I Samuel 3:10 NKJV
Ezekiel 3:10 NKJV
I Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV
When I was 19 years old I met an older man who told me things about myself that no one but God knew. He looked me straight in the eyes and told me what God had planned for me. Much of what he said about my relationship with God was unknown to me at the time. His words were very uplifting and encouraging.
The man’s name was Charlie. Later I was told when he was young he had to quit school to go to work after he finished the eighth grade. He had been a laborer all his life.
I knew that wasn’t his real job. He was a prophet.
He was Ezekiel, John the Baptist, Jeremiah.
Every time I went to church I looked for Charlie and he encouraged me with new words from God.
About a year after I met Charlie I married and i lived 45 minutes away. I was working for the Frisco Railroad at the time and I worked weekends. I only saw him a few more times before he went to heaven. Today, nearly 50 years later I don’t remember what he said but I do remember how it felt.
I knew God gave Charlie the words he spoke to me. I remember thinking, “I want to be like Charlie when I grow up.” I remember thinking I wanted more of what he said. I remember asking God to speak to me in much the same way He spoke to Charlie.
I started reading about the Prophets and listening ever so closely as I read. Up to that point God spoke to me primarily through dreams and visions. I wanted more. I wanted to be able to encourage others with God’s words.
In I Samuel 3 the boy Samuel heard his name being called several times as he lay quietly in bed. Three times he heard his name called and each time he heard it he got up and went to Eli the Priest to ask what he wanted. After three times, Eli knew God was calling Samuel so he instructed him to speak to God and listen. In I Samuel 3:10 we read, “Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”
Samuel was a prophet and a judge in Israel for over 40 years. It was Samuel who anointed Saul to be King of Israel. In I Samuel 16, Samuel went to the house of Jesse to find David the Shepherd boy to anoint him as the next King of Israel.
The boy Samuel heard God and the man Samuel served God well.
The Prophet and Priest Ezekiel was in exile by the Kebar River when the account of Ezekiel opens. In Ezekiel 1:4-6 we learn:
“I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human, but each of them had four faces and four wings.”
God spoke to Ezekiel in pictures, or in today’s vernacular, movies. While the above ‘clip’ from the message Ezekiel saw is just the beginning, we begin to see how God spoke to this prophet. We need to know that each part of Ezekiel’s dream/vision had symbolic meaning. The account of the dream/vision continues through Ezekiel Chapters 1-3.
In Ezekiel 3:10, God said, “Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears.” While the vision Ezekiel saw was detailed and had great purpose for Israel, Ezekiel may not have known at the time he had the dream/vision the exact purpose this message would serve.
Regardless of the meaning and the timing, God wanted Ezekiel to know he needed to take the message ‘to heart’. God wanted Ezekiel to HEAR.
So, here’s the deal with God. Everyone who is a believer is given Spiritual Gifts. most people I know seem to have a primary gift and other gifts to help them along their journey with God. One gift is not more important than another gift. God uses all Spiritual Gifts to build up the body of Christ. If you have the gift of Service, you serve and God speaks to you, urging you to serve. You may not verbally hear God say, “Go serve Jerry some tea,” but you just know to take Jerry tea.
Hearing God isn’t done in the same way for every person. My mother has the gift of service and she just knows what to do when someone needs something.
The point is, HEAR in the way God speaks to you.
Do not try to be like your neighbor. BE who God made you to be.
Be thankful for HOW you hear. Receive it as truth.
We read in I Thessalonians 2:13, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”
And about the words from Charlie...while I don’t remember the words he spoke to me nearly 50 years ago, I do remember being puzzled that he spoke about my calling to ministry. As I saw it at the time, the man I was dating was the one who was called to ministry. Looking back, I now realize that Charlie saw the whole picture of my life. He saw what God had planned. I think he saw that for a time I would be a Pastor’s wife, but even after that God had other plans for me. That was the truth.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Receive Truth
Think about your Spiritual Gifts. What are you drawn to do? How does God speak to you? Receive it as truth. Believe and Receive. Receive and Believe.
In God, Deborah