God’s megaphone

This morning I have been considering some aspects of listening to God, in preparation for Sunday morning at CBC. One of the passages I have considered, and will probably mention on Sunday, is that of Samuel’s call.

The narrative is lovely – of a naive young boy who hears God speaking in the night but doesn’t realise it’s God so keeps going to the priest, Eli, and asking him what he wants. It’s almost comedic… until Eli twigs what’s happening and tells Samuel to say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening,” and God gives Samuel a painfully difficult message to give to Eli.

But the context of this passage is all important. The last words of the book of Judges are that Israel had no king and “everyone did as they saw fit.” The words that open 1 Samuel 3 are that “in those days the word of the Lord was rare.”

Methinks to two are linked inextricably. I suspect that it was not that God had stopped speaking that ‘the word of the Lord was rare’ but that people had stopped listening. They had got out of practice, they had forgotten what he sounded like, and if they were honest they didn’t want to hear anyway. People couldn’t hear God because they were ignoring him and pursuing their own priorities. People didn’t hear God calling them back because they were a long way away and didn’t want to listen anyway. There’s a cycle of inevitable decline built in to this – you are drifting away from God so you don’t hear him so clearly so you drift further away so you don’t hear him so clearly…

God breaks in to this cycle of desperate decline through a child and delivers a message that brings people up short and back to their knees. It needn’t be through a child. He has a universal megaphone through which he speaks – and it manifests itself as other people, emotions and feelings, bible verses, imagination, ideas, and an incredible number of other ways… even (dare I say it) through blogs!

Be blessed, be a blessing

The stressed housewife sprang to the telephone when it rang and listened with relief to the kindly voice in her ear. “How are you, darling?” she said. “What kind of a day are you having?”

“Oh, mother,” said the housewife, breaking into bitter tears, “I’ve had such a bad day. The baby won’t eat and the washing machine broke down. I haven’t had a chance to go shopping, and besides, I’ve just sprained my ankle and I have to hobble around. On top of that, the house is a mess and I’m supposed to have two couples to dinner tonight.”

The mother was shocked and was at once all sympathy. “Oh, darling,” she said, “sit down, relax, and close your eyes. I’ll be over in half an hour. I’ll do your shopping, clean up the house, and cook your dinner for you. I’ll feed the baby and I’ll call a repairman I know who’ll be at your house to fix the washing machine promptly. Now stop crying. I’ll do everything. In fact, I’ll even call George at the office and tell him he ought to come home and help out for once.”

“George?” said the housewife. “Who’s George?”

“Why, George! Your husband!….Is this 2231374?

“No, this is 2231375.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I guess I have the wrong number.”
There was a short pause and the housewife said, “Does this mean you’re not coming over?”

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