Listening to God’s Voice 101

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“But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.”

Matthew 13:16, ESV

There is a vast audio ocean that surrounds us.  Did you know that in the room where you are reading this, that there are cartoons, music, mysteries, and concerts going on? You just don’t see or hear them unless you have your radio or television tuned in to the right frequency. We live in the golden age of Bluetooth and cell phones. (Oh my!)

There is a frequency that we must lock into, where we can hear important things (or block-out confusing sounds.) God is so into ‘communicating.’  We understand He desires us to communicate with Him. He yearns for a dialogue with us,  just like He had once a long time ago in the early chapters of Genesis.

Knowing that I’ve been created in imago dei. I ponder the visible, which is a simple shadow of the real world. Mankind in general, creates and communicates–this is what we do–because it’s how God acts. In a certain sense, you might say we are miniaturized versions of Him. Afterall, we are in His image.

He is always speaking, but we’re not always listening.

The attribute of listening is amazingly profound.  Often, I listen to my local radio station while I’m driving in my car. When I drive away from the radio tower, the signal gets weaker and weaker. But if I turn the car around and drive back into town, the signal becomes stronger and I can hear it again.

In the same way, we stop hearing God when we drift away from Him. But if we will turn around and come back to Him, we’ll hear His voice again. The closer we are to God, the clearer we can hear Him. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

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Hear The Rod

Shepherd with his rod
Shepherd with his rod

“The LORD’s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.”   Micah 6:9, KJV

“The voice of the Lord calls to the city, and the wise person honors him.  So pay attention to the rod of punishment; pay attention to the One who threatens to punish.”  Micah 6:9, NCV

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There is necessary train of thought we all must board.  It involves traveling to a destination that we deep-down, absolutely abhor.  It is that idea that we are open and vulnerable, especially to his analysis of us–that we are more open than we think to His eyes.

We’ve entered into a spiritual transaction that doesn’t mollify our personal desires.  We are confronted by such a personal evil that just seems to percolate out of our hearts.  There exists something akin to “Pharaseeism,” where we project righteousness when we are really graves or tombs of the dead.

Micah announces that we must “hear the rod.”  Pay attention, become aware, understand deeply– there is a rod (a whip) that pounds everyone who comes to him.  Granted, the only thing necessary is to be aware that this difficult process exist.  We step up, and enter the grinder, with great fear, not really convinced of its efficiency and its capability.

There is no question of his deep and profound love for us.  He is fanatically absorbed in you.  There is a hungry passion for your attention and focus.  You are behind his shield.  You’re treasured far, far beyond what you think.  He sacrificed His own Son, to save your soul.

“Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.”  1 Cor. 15:23, ESV.

There is a mandatory factor that informs us that we cannot continue moving through life intoxicated.  Smashed on the wine of pride, stupefied on the brandy of selfishness.  We are called to sober up, and start living a truly terrific Christian life.  In Micah’s words– to listen!  Perhaps that is our greatest weakness in the Church today.  We have become deaf to the voice of God.

I guess that means we must make some adjustments.  To take up our Phillips screwdriver, and start ‘tweaking.’  We need to start the solid work of “tuning in” and becoming aware.  There is a rod, and the Father will use it on those who he loves.  A few whops from that rod will usually bring us to an awareness.

 

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Ears That Hear

Used during WWII to locate bombers over London
Used during WWII to locate bombers over London

It intrigues me as I think of how much we need each other. For most of my life, it seems the opposite was true. I thought I needed my independence, to be entirely self-reliant and to be bolder and more assertive.

But much of my struggle, through health and mental crisis’, through the death of a child, really has broken a strong back of this resolve. The question I hear now from the Lord; isn’t how strong are you– but rather, how weak are you?

“The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom,
    so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me
    and opens my understanding to his will.
The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me,
    and I have listened.
    I have not rebelled or turned away.”

Isaiah 50:4-5, NLT

“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples” is the NASB translation of verse 4. It is a serious mistake if we see ‘discipleship’ as a solitary endeavor. Instead, it is like the connective tissue that surrounds our muscles. The body needs to unite efforts, activities, ideas, and purposes through our combined discipleship.

Isaiah 50 advances this idea. The simple picture is of a person sleeping who is suddenly awake. Lying in bed, they start to listen. It’s not the birds singing. It is God speaking. And not only is there a gentle voice, but accompanying it is wisdom and grace to unleash what has been said. And that is an art that we must learn.

“The weary” are everywhere, but typically you share with just two or three. But the right words, at the right time, with a perfect wisdom can really rock. Lives can be turned with just a word.

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ybic, Bryan