Listening in The Quiet

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. And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” Then the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.

We have phones, tablets, TV shows, gym memberships, small groups, game nights, and coffee shops to distract us from being quiet… … …

… … … and waiting for the Lord.

He will speak and he will guide our paths and direct our steps. All we need to do is be faithful, be quiet, and listen. “Speak, for your servant hears.”

We Don't Control Our Ears (1 Samuel 2:25)

[Eli said] “If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” But [Hophni and Phineas] would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the LORD to put them to death.

Have you ever wondered how the Pharisees could have conversations with Jesus himself and still completely miss the point? Or what about when you hear a conversation where someone else is so consumed with his or her own agenda that they cannot see what is plain to everybody else?

Or what about the moments when you reflect on a situation in your own life where you realized that everybody around you was telling you what you needed to hear and you still insisted on your own way?

Hophni and Phineas are responsible for their actions, but there is a stunning statement here where God also takes responsibility for their stubborn pursuit of their own way.

They would not listen… for it was the will of the LORD to put them to death.

Yes, they should have listened. They were living in total rebellion to what God willed for Israel, especially what he willed for priests. But God had another will that included removing them from their post, so there was nothing Eli could have said to change their mind.

Let’s pray that the Lord opens our eyes and ears to hear truth and to be convicted in our core to turn and repent from patterns of sin that others point out in us.

Faithful, not Futile (John 21:3-11)

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn.

The disciples were going back to work they knew, they were blue collar guys. They spent the night fishing, and they caught nothing but rubber tires and candy wrappers. Then they hear someone who they have never met before yell at them from the shore to move the net just a few feet and try fishing again. They listened, and instantly the net was filled with large fish to the point that they could hardly haul it in. John knew that it was Jesus right away because this had happened before (Luke 5:1-11) and exclaimed it because he could not contain himself.

Could Jesus have intervened sooner? And couldn’t he have snapped his fingers and made the fish appear in the net without the disciples going through the fishing process again?

Yes, Jesus could have done both of those things. But he didn’t. They needed to spend the night in futility. They also needed to have faith. Jesus worked a miracle in their working and faithful obedience.

He can miraculously transform and redeem any tough experience we have in a split second. Sometimes he does. But he often doesn’t. It is our job to stay faithful knowing that he is able to do anything at any time.

And when he does act, we will know he is the Lord and we will throw ourselves into the ocean to chase after him.

Looking for Jesus (John 20:11-18)

They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Mary was looking for Jesus. She wanted to see him, even if he was wrapped in cloth. She just wanted to be near him. So she went to where she thought he would be, and he was not there, at least not in the form she thought he would be.

Jesus was quietly, patiently standing right beside her, and she had no idea. She couldn’t see him even though she was looking for him. She was not going to find him no matter how hard she tried. She needed him to open her eyes.

So then Jesus called her name and instantly she knew that it was him the whole time.

Just because we look for Jesus does not mean we see him… right away. He is by your side, it just might be in the form of a gardener.