Speak Yahweh

Psalm 85: 8

I will hear what God the Lord will say; for He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; but let them not turn back to folly.

I hope you are enjoying Psalm Mondays. The psalms seem to be providing a good start to the week. Hearing God is a good way to begin the week too. As you read through different Bible versions for today’s scripture you gain a perspective that hearing God is an intentional act. In other words, the psalmists determined to listen to God and we can too.

Another thing I find interesting is not only has this psalmist decided to listen to God, but he fully expects to hear. This expectation of hearing God speak is common in the Bible. People heard God speaking to them in many ways but there never seems to be surprise at hearing His voice. People were startled and frightened when angels appeared but apparently accustomed to hearing the voice of God.

I find that so amazing because I do not believe that is our experience today. The Bible says God doesn’t change. If he voiced His thoughts and messages to people in the past, we should expect Him to speak to us now. My experience leads me to conclude that most everyday Christians not only don’t hear God speaking to them but they don’t expect to either. In fact, I am sure there are a great many of us who never stop to listen simply because we don’t expect God to speak to us. Additionally, we don’t stop to listen because we live fast paced lives. Our lives do not contain the quiet, contemplative time of old. Lives used to be slower and quieter. Now we have machines continually filling the space with sound and there is ever so much to available to occupy our time.

I would challenge you to talk with the Lord and expect Him to answer. Stop for a while and listen to the silence. In a few moments you may hear some whispers inside you. One of the ways I recognize God’s voice is when I am thinking of something and an entirely different thought comes to me. If you will hang out in some quiet solitude, I have no doubt that you will hear God speaking to you. He has been talking to you daily. The trick is in the hearing and that begins with an expectation followed by listening and practice. Soon, you could be like this psalmist, just waiting to hear God speak peace into your life.

Desert or Oasis

Numbers 14: 22

Surely all the men who … have not listened to My voice shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers.

This verse is taken from a piece of a conversation between God and Moses. I have to stop right here in awe of dialoguing with God. That should be a goal for us all and what a privilege it is to get to sit in on this conversation. Anyway, they are discussing the people that God freed from Egyptian slavery and subsequently led to the Promised Land. 

The end of the story is that these people did not get to enter the Promised Land even after travelling for years to reach it. What is going on here? The long and short of it is that you can only enter the land of promise by faith. The reason they didn’t get to go in is because of doubt, they did not listen to God’s voice. We run the same risk when we don’t turn our ears to hearing the voice of the Lord.

Let’s begin simply. The easiest way to hear God speak is simply to pick up the Bible and read it. If a person is unwilling to do that then there is very little any minister or even God Himself can do for them. They are going to die in the desert with their testimony of doubt. Everyone can hear God speaking to them because He has written it down. Let’s keep it simple here. Pick up the book. Read it. No excuses.

We love to look down our noses at the Israelites but many times we are their modern day equivalents. We think, “If I had been there I would have been different.” Well, we are there. Many of us are still wandering around in the desert despite the voices calling out to us. Additionally, consider that they did not have a Bible. Okay, they had a cloud and that is cool but you don’t have to go outside and see if the cloud is still there. You can pick up your Bible and have God speak to you any time you wish. It’s like having a tape recorder with God on it so that all you have to do is press “play” and God begins speaking to you. Wow!

Doesn’t it strike you that these folks followed God around for forty years and yet did not get to enter into the Promised Land? It grieves my heart for them. But then it grieves my heart tremendously today when I see so many people rob themselves of the promises of God. Do you know why the Israelites took 40 years to make an 11 day trip? The answer is exactly the same as to the question, “Why is Jesus taking so long to come back.” He sees us wandering around in doubt and unbelief and he knows if we are confronted with the promise we will not be able to enter in because of our unbelief. God did not take the Israelites the most direct route because of the littleness of their faith. He knew that would fall immediately. So He led them around in the desert; feeding them manna from heaven, water from rocks, meeting their every need and answering their every complaint. He went before them in the cloud by day and the pillar of fire at night, His very presence with them at all times. He showed them miracle upon miracle trying to build their faith. However, when they reached the goal and surveyed the land of promise their report was full of doubt. Love couldn’t let them go in because they would have destroyed themselves. So, God had to wait to raise up another generation, a generation that could go forth in faith and take possession of the land which God had already given them.

Let the report about our generation be different. Let us end the desert years and go boldly into the Promised Land. There is so much the Father has for us if we can but listen to Him and do what He says. We all need to hear the voice of God and that is available to each of us but the Israelites did not fail to enter in because they did not hear the voice of God. They failed because they did not listen to God. They didn’t attend to His word. It really is that simple. They didn’t give it the proper weight in their lives and they did not act according to the Word of God. We can be different. With just a little effort and faith as small as a mustard seed we revolutionize our experience and our environment. We can be the generation that believed. Read the Word, listen to what God is saying to us and be a believer.