Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Speak, Lord, for Your Servant is Listening" Youth Bible Study on the calling of Samuel

Brief: We need to be listening for God to speak to us and share what we learn from Him.

(Printable Student Sheet)

Intro Question
When you want to talk to someone, do you just start talking to them, or do you have to do something else first?

You usually have to get someone’s attention before you just start talking to them. Maybe you walk up to them, or you establish eye contact, or you say their name, etc.

Once you have their attention, then you know they’re ready to listen to you, and you can talk to them.

Have any of you ever had God talk to you? What was it like? What did He do to get your attention? (Discuss times when God has clearly spoken to you and what He did to get your attention first.)

Our Bible passage today is about a young man who heard God talking to him.

Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:1-21

1 Samuel 3:1-14: The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.

One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if He calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”

11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

God has a message He wants to tell Samuel – about the punishment He is about to bring on Eli the priest for letting his sons sin against God – but does God simply start telling Samuel the message?

No, God calls Samuel’s name and waits for Samuel to say, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.” God wants to know that He has Samuel’s attention before He starts talking.

You know, God wants to speak to us too. Each one of us. But He’s waiting to know that we’re paying attention first. He’s waiting for us to say, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.”

What do you think are some ways that we can tell God we’re ready to hear Him speaking to us?

You can do it by prayer. Every morning, when you wake up, you can simply say a prayer and say, “God, whatever You want to tell me, whatever You want to teach me today, I’m listening.”

You can do it by reading your Bible. When you sit down and open your Bible, you’re telling God that you’re ready for Him to speak to you and to show you something in His Word.

You can do it by coming to church or youth group or listening to other Christians talk about God. When you listen to people teaching about God, you’re telling God that you’re ready to listen and to learn.

If we want God to talk to us, we need to live a life and have an attitude that says, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.”

But did Samuel know that it was God trying to get his attention at first?

No, he thought it was Eli calling him. Verse 7 says that Samuel didn’t know God yet. Eli had to teach him how to listen to God. But after Samuel finally tells God he’s listening, and he hears God talking to him this first time, do you think Samuel will be confused the next time God tries to talk to Him?

Probably not. My guess is that the next time God tries to talk to Samuel, Samuel will remember this time and be ready to listen to God’s message right away.

That’s kind of like us. It might be difficult for us to hear God speaking to us right now, but if we get in the habit of listening for God – if we get in the habit of praying and reading our Bibles and listening to other Christians talk and teach us – then it will become easier and easier for us to know and hear when God is speaking to us. We’ll get used to it and will be ready for it when it happens.

1 Samuel 3:15-18: Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.”

Samuel answered, “Here I am.”

17 “What was it He said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything He told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let Him do what is good in His eyes.”

Did Samuel want to tell Eli what God said to him? (No.)

Why not? (Because the message God gave him was against Eli.)

But Eli made Samuel tell him the message anyway. Do you think God wanted Samuel to tell Eli the message? (Yes.)

The things that God tells us and teaches us are never just for us. God teaches us things so that we can learn but also so that we can teach other people.

Can you imagine if a pastor learned all kinds of things about God and the Bible but never told anyone else what they had learned? That would be silly.

That’s because when we learn things about God, we’re supposed to help other people learn the same things.

When you learn something about God, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell other people so that they can learn it too.

1 Samuel 3:19-21: The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed Himself to Samuel through His word.

So, the two points for today are: Listen for God speaking to you. Tell Him you’re ready to hear and to learn. Get in the habit of listening to God. Then, when God teaches you something, tell other people so that they can learn it too.

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