Summary: This is the fifth and final sermon in this series. Here are some practical ways to be receptive to God’s Word.
Communicating With God:
How To Be Receptive To God’s Voice
Today we are finishing our series “Communicating With God.” In this series we have looked at: “How to Listen To God’s Voice”, “How To Recognize God’s Voice”, “How To Test the Voices You Hear” and “How To Talk to God”. Today we are going to look at “How To Be Receptive To God’s Voice”.
In the book of Habakkuk he prays a series of three prayers wanting to receive a word from the Lord. In chapter one he prays a prayer and God answers. Then Habakkuk prays a second time. In chapter two we see what Habakkuk actions he does after he prays. From this passage of scripture we can learn five important aspects of how to be receptive to God’s voice. Please follow along as I read from Habakkuk chapter two:
“I will stand at my guard post and station myself on the lookout tower. I will watch to see what He will say to me and what I should reply about my complaint. The Lord answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it.” Habakkuk 2:1-2 (HCSB)
1. STAND at the guard post.
You must be looking to receive. You are to be observant. You will not receive if you don’t see. Notice it does not say "SIT" at the guard post. It says to “STAND”. Sitting doesn’t take as much effort as standing does. Last week, in our study, we used this passage of scripture:
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9 (NKJV)
Ask, seek, knock all take effort – so does standing. Also notice what Habakkuk says – “I WILL stand”. He has expressed his intent. His will is involved. His volition is activated. He was determined to actively listen to what God had to say. There are times it takes effort to hear God’s voice. There are times it takes effort receive God’s voice. There are times you have to work to have a daily quiet time with God.
I recently read a story about Susanna Wesley who was the mother of eighteen children. Two of her sons, Charles and John, changed the expression of Christianity during their lives. Charles Wesley wrote hundreds of hymns which churches still sing today. John Wesley was the founder of the Methodist denomination. Both men had a profound affect on Christianity during their lives – which can still be felt today. With 18 children, how did Susanna Wesley ever find a quiet time to pray? This was her solution. Every afternoon she would sit in her living room and throw her apron up over her head. The children knew that when mother was in her rocking chair with her apron up over her head she was not to be disturbed. She was determined to have a quiet time. She was determined to have a time with God every day. Where there’s a will there’s a way. She stood at her guard post.
2. STATION yourself at the lookout tower.
To “STATION” yourself speaks of perseverance. It talks of sticking it out. It talks of waiting till the answer is given. It talks of looking and looking and keep on looking till an answer is given. Let’s look again at the verse from Luke that we just read. This time we will look at it in a different translation:
“So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9 (HCSB)
I like the way the Holman Christian translation uses the word “Keep”. “Keep” on asking, “Keep” on searching, “Keep” on knocking and the door will be opened to you.
In our fast pace, busy world, perseverance and waiting are not spoken of much. But you find them mentioned again and again in the Bible.
“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalms 46:10 (NKJV)
“God, the one and only — I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not?” Psalms 62:5 (MSG)
The reason many of us don’t hear God is because we are too busy. It’s hard for us to station ourselves and get quiet. I like the way the Message Bible puts Psalm 46:10. It says, “"Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God." Psalms 46:10 (MSG)
Hurry is the death of prayer. If you want to hear God you have to become quiet. Not only do you need a quiet spot to pray you need a quiet mentality.
Many of us may find a quiet place to pray but we don’t slow our minds down. We may be resting but our minds are still racing. Our thoughts flip from one subject to the next. You think of all the unfinished tasks you have. You think of all the things you could be doing. Focus is the key.