thing He said.

If we are OPEN to hearing God, then it is risky and courageous, but it is also an adventure; it is a choice, and it is doable. If we re OPEN to Him, we will to trust Him and have faith that what He tells us is the TRUTH; it changes our lives, and changes us into a closer resemblance of the Father in Jesus Christ.

Pastor and author Mark Batterson writes, "Posture is to prayer as tone is to communication. If words are what you say, posture is how you say it."

I believe that part of this posture is whether or not our ear, our eyes, the eyes and ears of our hearts, are truly and fully OPEN to His presence, His Living Word come to us for such a time as this. So when we ask, give us Samuel's ear, Father... and we do so in humbleness of heart and posture... I believe He will hear that prayer, and we will hear from Him more and more.

We are called to love the Lord our God with all of who we are... heart, soul, body, and mind... and we are told that when we desire HIS PRESENCE and are obedient to Him in love that He will give us the desires of our hearts. We are promised provision, healing, salvation, grace, and so much more, and it is up to us to ACCEPT those gifts. If we are not in consistent interaction with Him, knowing His voice and how He speaks to us, in our own relationships with Him, then we are less likely to know deep down that we HAVE these gifts. In order to have a DEEP, abiding relationship with the Savior, we must have ears to hear and eyes to see what God is doing.

Lord, give us Samuel's ear as we yearn more and more for You! Help us to understand more and more the nuances of how you communicate with us, and help us to be obedient when You call; quick and without hesitation, but with sure priority. Help us to be Your ears, Your eyes, Your heart here on the earth, and to speak the words You call us to without fear. Help us to stand u as You direct and step aside as You guide; to follow Your Spirit's direction in absolute trust by Your grace because we love You. In Jesus' wonderful and ever-holy name... AMEN