Greetings MOL Family!
Are you ready to continue on with our “How to Live” series? Do you have your textbooks with you? Let’s go!
The Attitude of Listening
In Ministry of Healing, page 509, the next to the last paragraph, the first sentence (in The Wisdom of the Great Physician, pg. 168, under the section “The Privilege of Prayer”, par. 2): What is Jesus doing?:
Christ is ever sending messages… – Ministry of Healing, pg. 509
He’s sending messages. What is that word before sending? “Ever” What does that mean? — All the time. Heaven’s radio station never signs off! And, is that the end of the sentence? What does it say?
…to those who listen for His voice. – Ibid
So, we want to listen, don’t we?
Turn to 1 Samuel 3. This is an old, familiar story of the boy Samuel, dedicated to the Lord, living there in the sanctuary with Eli, the aged priest. And in this experience, we see Samuel sleeping, and he hears somebody calling, “Samuel.” Who does He think it is? Eli. And notice the habit of obedience… At once, he responds. He’s glad. But what does Eli say? “No, I didn’t call you. You can go lie down again.”
But again, he hears that voice, “Samuel.” What does he do? — Comes again. “Here I am.” And again, he goes back. And the third time he hears the voice. What does Eli tell him this time? As we would say, Eli begins to catch on. He knows what is happening. What does he tell Samuel? “Go, lie down again and if He calls again,” do what?
…it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shall say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant hears. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant hears. – 1 Samuel 3:9-10
I was pondering, why didn’t the Lord, the first time He called him, just go ahead and tell him what He had to tell him? Did Samuel hear that voice calling, “Samuel?” Yes, but God waited until his mind was ready. And the way to get it ready was to get his attention, and to get his response. And so, with you and me, my dear friends, God waits until we open the windows of the soul heavenward. And one of the great purposes of prayer is to get us in the attitude of listening.
Do you suppose Samuel listened quite intently that 4th time? And oh, how interested he must have become, by this time, to know what this was, what it meant, what the message was. It was building up, you see. And so, as we come to God in prayer, we want to pray Samuel’s prayer, “Speak, LORD; for thy servant hears.”
Cultivate The Habit
There is some beautiful poetry in our SDA hymnals; as well as beautiful harmonies. In an older edition, there is a hymn (#329) that has the spirit of Samuel’s response:
Speak, Lord, in the stillness,
While I wait on Thee;
Hushed my heart to listen
Speak, O blessed Master,
In this quiet hour;
Let me see Thy face, Lord,
Feel Thy touch of power.
Every stanza is beautiful. You will want to go through it at your leisure. I want to come back to something I gave you in an earlier lesson, and that is that God has made us individuals. You won’t have an experience just like Samuel. You won’t have one like me and I won’t have one like you. But you can have one that fits you better than Samuel’s experience would fit you.
What is speech for? It’s to convey a message. God may use the eardrum, or He may bypass the eardrum. We do not hear with the ear. We hear deep in the brain. That’s where the message gets through. This (the ear) is just a medium. God can use the ear. He did on this particular night with Samuel. But He can get to your mind whether you had an ear or not, can’t He? Yes, and we must not shut up God to certain avenues, and say it must come through the written Word or it must come through some voice we hear, or it must come in some other way.
God has many ways to reach us. But if we really want His guidance, and if we really want to know His will, His promise is sure.
I wish you’d turn in Ministry of Healing, to pg. 511 again (The Wisdom of the Great Physician, pg.169, par. 2). We’ve noticed this before:
Cultivate the habit of [What?] talking with the Saviour when you are alone, when you are walking, and when you are busy with your daily labor. – Ministry of Healing, pgs. 510-511
Suppose that you were walking in your neighborhood, and suppose you are all alone. Just as you get part way on your walk, Someone joins you, and you recognize Him as Jesus. Wouldn’t that be a thrill? Would you say something? I imagine you would. But tell me something else; somewhere along the way before long, would you stop talking and start listening? Would you? Cultivate this habit when you’re walking, and also when you’re on your knees in prayer.
More or less, we are familiar with public prayer in church and family prayer around the family altar; and perhaps group prayer in a little prayer band. And usually in those prayer experiences, the individual who is praying begins. He addresses the Lord, and carries right on through for a moment or two and concludes the prayer, and that’s it. Then, we get up from our knees. This is usually the way it ought to be in public prayer.
In contrast to all that, when we are praying alone with God, whether it be on our knees in the closet or out under a tree or walking by the way, we want to cultivate this habit of talking while He listens, and then listening while He talks. Thus, prayer can be to us a communion in which our thought is expressed to God, and His thought is expressed to us.
Now, one of the ways that that can be, and one of the important things in making this real is to take the Bible with us into the experience of secret prayer. There by your bed, or out under the tree, wherever it is that you’re alone with God, let God speak to you through this Book.
Do you remember that statement we had the very first lesson? Let’s see if we can pick it up again — Ministry of Healing, page 122, the 2nd paragraph (The Wisdom of the Great Physician, pg. 35, last paragraph). What are the Scriptures? What does it say?
The Scriptures are to be received as God’s word to us, not written merely, but [What?] spoken. – Ministry of Healing, pg. 122
In the Bible, God is not merely writing to me. He is what? — Speaking to me. Only the Holy Spirit can take these words penned 2,000 years ago and make them come alive in my life, today.
How do we know what to read at a certain time? God has many ways of leading different individuals, and He has different ways of leading the same individual at different times. Let me illustrate it. There are some people that get a great blessing out of reading the Bible through, and they know already what they’re going to read tomorrow morning, for they know where they left off today. This is good.
Now, that may fit your personality, or you may not know what you’re going to read tomorrow morning (until you wait to see where the Lord leads you in your study). Some people would say that’s haphazard; it might be for some people. But the dear Lord has a blessing for you, either way.
Let me give you another illustration. Turn over to 1 Thessalonians 1. I got a wonderful blessing from this verse that however much I may have read it before, it never spoke to me until when I read it recently. Oh, what a blessing God gave to me in this verse:
For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance… – 1 Thessalonians 1:5
And as these words speak to you, as Christ used them from the page to reach my heart, you can respond, “Oh, Lord, make that so in our class today.” Our gospel is to be not in word only, but in power, in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. Another translation says ‘certainty’. I’m so glad for that.
Whether you eat apples, or oranges, or bananas, or peaches, or pears, or prunes, or dates, or raisins, or figs, you know you’re going to get something good; and it will fill your bloodstream with glucose to give you the energy to do your work. Right?
To us, each day can be a fresh adventure with Jesus.
Until next week – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
Your only safety and happiness are in making Christ your constant Counselor. In communion with Him, He will become just that. Learn how to enter into this experience, without delay >> Learn More
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.