God Speaks (Are We Listening?)
We don*t have any problem listening to someone that we find interesting. Neither do we have any problem listening about things we are interested in. If we find God as interesting as He truly is we ought to hang on His every word. People who do not find God interesting do not know Him. People who do not find the things God talks about interesting do not know Him. The better we know Him, the more interesting He becomes to us. God is The Most Interesting Person there is. That is an understatement. If we don*t find God interesting we are dysfunctional. All of us are dysfunctional some of the time. Unbelievers are dysfunctional all of the time.
Jeremiah 33:3: Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
The greatest and mightiest thing God can possibly show us is Himself. He Himself is the greatest miracle. Everything else is trivial. If we can believe the miracle that God is we can believe any of the miracles He has performed. The most colossal things we can imagine are tiny compared with God Himself. The Seven Wonders of the world do not compare with Him. The whole world is but a tiny fraction of His creation. The vast universe does not measure up to Him.
Psalms 86:10: For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.
One of the reasons we find many people to be boring is that so many of them are so self-interested. The people we find most interesting are those who really listen to us. They really are interested in what we have to say. They really are unselfish. God really listens. God really is interested. God really is unselfish.
God says knowing Him is eternal life. Paul said knowing Christ was the desire of his heart.
John 17:3: And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Philippians 3:10: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
We find it a waste of time to speak to people who do not listen to us. Eventually we are likely to stop speaking to them because it is like talking to a wall. If we are not hearing from God the problem is with us. If we are not hearing from God it is a problem for us. He won*t waste time talking to a wall either.
We hesitate to talk to people who can*t or won*t cooperate with us. Why should God communicate with those who won*t cooperate with Him? We find it useless to communicate with those who are polarized against us. Why should God communicate with people who are polarized against Him? God knows perfectly well who will listen to Him. Why should He waste his breath on those who won*t? If we are Christians our openness to God is supposed to grow. That is supposed to be the normal thing. Physically, if we are not growing we are either dead or desperately sick. There are too many desperately sick (spiritually) Christians. Peter*s wonderful advice is to grow in your knowledge of Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
God speaks the right thing at the right time to the right person. The truth is that God speaks the perfect thing at the perfect time to the right person. He is the perfect God. Everything He does is perfect. Everything He says is perfect.
Deuteronomy 32:4: He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
2 Samuel 22:31: As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
Psalms 95:7-8: For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
Hebrews 3:7-10: Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
Hebrews 3:15: While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
Hebrews 4:7: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
When we give God the not listening treatment and the not obeying treatment we deserve His silent treatment. We are in a desperate plight when we get God*s silent treatment. We need Him. And we need to hear from Him. He does not need us. He is still God when we don*t respond to Him. Without Him we are nothing. Without us He is still everything.
Some of the saddest occasions in the Bible are when God stopped communicating with someone. Read the desperation and fear in what Cain said after he killed his brother Abel and refused to hear and obey God:
Genesis 4:13-14: And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
God had spoken to Saul through Samuel. Saul didn*t have a right relationship with the Lord on his own and he even disobeyed what God told him through Samuel. It seems to me that when Samuel died God took away Saul*s one channel to hear from God. Read about Saul after he had disobeyed God and after Samuel died:
1 Samuel 28:5-6: And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.
There is a stern warning given to mankind of the consequences of ignoring and disobeying God suffered by Esau. Esau repeatedly and totally ignored God until it was too late.
Hebrews 12:15: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
When people no longer hear from God they hear dreadful things.
Job 15:20-25: The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor. A dreadful sound is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him. He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword. He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand. Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle. For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty.
Genesis 6:3a: And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: . . .
Hebrews 12:25: See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
Sometimes we don*t understand God completely but it*s ok. Sometimes it is best that we don*t understand everything. God speaks to us on a need-to-know basis. He teaches us on a need-to-understand basis. When we listen and obey He takes us to the next step, the next opportunity to listen and obey and be blessed. Our assignment is not necessarily to understand everything He says. Our assignment is to trust Him. A child doesn*t always understand what a parent says or why. The ideal is for the child to trust what the parent says. The ideal is for the child to know that the parent knows best. The ideal is for the child to know that the parent has his (the child*s) best interest at heart. When we don*t understand something God knows the difference between that and disobedience.
1 Corinthians 13:12: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
No harm is done by our lack of understanding but great harm is done by our lack of faith. God accepts and overrules our lack of understanding. He even helps us to pray properly when we don*t know what to pray.
Romans 8:26: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Often we don*t know what God is doing. Often He shows us what He has done after the fact.
John 13:7: Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
1 John 3:2: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
We are limited beings. We aren*t even totally able to understand how God gives us peace. But we can still enjoy that peace.
Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I don*t know why some things taste good to me and others do not. I just enjoy the things that taste good and avoid the things that don*t. We never know how good God is until we take a taste. We never know how good it is to obey Him until we taste that. We never know how good it is to listen to Him until we try it.
Psalms 34:8: O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
The Bible tells us to do whatever we do whole-heartedly. It seems to me that one thing that we don*t always do whole-heartedly is listen to God. That is a tragic mistake.
Ecclesiastes 9:10: Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Colossians 3:23: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Care to discuss God Speaks (Are We Listening?) with Ron?