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Monday, January 23, 2017

Listening to Our King

I’m writing this a little later in the day than normal because I’m writing this after a second sleepless night battling cold and flu symptoms.  I finally fell asleep just before 6am, messing up my 7am Hebrew class attendance.  I was able to sleep until about 10:30, when I felt well enough to make a cup of coffee and come down here to my basement-office. 

Now, I’m listening to worship music, reading 1 Samuel, and blogging what I read for myself and for you who like catching a glimpse of my process.  Why is the first thing I did today, even when I’m sick and my schedule is all thrown off?  Simple.  God is my King.  I want to walk today, just as I want to walk any other day, with God.  Samuel understood this.

The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel's words fall to the ground. (1 Samuel 3:19 NIV)

I love that sentence.  The LORD did not let any of Samuel’s words “fall to the ground.”  Things fall to the ground when they are dead, like leaves falling from trees.  Samuel’s words were living and active.  That’s because Samuel was not speaking his own words.  He was speaking God’s Words.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)

Samuel had become a prophet of God.  That’s what prophets do.  They speak new words that were given to them by the LORD.  These revelations had never been heard before, so they weren’t contained in the pages of Scripture yet.  They were the words that eventually built Scripture.

And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD. (1 Samuel 3:20 NIV)

Moses was a prophet of the LORD.  God spoke to Moses and Moses gave the message to the rest of Israel – millions of them.  The Israelites saw God working through Moses with plagues on Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, encounters at Mt. Sinai, water from a rock, manna, quail, and much more.  When Moses told them, “Thus says the LORD,” they knew it was from the LORD.

Before Moses died, he received words from the LORD about future prophets.  The LORD told them that there would be future prophets who gave the people instructions.  These prophets would always follow two patters.  First, the prophet would have a sign, wonder, or miraculous short-term prediction that comes true one hundred percent of the time (Deuteronomy 18:15-22).  Secondly, even if the person who claims to be a prophet does have a sign, wonder, or short term prediction that comes true, compare what they say to previous revelation from the LORD.  “Prophets” who try to get us to follow a God other than the One Revealed by Moses and other true prophets are, well, not prophets at all (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).  Do not listen to them.

Samuel was a true prophet.  His words did not fall to the ground.  His words matched previous revelation from the LORD.  Samuel became a prophet because he learned to listen to the LORD through God’s written word (Scriptures) and through God’s Spirit.  When Samuel spoke, his words did not fall to the ground because he listened first.  He listened to the LORD.  Then he spoke.

The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word. And Samuel's word came to all Israel. (1 Samuel 3:21-4:1a NIV)

Why is this the first thing I do each morning, even when I had a sleepless night and I am battling illness?  I want to be like Samuel.  No, the LORD had not seen fit to give me the gift of prophecy like Samuel.  God has, however, empowered me to read, understand, and teach His Word to others who are willing to listen and learn.  God has made me into a theologian, teacher, and preacher.

Just like Samuel, though, I want none of my words to fall to the ground.  So, I read.  I pray.  I listen to the LORD.  I listen to my Lord.  I listen to my King.

How about you?  Are you listening to our King?