Are You Listening? Deuteronomy 30:8-17
It was a Wednesday night, and there I was fumbling through my Bible as the worship team was leading about 20 of us in some really nice songs. I was about to share with our church youth group on "Hearing God". My note book had two pages of notes, but still there was something missing. Where was that verse at? " His thoughts are higher than our thoughts...." This verse and several others came to mind, as I struggled to be better prepared to share. Having enough material to talk for 30 minutes was not the question. The few times that I know that my thoughts were the voice of God in my head and the circumstances proved it were clearly noted down.
Conveying what was really on my heart, and being able to concord with God-s particular intent to communicate with this varied group was really my need. You see, I have been a poor listener over the years. With my parents, with employers and teachers. Hearing and understanding what is being said is one thing. Doing and obeying is the second part that fulfills the purpose of having ears in the first place.
So finally the moment came to get up and start speaking. Thank God for angels. I have never really met or seen the spiritual kind, but many of the human kind have helped me very much. A brother had sat down by me and quickly offered from memory the verse in Isaiah 55, about God's thoughts and ways. I was less nervous than ever, yet, as normal, not knowing just which way this message was going to go. Sharing in my own church with out my family felt odd. No one asked, "Where is Marianne?" She and one of our daughters were working. One son was talking his GED test and our youngest boy was in an college class. I talked a lot about God, and came up with a few good illustrations. Never have I felt so un-accomplished. As I spoke we covered the subject Inductively, especially the pitfalls and the basic ways that God speaks to us. Many folks said "Way to go" like I just finished a good ball game. But the Scripture declares, " what sorrow awaits you when all men speak well of you" NLT I know that great teaching alone is not enough. The real need is to connect with these young adults and disciple them. They will be the church of the next generation. I thank God for our Pastors, Ray and Julie, who are the coaches of a great ministry team to the youth. They broke into small groups to discuss this area of life and pray together. Meanwhile I was able to connect with a new visitor, one of my grey haired age.
What would you do if you were standing on the tracks and you heard a train coming? Any of us would say we would jump off or run away from the tracks. But, how many of us linger, or test the Lord, just to see the train first, or how many of us rub against the fence of boundaries that he has laid out for us in life? Other times we deceive ourselves into believing that God's outline for us is too hard to understand or not even attainable. Here is what the Lord spoke to the nation of Isreal about listening to Him:
"And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers: If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; " Dueteronomy 30: 8-17
I know that my Father had not worked this area in my own life as much as he desires. I left that meeting with more need to draw closer to him and be listening like I should. A strong desire has been growing to really let Jesus have his say in every area of my life.There are so many other voices are playing in my mind. The radio, the TV, the Klove loop, ect... Marianne shared with me the other night that the things that people have said over the years have echoed in here mind from time to time. There are accusations and criticisms from loved ones that have stuck on her for years. Jesus said," The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63b Are my words bringing life to others?
Jesus memorized scripture and quoted it. He used it to resist temptation, and it used it to reason with skeptics. He taught "new doctrine" that was always based on the intents that were already written. He pointed out that the purpose in studying was to know him personally.1 Christianity is not a performance based religion. Its about relationship. Redemption is not achieved, especially in our acquiring knowledge about God. Any vital relationship requires two way communication. We work out our salvation2, but "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints"3 is not a self improvement program, it's a gifted relationship. A friendship with Thee Almighty results in a godly, reverent, love and joy filled life.
Our Father has sent Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth. He will not speak on his own and lead us astray one degree from God's perfect will.4 May we hear that still small voice saying "This is the way, walk ye in it" 5 May we be listening when our Elders or parents say "I really don't think that is the best thing for you." If we are followers of Jesus, we will hear his voice.6 Whether it be spoken through Elders, angels, or the written word jumping off the page. Just keep reading and be familiar with things Jesus said, like "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life John 5:24 NKJV Then when real life events or relationship issues come up, we can know when our thoughts are His thoughts. Our Father's heart desire for us is that our choices will cause our ways to become his ways for our own good and for His glory. G.W.
1See John 5:39
2See Philippians 2: 12,13
4See John 16:13
5See Isaiah 30:20,21