Read I Samuel 3 and Revelation 2
“Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.” I Samuel 3:9
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says. Revelation 2:29
That may have been the first verse I leaned as a Sunday school child. It is such a good verse to know and to understand. In the Hebrew, the word for hear includes the idea that when one hears, one will obey.
(I’m sure it is annoying to some of you who may be reading this blog for me to be perpetually explaining what the Hebrew or Greek words actually mean—as if I am an expert in languages. But as a young man when I first began to read the Bible seriously, I found great help in using commentaries. The best help I received from these commentaries was the explanations of the words in their original language. We are blessed to have so many good English translations. But there is a fullness of meaning in the Scriptures that I’ve found can more fully appreciated by knowing the culture and language of the audience for whom the Scriptures were first written.)
“Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth,” is such a good introductory verse for a young child. Small children are great sponges of information. With each new sensation and each new situation, they are able to learn so much. Only the brain of a small child can truly learn a language. The Lord Jesus said that unless you come as a small child, you cannot enter the kingdom of God. That’s because a relationship that comes through trust, is one a child can quickly and easily form. And that type of trust relationship is absolutely essential, for without it one cannot receive eternal life.
Yet only as a young child receives the proper nurture and discipline, does the child learn that when he hears an instruction, he needs to obey it. If a child will not obey when he hears, he is in a dangerous situation. An easy example: If a parent yells at a child to get out of the street, that child could be hit by a car if he does not hear and obey. A more complicated example: If a parent tells his child to say thank-you, if the child does not hear and then obey, he will become self-centered and unhappy.
Initially, the boy Samuel did not know who was calling his name. He only knew that the one calling his name, spoke with authority; and he immediately responded by running to the authority he knew, Eli the priest. Eli told him the one calling his name was God and the next time he heard his name called, he needed to respond, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant hears” with the word ‘hears’ meaning he would also obey. A well taught child understands this. When he hears his mother, he knows he is to obey his mother.
Would that we were all like little children in this regard.
I love to read the Scriptures and I love figuring out what the Scriptures are saying. But if my love of hearing the Scriptures is not followed by a love to obey the Scriptures, then something is wrong. I need to relearn what I once understood as a child.
Obedience is an ongoing process for the Believer. Paul tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, through prayer and supplication, make your requests known unto God.” Phil 4:6 To not be anxious can be very difficult, but when I “hear” that verse, it gives me great encouragement and thus the hearing helps me to obey it.