Nov 19 2014 Listening for the Voice of God
“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
I Samuel 3:9
How is God speaking to you?
A better question might be, “How are you listening to God?”
I believe God is always speaking to us, but do we hear Him? Are we listening for Him? I’m not talking about an audible voice, but that still, small but profound voice that reverberates through your heart and mind like thunder. The primary way that God speaks to us is through His Word- the Scriptures. But God also speaks through our circumstances as well as through others. And yet we can still remain “ever hearing but never understanding…” (Isaiah 6:9).
Our inability to hear God is deafened by many things: mental and physical distractions, the noise and busy-ness of this world, anxiety and stress, even stubbornness. However, it seems that the overarching issue in not being able to hear God speak is due to impatience. Impatience is not a disability or an inability, but an unwillingness to intentionally listen to God…to listen for God. We simply do not, or will not, slow down and worship Him through the reading and study of His Word, through taking time to listen, consider, perceive, comprehend, receive, and apply what we’ve heard God saying to us. We have become the statistic of our “instant” culture; wanting everything delivered in pictures that one can glance at in a flash, or 140-characters-or-less that can be re-tweeted or posted- mainly with the intent to impress or correct others, but with very little personal application to “me, myself, and I”.
The Hebrew word for “listen” or “hear” is shama (shaw-mah), which means, “to listen with the intent to obey and declare (or teach)” Deuteronomy 6:1-9 is known as The Shama… can you determine why? I have a framed calligraphy of the Shama hanging by my front door, a treasured wedding gift from a dear friend. Hearing from God through His Word is of the utmost importance to our Spiritual health and the development of our faith in, and relationship with, God. It’s vital to our very lives. Start listening intentionally by saying, as Samuel did, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Next week I’ll share some practical tips for helping you to be more intentional in your quiet time and enable you to “hear” from God. But for now I’m issuing you a challenge!
For the next 7 days I am challenging us to take a break from some of the other voices that are speaking and screaming at us in order to concentrate on God’s voice. What do I mean by this?
- Many of us are devoted readers of wonderful devotional books, blogs, and emails written by amzingly gifted, wise, and inspired men and women who communicate God’s Truth powerfully. We listen to them online or on podcast; we retweet their quotes and can even quote them ourselves. But their words, while inspirational and educational in communicating and teaching the truth (wait for it) are not God’s words. God wrote a Book; one Book (say that outloud to yourself right now). In His Book He tells us about Who He is and what He can do; He shows us who we are and what we are to do. God’s Book is His complete self-disclosure to us, and through it He speaks. Let the Word of God speak to you, girlfriend! Let’s become experts in His Word and in recognizing His sweet voice above all others. Let’s meditate and memorize His Word and so hide it deepliy in our hearts to the point that we don’t just quote the Truth, but that we’d bleed the Truth if we were cut open. Lets become fluent in the language of God. Let’s get His Truth trending in our hearts and in our minds; from our lips and through our lives. Let the Word and the words of God speak to you!
- Social Media is both a blessing and curse. My fear is that it is more the latter than the former. We’ve become, quite frankly, addicted. So, (you knew it was coming) for one week (7 days), fast from all forms of social media unless it is part of the work you do for your employer (but please practice self-control in that). Did this strike fear in your heart? Or relief? My first thought was, “How will I know what’s happened to the people I’m praying for?” So, because I know that many of us depend on SM for commuication and updates on the status of people we are praying for all over the world, I will extend “grace” to“check in” on SM one time during the day for a limited time period. I will let you use your better judgement and self-control to determine how long that time period is (wink). [And FYI, I am taking the challenge with you, but want to alert you that our ministry office auto tweets/posts things that frequently show up on my SM accounts]
So- for one week, take a break from your dialiy “devototional” readings, emails, commentaries, studies, etc. , dial down the podcasts, the radio, and the online sermons; bring your social media interaction to a screaching halt; and put away the teaching tapes and the TV preaching. One exception: Your church Pastor is your God-appointed “shepherd”; listen to him… and tune out every other voice.
Ready. Set. GO!
To encourage you, read Revelation 1 and tell me how many other voices you imagine the Apostle John was surrounded by on the island of Patmos? What was he doing and what happened next?
At the end of the 7-Day Challenge respond to the blog with what you discovered by eliminating the excess noise and distractions from your life. I want to hear from you!!
You are greatly and dearly loved by The King!