Summary: The "Shema" (Deuteronomy 6.4) is packed full of meaning and depth. No wonder Jesus quotes it in regard to the greatest command! In this lesson we consider God speaking and whether or not we are listening (i.e., obeying).
1. Hold Up the Light
The famous Eddystone lighthouse off the coast of Cornwall, England, was first built in a fanciful way, by the learned and eccentric Winstanley. On its sides he put various boastful inscriptions. He was very proud of his structure, and from his lofty balcony used boldly to defy the storm, crying, "Blow, O winds! Rise, O ocean! Break forth, ye elements, and try my work!" But one fearful night the sea swallowed up the tower and its builder.
The lighthouse was built a second time of wood and stone by Rudyard. The form was good, but the wood gave hold for the elements and the builder and his structure perished in the flames.
Next the great Smeaton was called. He raised a cone from the solid rock upon which it was built, and riveted it to the rock; as the oak is fastened to the earth by its roots. From the rock of the foundation he took the rock of the superstructure. He carved upon it no boastful inscription like those of Winstanley, but on its lower course he put, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it;" and its keystone, above the lantern, the simple tribute, "Laus Deo!" and the structure still stands, holding its beacon light to storm-tossed mariners.
Several lessons can be gleaned from this lighthouse. God, through his Son is the hope of the world and He must be declared! Taking the word of God for our foundation, let us build our structure upon its massive, solid truth, and on every course put Smeaton's humble inscription, and then we may be sure that the lighthouse will stand -- Selected.
a. Focus on the uniqueness of God alone
b. This is the key to real success
c. NOT the trappings of success in the "stuff" we accumulate to appear successful
3. Consider two key questions:
I. God is Speaking, Are We Listening? (One form of Hearing)
A. God Is Speaking
1. At and Through Creation
2. At Sinai -- Tradition that God spoke in all languages, only the Hebrews accepted
3. Through His Son - Hebrews 1.1-2
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
4. By his word
B. God is Speaking Clearly
1. "E and D" letters written larger
a. "ED" in Hebrew = "Witness"
1) Hear, not "Maybe" (if alef instead of ayin)
2) ONE, not "Other" or "Another" (if resh instead of dalet)
2. Clarity produces Loyalty to the LORD, our God
C. Are We Hearing? Elijah at Mt. Horeb -- 1 Kings 19.11-12
"And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke 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.
1. We are to have Ears to Hear (He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 11.15, et al)
2. Not Hearing:
4 You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the LORD persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets, 5 saying, 'Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever. Jeremiah 25.4-5
3. Understanding that Leads to Obedience
4. The coming day -- Zechariah 14.9
And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.
II. God is Speaking, Are We Acting? (Another form of Hearing)
A. Loving God is Intentional
1. More than emotion, intentional action
2. A full commitment to Him
a. Heart = Mind and Emotion
b. Soul = Life -- willing to give up life for God/to God (said on deathbed)
c. Might = our "Very or Exceedingly" -- came to mean property or possessions
d. Example of Josiah -- 2 Kings 23.25
Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.
B. Loving God is Internal (in Effort)