|Two ears sometimes doesn't seem|
enough anymore to HEAR all that's
going on in our world!
This world has certainly gotten very noisy hasn't it? Radio brought conversations and entertainment into our worlds without people needing to actually be present. After that television brought the whole world into our homes. With all the newest technology, we're being "talked to" even when no one is opening their mouth! Through text and email and social media status updates, it seems everyone has a voice and is trying to make it heard regularly and loudly. It all competes fiercely for our attention.
Does God have a voice? In all the noise you are listening to are you giving an ear to hear the Creator talk to you? I don't mean through someone else or even something else. I am asking if you are listening for God Almighty's voice?
God speaks to us regularly. Take a look in the Bible. There He is, talking, talking, TALKING! And then He tells us clearly that He is the SAME yesterday, today and forever. He does not change. Therefore, He has not stopped talking to His people. The competition for attention has certainly intensified, requiring laser focus on the vital question; Are we listening?
When the Prophet Elijah had carried out Gods instructions and was now sought by the King of Israel and his lovely bride Queen Jezebel so they could put him to death, he went off to a quiet place by himself where he could seek counsel from God. Read all of I Kings 19 for a full picture, for our purposes, I will summarize.
He sat under a juniper tree and began to pray. God heard and sent an Angel to minister to him. Then he made a request of the Lord, to hear what God would say.
I Kings 19: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a STILL SMALL VOICE.
That's God. So big, so powerful, so confident that He doesn't need to arrive in flashy style. He comes quietly, certainly, surely and speaks into our hearts answers to the situations and concerns of our lives. He still speaks to His people. When we quiet all the competing noises we'll hear Him. Psalm 46:10 BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.
What do YOU find the most difficult about LISTENING FOR THE LORDS VOICE?
For me, it's letting go of the fear I'll miss something happening in "my world" and staying in that still place long enough to hear the only voice I truly need to listen to.
In our Fellowship Gathering this past week, we explored the difficulty many of us struggle with in being obedient to the simple and straight forward things God has told us to do. We agreed that His commands were actually very beneficial to us and that obeying them ALWAYS turned out for our good! We talked about several situations where people in the examples shown in the Bible had their excuses for NOT obeying and the end results, which were never preferable to Gods intended results.
After reviewing all the reasons and excuses, we realized that however you choose to word it, it all really came down to one word. One word adequately describes every excuse and reasoning for failing to obey in spite of recognizing the benefit to ourselves to do so.
Of the 5 stories we examined closely, the best example, we felt, was found in the story of Naaman. Let's take a look together at II Kings 5: 1-14
1 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valor, but he was a leper.
2 And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife.
3 And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.
4 And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.
5 And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.
7 And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man does send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeks a quarrel against me.
8 And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore have you rent your clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.
10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall come again to you, and you shall be clean.
11 But Naaman was angry, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
13 And his servants came near, and spoke unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, wouldn't you have done it? how much rather then, when he said to you, Wash, and be clean?
14 Then he went down, and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
Naaman thought he was quite a big deal, a very important man of some stature among the people. Needing healing, he was sure the Prophet would treat him a certain way and make a big spectacle of healing him. PRIDE almost cost him the healing. PRIDE would have kept him from obeying the simple command he'd been given, even though he knew that obeying it would benefit him!
We looked at the story in Galatians 2 when Peter, in fearful PRIDE stopped dining with the Gentiles because he didn't want his fellow Jews to think badly of him. We looked at Jonah who pridefully attempted to avoid God because he didn't think the Ninevites deserved to be forgiven and given a second chance! We looked at the fearful spies of Israel in Numbers 13 who in their foolish PRIDE decided they knew better than God what could and could not be done in a situation.
We agreed the BENEFITS far outweighed any reason for disobedience. A quick reading of Deuteronomy 28: 1-14 made clear that obedience to Gods commands carried a great deal of benefit and blessing.
What do YOU find the most difficult about obeying Gods commands?
Is it that you are uncertain of what they are? I would encourage you to set aside time in your daily routine to shut off the competing voices, quiet your own heart, get still before the Lord, and begin digesting the spiritual food that will truly benefit you in every single area of life. READ GODS WORD! Some will sink deep into your heart and begin to bring about change that will amaze you. Some will speak to you immediately of answers and solutions to situations you are facing. Some will wait quietly in the background until you have need of it, but ALL of it will benefit you in more ways than I can describe or I even know.
Read Psalm 46 in its entirety. You will be pleasantly surprised to discover.....
Beginning January 1, 2014 Turn the Tide Ministries begins at the beginning once more on a two year reading schedule that will walk you through the entire Bible. SUBSCRIBE RIGHT NOW so you receive the updates, schedules and Sunday Sermons delivered to your email inbox to read and savor at your convenience.
THEME FOR 2014: DO IT NOW!