Monday, November 28, 2011

Innocent Inaccuracies

(What you are about to read is a selection from a retreat I spoke at this past weekend.  It is based on the discussion of our calling and comes from I Samuel 3.)

"In the midst of our shortcomings, God still calls us & desires our willingness to obey His calling."

Have you ever made a mistake?

Dumb question, right?

We all do.  Sometimes I get so worried about making a mistake that I am too cautious about even moving.  After all, it would be better to stay and not make a mistake than to move and mess up, right?

That really is not true.

This is one of my toughest battles.

I don’t like to fail…mess up…or miss the goal.

Samuel was young and innocent.  The kingdom around him had become corrupt & scandalous.  Eli, the current prophet, knew of the corruption & did little to nothing about it.  These situations cause very little communication from God.  

That says a lot about how God feels in the matter of knowing about sin & not doing anything to rectify the situation.  

Eli was a religious leader, & yet had gotten stuck in the rut of complacency.  We all end up there sometime, but we can’t stay there as he did.  In the midst of all of this, Eli was in charge of making sure Samuel was progressing along the path of becoming a prophet.  Samuel was being raised in this mess & he did not know God because God hadn’t revealed Himself to him

Imagine sleeping & you hear an audible voice that wakes you from sleep.  I mean, that happens occasionally, & Samuel thought it was something along the normal lines and when he heard this voice he went to see what Eli wanted.

Only it wasn’t Eli.

The same thing happened again…

…still not Eli.

Three times…

…three strikes.

Finally, Eli (the guy who was supposed to be God’s man) figured it out and told Samuel that it was God calling him.  Eli told Samuel to go back to bed and answer God and, “tell God to speak” because he (Samuel) was ready to listen.

Tell God to speak?  Say something, I am ready.  It reminds me of the Centurion (Matthew 8) that asked Christ to just “say the word” and his servant would be healed.  When God speaks, powerful things happen.  So our request is…”God, please say something!”  When God calls, He wants to say something…but are we listening?

Do you ever wonder if you are hearing from God or not?

I do…

…all …the…time.

Is it possible that God’s calling is persistent even when we mess up?

Is it possible that if I mess up, He won’t give up on me?

Is it possible that He is that patient…faithful…and loving?

I am not suggesting that God is ok with sin, I am suggesting that He is patient with those who seek Him and innocently make errors in the way they pursue Him.

Is this true?

Did God still speak to Samuel, even after three strikes?


…and it was a powerful and hard message…

…a message against Eli, against God’s messenger, against Samuel’s mentor, against the country, against the people (Eli’s sons) who were supposed to take over and be in charge.

That isn’t a message I would want to deliver.  Why didn’t God tell all of this to Eli?

Even though the message was tough, it was what God said.  It was what Samuel was called to.  This was the beginning of Samuel becoming the man the nation looked to.  God speaking to a person and empowering a person, and that person’s obedience does that.  It changes things.  It puts you where God wants you to be, be a tough place, a place of power, or a place of humility.  

God will put you right where He wants you, if we listen.  Samuel made some mistakes, but his heart was truly open to God’s calling and he was obedient to share it when God spoke.  

So, what does this look like for you?

Here and now, what is God saying to you?  We can so easily hear what the world and everything around us is saying because it is screaming in our face…but what is God’s still…small…voice saying?

It is ok to not know, but it is not ok to not search and listen.

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