1275. When God Speaks

When God speaks, we better be listening and ready to respond immediately.

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

When God Speaks

We like to hear personal testimonies-accounts of what God has done in a person’s life. We may equally like to listen to the pastor as he brings a message or to a missionary as he or she recounts what God has done on the other side of the globe. But when it comes to listening to God, it’s a different story. Why is that? It’s because if God has spoken to us, then we are to obey what He has directed us to do. We must obey, and being stubborn and self-willed, we simply don’t want to do it. We may have gone through all the outward motions of submission to Him. We may have led a life of obedience (or so we think) and then comes His still small voice with a clear directive.

It often involves going to a person we’d rather avoid or ignore. That’s when the questioning begins. Was that really God? The message came as a soft whisper. If it was God, you wish He would speak louder, not audibly, but more clearly so you would know it was Him. That’s when the penetrating thought comes. If you were walking as closely with God as you think you are, He wouldn’t have to yell. A still, small whisper would be sufficient. Ouch!

After a reasonably good night’s sleep, the matter has been put on hold as the new day’s activities take precedence…until they don’t. God is not done with you. He has not forgotten the matter. Suddenly, all doubt disappears. You know it had been God’s voice, and He’s not going to let you off the hook. Your own mind reminds you that if you love your Lord, you will obey Him. All the subtle feelings and thoughts are gone. You now find yourself filled with tension, and you know it’s the tension of prolonged disobedience.

AS I SEE IT

It’s during painful times like these that we learn a lot about ourselves. If we’re really honest, we conclude that we’re fine with listening to testimonies and the stories from missionaries because all we have to do is listen. We’ll listen to the pastor because if he is calling us to take action, we can rationalize that He’s just a man, and his whole premise could be wrong. He could even be trying to use guilt to manipulate us, and we’ll have none of that. And so it goes.

When we finally do obey, it comes with a load of self-imposed guilt over being disobedient. We know we didn’t obey immediately because we simply didn’t want to do it. We’re feeling better since we finally came around, but we’re really disappointed with ourselves. Eventually, we realize something much worse. We have disappointed God. That’s when the guilt really starts piling up until we are reminded that our Heavenly Father wasn’t surprised in the slightest by our failure. He knew exactly how we would respond…and yet He is always waiting with open arms just like the father of the prodigal son in Luke 15.

Then we’re reminded of David who was guilty of things far worse than our recent act of disobedience, yet God called him a man after His own heart. Why? Because David had a contrite heart. He was genuinely sorry for what he had done. It broke his heart that he had broken His Heavenly Father’s heart. He had sinned against Him, and it brought him to tears. As with us, God knew what David would do, but He held nothing against him. Once David confessed his sin and fell at the feet of his Lord, God restored him in every way. David became Israel’s greatest king.

It should be clear that I write all this from personal painful experience. I imagine that you can relate to this too. I have learned that when I am walking closely with God, He won’t speak any louder than He has to. The closer I am to Him, the easier it is to recognize His voice. Sometimes it comes as a thought or a revelation. Other times it’s through our circumstances or a timely word from a faithful friend. Whatever the means, He is always speaking. We can save ourselves a lot of heartache if we respond immediately.

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