Summary: From Psalm 29, When we hear the voice of God we need to act. But we must be careful it is God's voice we are listening to.
Hear the Voice
I am amazed at how the Lord puts us where we need to be. This past Wednesday I worked on my sermon and finished the bulletin. And I was struggling with the sermon. On my way home I was still thinking about it and praying about it when I remembered my wife had said I was looking mangy and needed to stop by the barbershop. So On my way home I stopped by the Sports Barber on Maysville Pike. And the chair was open. Now my barber lives in Crooksville and he knows that I am the Pastor here. And he asks me, “How do you know when God is speaking to you?”
Well, that’s an interesting question. I told him about my call to ministry. I told I heard God speaking as clearly as I could hear him. (He was speaking on my left side.) But that did not happen often. Usually I would discern Gods will through Bible Study, devotions and Prayer.
“But how do you know its God and not just me?”
Well, when it’s God speaking, you will find it confirmed by several other sources. In my case it was my home pastor. And it seemed like everything began to fit in place. And although the process was long and involved. God saw me through it.
The long and short of it is, when God speaks to us, what He asks in never easy. It takes everything we have, all our effort, all our focus and it will cost something. And God asks a lot, whether it is a call to ministry or to extravagant generosity in your time and money. But the scriptures are clear. When God tells you to do something you need to do it. If you don’t believe me, read the book of Jonah.
The words in Psalm 29 are powerful.
7 The voice of the LORD strikes
with flashes of lightning.(N)
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.(O)
9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks[c](P)
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”(Q)
I ask God for direction every day. This is a basic part of living a righteous life. We must continually ask for God’s direction. And then we are required to act on that direction.
Years ago, a parishioner asked me to go see her Father. He was convinced that he would die and wanted to talk to a pastor. So she called me. Ok I went. And on the way I sensed that I should bring oil to anoint the man. But I already had put in a very long day. This trip was going to make a very long and not so great day even longer. I was tired and I did not have any anointing oil with me. And the store was out of they way. You know all the excuses we make for not doing what we know we should. So I go to the nursing home to see this man. And I am a little put off. This did not seem like a man who was at deaths door. He was laughing, flirting with the nurses and eating junk food. He looked as far from deaths door as I was. So we talked for a few minutes and we prayed a general prayer together. I left and called his daughter on my way home telling her that he seemed fine. In fact he seemed better than most people I see in the nursing home. (I was actually glad I didn’t waist my time going to the store beforehand.)
The next morning I get a call telling me her Father had died that night. Sometimes you want to hit yourself over the head saying stupid, stupid, stupid! From that point on I made sure not to make that mistake again! Sometimes, we don’t get a second chance to do what God tells us to do.
Ok everything I have preached is true. I believe it and I do my very best to live it. But there is a big danger. You see we are easily deceived. Not every thought that comes into our heads comes from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it comes from our own likes and dislikes. And sometimes it comes from Satan.
Just because we are Christians, does not mean God agrees with our thinking. Or that God’s and our will is the same. I remember at my first appointment, a young woman came up to me and said, God wanted me to go into the bars and preach the Gospel. She felt confident that God was using her to tell me that. My response was that I had talked to God all week and He hadn’t mentioned it. I told her that my calling was to be the preacher of this church and few if anyone in this particular congregation would see me coming out of a bar and believe I was in there preaching. But perhaps God was calling her to that particular ministry? “Oh, No not me you!” she answered. Well then, I assured her that God and I would discuss it. But I doubted I was called to that particular ministry. Others were much better suited for it. “Well, then your not listening to God!”, she exclaimed and huffed off secure in her spiritual superiority. Folks, if God is using you to tell someone else what they should be doing, I assure you He has already talked to them about it. Usually what God asks He wants you to do. If it is God’s will, others will hear the call and join you. If not, then it wasn’t God’s will.