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Is that You, LORD?
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Is that You, LORD?

1.      Have you ever asked, “Is that you LORD?”  How do you know when God is speaking?

2.      What factors help you distinguish the voice of the Lord from other voices?  What does He sound like?  How do you know it’s not just your own thoughts?

Read the story below.  Note how Hannah seeks the LORD through prayer.  1Samuel 1:1-28 (Abbreviated)

There was a man from the hill country of Ephraim named Elkanah.  He had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah.  Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.  Elkanah went annually to Shiloh to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD.  And the two sons of Eli, were priests to the LORD there.  When Elkanah sacrificed, he gave portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters, but to Hannah he gave a double portion, for he loved Hannah, even though she was barren.  Peninnah provoked her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb.  Year after year, Peninnah would provoked Hanah to tears and she would not eat.  Elkanah asked her, "Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad?  Am I not better to you than ten sons?"  So after dinner, Hannah went to the Tabernacle in Shiloh.  Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the door.  Hannah was greatly distressed saying her prayers, and wept bitterly.  She made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your servant and remember me, and not forget Your servant, but will give me a son, then I will give him back to You all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head."  As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli was watching her.  As Hannah spoke her prayers in her heart, her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard.  So Eli thought she was drunk.  So he said to her, "Why do you come in here drunk?  Go away and come back when you are sober."  Hannah replied, "No, my lord, I am oppressed in spirit, I am not drunk, and I have poured out my soul before the LORD."  Then Eli said, "Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant the petition that you have asked of Him."  Hannah felt better and went back to her family uplifted in spirit.  Then they arose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned again to their house in Ramah.

Elkanah slept with Hannah, and the LORD remembered her, and she conceived and gave birth to a son.  She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked him of the LORD."  Hannah did not go again to Shiloh until Samuel was weaned.  She said, "I will bring him to the LORD after he is weaned and let him stay there forever."  Her husband told to do what she thought was best.  When Hannah had weaned him, she took him up with her along with her sacrifice, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh.  She brought the boy to Eli.  She said, "I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD.  It was for this boy I prayed, and the LORD answered my prayer.  So, as I promised, I have dedicated him to the LORD for as long as he lives."  And he worshiped the LORD there.

4. Correlate Jesus’ words in John 10:25-27.  Why is it essential to hear His voice?

Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me.  But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."

5. Read the story of Samuel, the first time he hears the voice of the LORD.  Notice his child-like faith and willingness to serve and obey.  1 Samuel 3:1-18 (Abbreviated)

Now Samuel was just a boy ministering to the LORD and serving Eli.  Word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.  But one night as Eli was lying down in his bed, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was, the LORD called Samuel.  Samuel said, "Here I am."  And he ran to Eli thinking he had called him and said, "Here I am."  But Eli said, "I did not call, go lie down."  So he did.  Then the LORD called again, "Samuel!"  So once again Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am." But he answered, "I did not call, my son, go back to bed."  Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had he understood the word of the LORD.  So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me."  Finally, Eli discerned that it was the LORD calling him.  "Go lie down, Samuel.  It must be the LORD who is speaking to you.  If He calls you again, say, 'Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.'"  So Samuel went back to his bed and as before, the LORD called to him again, "Samuel! Samuel!"  And Samuel replied, "Speak, for Your servant is listening."   The LORD said to Samuel, "Behold, I am about to do something in Israel and everyone who hears of it will have their ears tingle.  I am about to carry out the judgment against Eli that I spoke concerning his house; for the iniquity of his sons has brought a curse on them and Eli did not rebuke them.  Therefore I swore that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever."  After the LORD had spoken, Samuel lay down until morning, unable to sleep.  When Eli opened the doors of the house of the LORD, Samuel was afraid to tell him the vision.  But Eli asked, "Samuel, What is the word that He spoke to you?  Please do not hide it from me."  So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing.  After he had told him, Eli said, "It is the LORD; may His word be established."

1.      What would you list as essential requirements for hearing God?

2.      Check out Romans 12:1-5.  Notice how the “will of God” is discerned.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.   For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.   For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

1.      What is the place of humility when it comes to understanding the will of God?

2.      We may be expecting a voice speaking to us when His word may come to us in much more subtle ways.  In yet another passage (often overlooked) Paul tells us exactly what the will of God is.  Ephesians 5:15-21.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.