September 23: Listening with the Israelites

We’re on day 5 of learning to listen to the Lord.

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

Exodus 15:26

Often we assume something mysterious or highly spiritual about hearing God’s voice and taking time to listen. But God speaks to us thru His Word. We can open it each day. But sometimes we don’t diligently hearken – we kinda gloss over it.

To diligently hearken means to examine our lives against God’s will for our lives. During the listening part of prayer, examine Scripture that you’ve read and see – has God prompted you in ways that you could respond?

Let’s give ear to His commandments!

[12] Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

Psalm 119:12

September 22: Listening with Adam

We’ve seen some of the ways to listen to God already, but today we’ll highlight a way not to listen to God.

[10] And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Genesis 3:10

Adam responded to God’s voice with fear – but the wrong kind of fear.

Adam was afraid, while we’re told to have the ‘fear of the Lord’

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether

Psalm 19:9

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Proverbs 19:10

Adam was afraid, in Hebrew: waira. This is where we’re told fear not. Don’t be frightened, scared, paralyzed, forced to hide.

Fear of the Lord, fear, in Hebrew: yirat. This is the idea of reverence.

A way to visualize reverence is to ‘bow the knee.’ Here’s a song from our friend Ron Hamilton (Patch the Pirate) on how to reverence our God!

Bow the Knee, by Ron Hamilton

September 21: Listening with Sarah

We’re on day 3 of Listening to God in prayer. One of the problems we have is that after we’ve identified God’s voice, we respond too quickly.

[9] And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.
[10] And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.
[11] Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
[12] Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
[13] And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
[14] Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
[15] Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

Genesis 18

What is God saying to you that you’re quick to dismiss or laugh off? Is He asking you to pray for a loved one’s salvation? To share the gospel with a friend? Is He calling you into the ministry?

We may still be trying to figure out if it’s God that is speaking to us – but let’s be careful not to dismiss what He’s saying simply because it doesn’t fit our preconceived limitations for our life. Remember:

  • Noah was a drunk
  • Abraham was too old
  • Isaac was a daydreamer
  • Jacob was a liar
  • Leah was ugly
  • Joseph was abused
  • Moses had a stuttering problem
  • Gideon was afraid
  • Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
  • Rahab was a prostitute
  • Jeremiah was too young
  • David was an adulterer (not to mention a murderer)
  • Elijah was suicidal
  • Isaiah preached naked
  • Jonah ran from God
  • Naomi was a widow
  • Job went bankrupt
  • John the Baptist ate bugs
  • Andrew lived in the shadow of his big brother
  • Peter denied Christ
  • All the disciples fell asleep while praying (and ran away when Jesus really needed them.)
  • Martha worried about everything
  • The Samaritan woman was divorced (more than once)
  • Mary Magdalene was demon-possessed
  • Zaccheus was too small
  • Timothy had an ulcer
  • Paul was a Christian-killer
  • Oh…and Lazarus was dead

September 20: Listening with Elijah

We’re looking at the subject of listening in prayer, and we’re looking at making sure we’re listening to the right voice! Samuel heard a voice that he didn’t know was God’s. We’ll see today how Elijah heard many voices and had to find out which one was God’s.

[11] And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
[12] And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
[13] And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

1 Kings 19:11-13

Sometimes we’ll see signs that indicate we should do something. It used to be that people attributed these signs to God, now people attribute them to the universe:

Do you ever feel like the universe is trying to tell you something, but you just don’t understand the message? Do you find yourself seeking answers to questions in your life and never quite finding a solution?

You might feel this way because you aren’t fully aware of the “language” of the universe. The answers are likely right in front of you. The “language barrier” with the universe is a major hindrance for many; once you’re able to learn the lingo, your experience of life will only grow.

https://chopra.com/articles/how-to-recognize-signs-from-the-universe

If you are looking to the universe for signs, you may end up confessing your sins to the plants and trees like an American seminary did recently!

There will be many voices that speak – and sadly despite popular opinion, we’re not all God’s children.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do…

John 8:44

Pray to God that he will help you discern which voice is God’s voice!

September 19: Listening with Samuel

We’re on our 11th segment of the hour of prayer!

How can we listen to God? If we look back at time we spend in church, in Bible reading, and in prayer, He doesn’t usually speak to us audibly.

First – we must learn to recognize His voice. Vic Eliason, the long time director of VCY America, told me how when he had the opportunity to speak to a college full of preacher boys, he spoke on the child Samuel. The Lord called to Samuel and he didn’t recognize God’s voice (1 Samuel 3:4). God called to Samuel again and he still didn’t recognize God’s voice (1 Samuel 3:6). God called to Samuel a third time and he still didn’t recognize God’s voice (1 Samuel 3:8). Eli finally guessed that this was God talking to Samuel, and told Samuel how to recognize who was speaking (1 Samuel 3:9).

As Vic shared with me, too many people are called into the ministry by their mothers, and not by their Heavenly Father.

But many people have the opposite problem – their Heavenly Father is calling them, but their earthly father says “the ministry doesn’t pay much, but if you get a good job you can support a lot of missionaries.”

God doesn’t want what we can do for Him (in case you’ve forgotten, He’s omnipotent {all-powerful}, and we are impotent {no power}), He wants us.

Like Samuel, take time to lay quietly (1 Samuel 3:15), and learn to discern what voices are talking to you. (Our friend Carl Kerby even has a talk on this topic!)

August 21: How does God speak to us?

We talk a lot about how to pray to God. But how does God speak to us? Elijah figured this out:

[11] And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
[12] And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
[13] And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

1 Kings 19:11-13

The voice of the Lord came not in wind, earthquake, or fire, but in a still small voice. Do we quiet our hearts to hear His voice?

[15] For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

Isaiah 30:15
Daniel W. Whittle
Daniel W. Whittle

What happens when we quiet our hearts to hear His voice? Daniel Whittle shares another fascinating account:

Walking across Palace Square in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with an American ship-master, (says a correspondent of the Watchman) he invited me to accompany him to his hotel. While there he showed me a very large gold medal he had received from the British government for saving a ship’s company at sea. The circumstances were these: One night at sea, when it was the captain’s “mid-watch,”–the watch from twelve, midnight, till four o’clock in the morning–just before turning in, he gave the officer of the watch the ship’s course; the direction in which she was to be steered. While undressing, it was impressed on his mind that he ought to change the course a point; but he could see no reason for the change, as the ship was on the right course for the port of her destination. He turned in and tried to fall asleep, as it was only four hours to his watch; but the impression that he ought to change the ship’s course kept him awake. In vain he tried to throw off that impression; and yielding to it, he went on deck and gave the order for the change. On returning to his berth, he was asleep as soon as his head was on the pillow. The next day he sighted a ship in distress, and made sail for her. The ship was in a sinking condition, and he rescued the whole ship’s company. Shortly after, a gale of wind arose and carried the sinking ship to complete destruction. Had not the American captain changed the course of his ship that evening, he would not have come in sight of the ship in distress, and all of the company would have perished.

QueryWhat made that Captain arise in the middle of the night and, contrary to all science, reason and his own will, change the course of his vessel, but a Supreme Being, whose power he could not resist, and what made him exactly reach that sinking ship just in time.