Posted by Gary on March 1, 2008
Isaiah 66:2 “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”
It is our great privilege as Christians to be people with whom God has chosen speak.
That having been said I think we need to be honest, hearing from God is not always pleasant. When most say that they want to hear from God I fear that they mean that they want to hear from Him as long as He is going to say the things they want Him to: “You’re fine”, “They’re wrong”, “No, I would never ask you to make such a sacrifice”, “Of course I’ll heal you” are all things we are quite willing to hear from God.
I am reminded of this incident from the life of the people of Israel; they said they wanted to hear from God and asked Jeremiah to bring them God’s Word:
Jeremiah 42:2-6 “Please let our petition come before you, and pray for us to the Lord your God…that the Lord your God may tell us the way in which we should walk and the thing that we should do.” Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, ‘I have heard you. Behold, I am going to pray to the Lord your God in accordance with your words; and I will tell you the whole message which the Lord will answer you. I will not keep back a word from you.’ Then they said to Jeremiah, ‘May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with the whole message with which the Lord your God will send you to us. Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the Lord our God.’”
But guess what happened when Jeremiah brought the people God’s message?
Jeremiah 43:1-2 “But as soon as Jeremiah, whom the Lord their God had sent, had finished telling all the people all the words of the Lord their God…all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, ‘You are telling a lie! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You are not to enter Egypt to reside there.’”
Did the people want to hear from God? Only if God was going to tell them what they wanted to hear. May God save us from being this way.
When it comes to hearing from God there is something very important to keep in mind, His voice may come from anywhere at anytime, often through means we would least expect and this is on purpose.
When God speaks He sends with His Word a humility test, to see how willing we are to hear Him. He does this often by speaking to us through people, means and situations that we might if we are not careful reject out of pride.
God sent His people Moses who was slow of speech. It was said of Paul that “his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible” (2 Corinthians 10:10).
God rebuked Abraham for lying through a pagan king (Genesis 20:9), rebuked the prophet Balaam using a donkey (Numbers 22:30) and encouraged Elijah not through powerful demonstrations but a “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12).
God may bring us His truth through the frankness of a child or spouse. He may remind us of our duty through the appearing of the socially undesirable in our life. God may even reveal His will through a politician that you personally disagree with and disdain. Are you willing to hear God however it is He may choose to speak to you?
Last week I came into the adult Sunday School class that was already underway and realized a few moments after sitting down that our teacher was being moved upon by God and was exhorting us powerfully. I sat there thinking, “He is preaching to us.”
A number of things have gone through my mind both at that moment and since. I remember being humbled under what I was hearing for it was the truth of God. I remember being grateful that God would visit us powerfully.
I have to admit that I have wondered since if we are a people who are willing to have God speak to us whenever and however He chooses to? I wonder if instead of listening to God last Sunday some might have been thinking that preaching is for the pulpit and not Sunday School? I did not hear this, I just wonder.
There is much I do not know about the ways of God but I have come to learn this much, when God comes to visit a people He does so testing them. You will miss God’s voice if you are looking for it in ways that you expect or are willing to call acceptable.
It is a frightening thing that the Pharisees of Jesus’ day who claimed that they knew God, heard His voice and wanted to hear His voice had God standing right in front of them and rejected every word He said and ultimately crucified Him. Certainly this was proof that they had decided how, when and through whom God could speak to them.
If we want to share in any future blessing that God might have for us and the churches we attend I want to give us some counsel. Do not presume to tell God how, when or through whom He can speak to you. The moment I declare that there are ways that God may not speak to me, I am on the most dangerous ground possible.
Listen for His voice through children, your spouse and most importantly through those you would not think it possible for Him to speak to you through, God tests us.
The issue is not how the message comes to us, the issue is the message itself. Is what I am hearing true and in accord with God’s Word? If so I must humble myself and listen.
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