The Bible shows us a story of a boy named Samuel who, "ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation." (1 Samuel 3:1) Although, there was no widespread revelation at the time, a wonderful thing happened, "The Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am." (1 Samuel 3:4) Though Samuel, according to the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, was about 11 years old at the time, and was not familiar with the voice of the Lord, he was directed by Eli as to how to respond, "Therefore Eli said to Samuel, Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, Samuel! Samuel, and Samuel answered, Speak, for Your servant hears." (1 Samuel 3:9-10)
Often the Lord calls to us, and like Samuel we are not always sure of His voice. This is not a bad thing, but the Lord wants us to hear Him speak and respond, so He can direct our path. (Proverbs 3:6)
Many believers look at Gods Word and see a scripture like, "My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words.
Don't lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for
they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body"
(Proverbs 4:20-22 NLT) and simply marvel at the promise(s) of God. However, let's begin to see Gods Word as facts. We see within God's Word a wonderful promise made concerning His very nature, will and character, "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Number 23:19)
Because God tells us this concerning Himself, it is very important that we look closely at His Word and get it into our hearts. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) Therefore, we conclude it is God's Word that not only creates and atmosphere of faith, but is what faith is to be built upon.
In Luke chapter five, we find one of numerous passages of scripture that paints a clear
picture of hearing the Word of God and responding to it as truth, reality, fact. In this passage of scripture, we find a leper who asks Jesus if He is willing to heal him.
Jesus said, "I am willing, be cleansed". (Luke 5:13) Here we see Gods willingness to
heal this man. As we continue on, we find an important key, "However,
the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great
multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their
infirmities." (Luke 5:15)
We see here in Luke 5:15, that a
multitude heard His report, believed and were healed. However, in Isaiah 53:1, John 12:38 and Romans 10:16 we see the same question presented, "Who has believed our report?" This very question becomes a reality concerning God 's
Word, later in Luke five, "Now it
happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees
and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of
Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. And
when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the
crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. When He saw their faith, He said to him, Man, your sins are forgiven you. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Luke 5:17-21)
Notice, "the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason." Reasoning is most likely the greatest enemy, the greatest hindrance to faith. The writer of Hebrews tells us concerning many Jews,
"For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but
the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with
faith in those who heard it." (Hebrews 4:2) A good example of this is found in Numbers chapters thirteen and fourteen where Moses reveals Gods promises to
Israel and they did not mix it with faith, that is, receive
the Word of God as fact and act upon it. Their unbelief caused a generation to die in the
wilderness. Israel did not believe the
promise that God gave to them concerning Canaan, the Promised Land, how He had given it to them and it would be a
place of rest for them in the same way, Christ is the ultimate promise
of rest, to those who believe in Him.
Today, when the Word of God is preached the same danger exists. If
believers who hear God's Word, do not let it penetrate deep into their
hearts to take root, unbelief becomes the end result, and believers become unfruitful. (John 15:1-11).
In the Parable of the Soils, revealed in Mark chapter four, Jesus shows us the three main reasons why people, including believers, will hear God's Word, not allow it to take root in their heart where faith grows, and act upon it, that is, bear fruit. The Parable reveals that God's Word is seed that must be planted in good soil, the heart. When this is accomplished over and over, receiving God's Word in a willing heart, it produces faith which yields a harvest. Jesus said, "But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” (Mark 4:20)
Going back to Samuel, we find that he heard the Lords voice and responded. In fact, Samuel was the last Judge of Israel, but moreover, one of the greatest prophets of all the prophets. So, let us be a people who spends time with the Lord, that is, reading, studying and meditating in and on His Word. As we do this more and more, we will come to know God in an intimate way thereby doing great things for Him in the name of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. "...but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." (Daniel 11:32)