Out of the Silence God Speaks

  • February 19, 2017
  • Pastor Brian Walker
  • Longing for a Leader

The opening verse of 1 Samuel 3 gives us a haunting reminder of how bleak things were in Israel when young Samuel began serving in the tabernacle. We’re told that “the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.” In response to Israel’s idolatry and religious corruption, the Lord withheld his word as a sign of judgement. Prophetic visions had become very infrequent.

In reading this sober account, we should ask ourselves if the same could be said about the church. Can we say that the word of the Lord has become rare among us? There is no easy answer to this question. On the one hand, we have God’s Word preserved in Scripture. Whenever we pick up God’s Word and read, He speaks to us directly. We live in a country where there is no shortage of Bibles, so in that sense the ​w​ord of the Lord is readily available.

However, I believe there are four ways in which the ​w​ord of the Lord can become rare even in our context.

  1. Many churches no longer preach the whole counsel of God’s Word, choosing to focus only on certain aspects of Scripture’s message or using the Bible to support their own thoughts and ideas.
  2. Even when God’s Word is faithfully preached, we can make it rare in our hearts if we do not receive it with faith. Many people sit under the preaching of God’s Word for years with stone-cold hearts that refuse to accept the Bible as the voice of God in their lives.
  3. There are those who sincerely accept the Bible as God’s Word, and are eager to study the doctrinal truths of Scripture, but are apathetic in applying the Bible to their lives. They miss the fact that the Bible’s own definition of receiving God’s
    ​W​ord, is to respond to it with faith and obedience (James 1:22-24).
  4. Lastly, when Christians shrink back from speaking well and often of Christ in public, then the
    ​w​ord of the Lord can become rare in the community in which they live. If the church doesn’t take the Gospel to the outside world, who will?

At LMCC we hold a very high view of Scripture, and we proclaim it as God’s authoritative Word. We encourage everyone to study God’s Word diligently. But we must always remember that it is possible to know the Bible and still not truly hear God speaking in it. If we do not allow it to examine our hearts and minds, expose our idolatry, reshape our motives, lead us to worship, and put us on mission in our community, then we make the Word of the Lord (as it is intended to function) rare in the church and the world.

Samuel’s call was about restoring not just the content but the power of God’s Word in Israel. Our need for renewal is no different. We need to know more than the content of God’s Word. We need to know its transforming power in our lives.