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.

I can Hear

Isaiah 50: 5

The Lord God has opened my ear.

Do you know that you stand in the shoes of Jesus? That is what it means to be in him and in him is our goal and calling. This is the New Covenant. What does this have to do with today’s verse? You have been positioned to hear the voice of God exactly as Jesus did. Jesus didn’t speak or perform on his own initiative. Everything he did and said was at the direction of the Father. He heard God speaking to him and followed the Father’s instructions. This is the plan for us too! “But I cannot hear Him speak,” you say. I beg to differ. God has opened your ears as He did Jesus’.

Jesus went further. He said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” (John 10: 27). So, you can hear him. And that is the end of the debate. Jesus says you can hear him, so you can. He knows of what he speaks. The question, then, becomes why are we not following his voice as he said his sheep do? Why are we unaware of our ability to hear him?

When I had my law practice I learned something about this. Often, I would take a vacation to the mountains for a week or two of quiet and solitude. I took my Bibles and books and settled in for some quiet time with God. I noticed, though, that it usually took me a couple of days before I began to hear anything or even receive anything in my spirit. My world was so full of stimulation and noise that it took a couple of days to settle myself. I think of Psalm 46: 10, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” The King James Version reads, “Be still, and know that I am God.” My world was too chaotic, too full of being busy and on the go to ever hear God. I didn’t have the time in my regular day to slow down long enough to hear the Lord speak to my spirit. It took me several days of peace and quiet to be able to really be still in my spirit. I like how the God’s Word translation relates Psalm 46: 10. It says, “Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God.” Most of us don’t let go of our “stuff” long enough to know Him as God. Even when we go to bed at night we still turn things over in our minds. During the day, the TV is on, people are talking to us, we’re working, etc. How much quiet time do you have just to ponder? People don’t think any more. They don’t have time. There is no sitting on the porch in a rocking chair just contemplating the world.

So, even though God has opened our ears, we rarely have space for Him to speak into. It takes a quiet, calm spirit to hear the Lord. He doesn’t yell, He whispers. He speaks into the stillness. I bet if all televisions and cell phones went on the blink for a month two things would happen; you would read a lot more and you would hear God’s voice. What if you made a decision that you and your family would have one hour of quiet time when no electrical or electronic device could be used. Do you think it would impact your life? You might talk with your spouse, your kids. You might even get to know them. Best of all, you might get to know your heavenly Father better too. What about thirty minutes? Will anyone take me up on thirty minutes? Twenty? Even if you only did one hour one day a week it would make a difference. Maybe you could do it two or three days a week.

I promise you – you can hear God, you can hear Jesus. You only need to give them an environment into which they can speak. If you will do that, you will hear them. Don’t forget to use your journaling skills too.

Go Get Gad

1 Chronicles 21: 9

And the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer saying, “Go and speak to David, saying . . ..”

I read this verse this week and it kind of bugged me. “Why did God speak to Gad,” I thought, “instead of speaking directly to David?”

David is a hero to me. He walked with God and talked with God as few people have. He is numbered among God’s personal friends. When I read the psalms, I see a revelation of the Holy Spirit that is completely unprecedented for an Old Covenant believer. In truth, David knew more about the Holy Spirit and followed his leading better than most New Testament saints. Besides that, his intimacy with God is inspiring. I soak in those words, longing for the same close fellowship he enjoyed. Then, this week, I read this verse and it caused me pause. Why did God speak to Gad instead of to David?

I found the answer and it does nothing to assuage my discomfort. 1 Chronicles 29: 2 reads, “Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God.” Do you see a problem here? David is now much older. He is the King of Israel but he is preparing to pass the throne to his son Solomon. He has laid up much gold, silver, wood and all manner of other materials for the building and equipping of the temple. By now he has sat upon the throne for many years and been very successful. And there is where the blessing can challenge us all. David’s success has gone to his head.

In the early days David depended on the strength of the Lord. God was his strong right arm. He followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and he trusted his God. He is a grand example of a person who demonstrated active trust in God.

He is famous for his praise and worship. Once he celebrated God so energetically that he danced himself out of his clothes. He was man who loved God, trusted in God’s ability and then praised God for the continuing triumph.

Now we see him at the end of his reign, very successful, very rich but also, a bit self-impressed. He says he used his ability to provide for the temple but the truth is, and he knows it, he would have had nothing if not for the provision of the Lord. Everything David dedicated to the temple project was given to him by God. David didn’t win the gold, silver or any of the other treasures in his might. God went before him and handed the enemies and their spoils into David’s hands. Then in his later years David began to believe his own press. He began to believe that he was mighty and strong. When he was young he knew he was small and weak but that his God was mighty. Oh, how it grieves the heart, but it also explains, so clearly, why God had to speak through Gad. David was no longer listening. He was too busy attending to people’s praises of him.

You know you have gone off track if you are reveling in the praises of people. Only the humility of the truth will keep you or I in power of the Lord. As soon as we start believing we have done something in our own power rather than acknowledging it was the blessing of the Lord, we are bound for disaster. Jesus said, “I can do nothing on my own,” (John 5: 30 TLV). What makes any of us think we can do better? Any success any of us have is because of the grace and blessing of the Lord. David knew that, but he forgot. He became enamored with his success and could no longer hear the voice of God. What a shame.

Look, God wants to bless us. He also wants to speak to each one of us personally but our big egos get in the way. We are so busy trying to feel good about ourselves and pump up ourselves to others that we are losing the intimacy with God. Adam did the same thing and look where that led. God will bless you and keep you in the protective and loving safety of His embrace. He will give you good success. However, as you are blessed, just remember that He is the author of every good thing you have. All good things come from above. It is He who blesses the work of your hand and you could do nothing without Him. So, keep your heart tender towards Him, or make your heart tender if need be. Get you out of the way so you can hear God. Don’t make Him speak to others in order to reach you. Give Him the glory for everything you have. Get off the throne and let God be a Father and best friend to you.

Opened Ears

Isaiah 50: 5                    Index Card 8

The Lord God has opened my ear.

There is no prayer I have prayed more than, “Lord, let me hear you.” I was desperate to hear the Lord. I listened to ministers talking about what God told them and it really annoyed me. I couldn’t hear God speaking. So, when I found this verse I held on to it like a drowning person would cling to a life ring. This is my promise. I knew that anything God would do for Isaiah, He had to do for Ivey because “God shows no partiality” (Galatians 2: 6).

I actually chased God 2500 miles one year because I was sick and tired of not hearing His voice. If anyone else was hearing Him speak then I was going to hear Him too. I declared to God that I was going to get Him and by God, I did, or more accurately He got me. I heard Him, I saw the Holy Spirit, I had a prophetic dream, I had words of wisdom and words of knowledge all over the place. Now if I struggle at all in hearing God’s voice, I know I can hold this verse up to our beloved and He will open my ear again.