July 22, 2013
Have you ever been sitting quietly in a room, maybe reading or concentrating on something, and turned to holler to someone in the next room, “Did you say something?” I have often done that, and the older I get, the more I think I might actually miss a call, request, or question from someone outside the door or in the next room, either at work, or home. How about when you close your eyes to rest, or retire for the night, and you begin to doze off, then suddenly get the distinct feeling that you have heard something audibly or have a sudden, strong impression on your consciousness? Or, perhaps you are sitting–listening to a song on the radio or a sermon in church–and a powerful concept invades your mind with such clarity that burdens your heart and quickens your breath, and just can’t wait to tell someone else?
All of those things have happened to me, and continue to happen. Yet, we live in such a busy world that we often miss the impressions and voices which move us to action. Recently while discussing the topic of listening to the voice of God, a friend said: “It’s funny how much the voice of God sounds like my wife!” Now that may be true–especially if your spouse is a prudent individual and challenged by your lack of engagement for doing the right things in life. But I’m thinking how we have such a need to respond to the Spirit of the Lord when He attempts to communicate with us, and impress upon our hearts and minds His desires for our lives.
The Scriptures are filled with examples where God spoke audibly to His people and desired an obedient response. It was the path to spiritual fruitfulness again and again in God’s plan. Today, His Word is complete; and although He is certainly capable of doing miracles, it isn’t his normal operation in this Dispensation of Grace to validate His messengers and message by signs and wonders (1 Corinthians 1:22, 23). But could it be that as God speaks to His followers through the quiet of reading His Word or listening to a worship song, that He still desires (or expects) the same obedient response? In other words, is it the voice of God which makes that impression on our hearts to do what is right and in accordance with Scripture? And, does He desire us to take submissive, obedient action even when we could rationalize it away? Clare De Graaf (author of “The 10 Second Rule” [which is now one of the top ten selling Christian books]) challenged Grace students, faculty, and staff in a chapel last spring when he stated, “Just do the next things you’re reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do.” How simple and yet life changing that is!
In Scripture we have tremendous examples of this “listening posture,” and it is coupled with a heart that is oriented towards obedience so that when God speaks, actions of obedience result because the heart and life are predisposed to follow God, not wallow in analysis of personal cost.
Noah is told to build a boat (which he’s never attempted before) for a rainfall (he’s never seen before) to float on body of water (that has never existed before)! Do you remember his response? That takes radical, raving obedience!
Abram is told to pick up all he owned and move to a place he had never seen, and in fact, God told him: “Just start walking east and I’ll tell you when you’re there!” If his servants had asked, “Are we there yet?” He would have had to say, “I don’t know!” But Abram’s response to this radical act is to go home tell his wife Sarai and all his extended family and servants, “We’re moving!”
What about Hosea? Don’t even try to start reasoning about what God asked him to do! The name Gomer should have been the first clue that this might not turn out well, but yet he obeyed and was used by God as an example of God’s unconditional love for all history!
Consider with me, that God can speak to you personally, or to others you know about your life. He is speaking. He is leading. He is asking for radical, raving obedience (and it may not fit our constructs of the “reasonable” or the “wise” move). But our obedience is an act of faith and indicates our trust. Anticipation and hearts oriented and predisposed to move in harmony with God’s leading are what bring blessings!