19 October 2017
When the prophet Samuel was only a small child his mother dedicated Him to the Lord. Samuel became a child priest working in the Lord’s temple under the High Priest Eli. One night Samuel heard a voice call out to him “Samuel!”. Thinking it was Eli, Samuel went to his bedside and said “Here I am!” Eli let Samuel know it was not him who had called. Three times this happened and finally Eli gave Samuel this advice. “Go lie down, and if the voice calls out to you, respond by saying “Speak Lord, for I am listening”.” Not long after Samuel went back to bed, this is exactly what happened. The Bible tells us that the Lord came and stood in Samuel’s room and called out to him. Young Samuel responded with “Speak Lord, for I am listening…” Following this, the Lord spoke directly to Samuel, and this continued throughout his life as he became the first Prophet of Israel. What can we learn from this story? As parents, dedicating our children to God is a powerful thing. God honours us when we honour him. When we dedicate our children to the Lord, we acknowledge that we want them entirely in His hands and under His banner of love and grace. Teaching our kids to hear from God and to discern His voice is so important. With all the voices vying for our kids’ hearts and minds, the voice of God often gets drowned out. ‘Go lie down…’ teaches our kids to make themselves available to God by being quiet and still - turning off technology and sitting in His presence, reading the Bible or a Christian book, taking time in the sunshine or under the stars, listening to worship music, praying, attending church or youth group. These are just a few ways we can encourage our kids to make themselves available to God. “Speak Lord…” teaches our kids to invite God’s voice, to help them understand if they ask God to speak to them, He will. He speaks in a variety of ways and through many different mediums, and He will speak if they take time to listen. This is such a powerful truth for our kids to understand. Once our kids begin to experience hearing God’s voice, they will move from what they have heard about God to what they are hearing from God - through his Word, His nature, His music, His servants. “I am listening…” teaches our kids to humbly submit to God and respond, which is life changing. Being humble before God and hearing His voice will change everything because God speaks love, grace, forgiveness, acceptance, wisdom and salvation over us. These are all principles we want to see lived out in the hearts and lives of our children. My challenge for all of us is to live these principles out ourselves. We cannot expect our children to go somewhere we are not going. If our kids know we are hearing from God, see us taking time out with Him, know that we are submitting to His leading in our lives they will follow suit. We are their example as parents, as teachers, as pastors, as friends! Speak Lord … are you listening?