Summary: Distinguishing the voice of God from the endless ’static’ of the world around us can often be difficult. This sermon seeks to help us "clean up the static."
“Speak Lord, for Your Servant is Listening”
I was driving towards the coast for a job I had to do and on the way, I saw two billboards inparticular that caught my attention. To this day, I don’t know what group or organization sponsored them but they both implied a major sponsor to say the least. One said; “Why don’t you ever call?...........God” The other one I really liked; it said; “Don’t make me come down there!......God”
I hope that these comical billboards make us think a little more seriously about our communication skills with God. Because sadly, for many people, glancing inspirational words by the side of the road is the extent of their relationship with the Lord. Not so with the world’s first two human beings. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had the wonderful privilege of not only walking with the Lord, but they could also literally converse with Him. In fact, He spoke to them in much the same way as I am speaking with you now--face to face. There, in this undefiled garden paradise, existed a very “direct” form of communication between the Creator and the creature. And even after the fall of man--even after sin had driven it’s wedge of separation between us and God, we find in the scriptures that the Lord still literally spoke to certain prophets and even ordinarily people. Through His own spoken, audible word, God warned, directed, comforted and chastened His children in biblical times. Today, if someone says; “the Lord spoke to me and told me to do so and so..” that person is more than likely going to receive some very strange looks and probably slip a notch or two on the scale of how highly we respect them.
My question for you this morning is; does God still speak to His children even today? and if so, how? .....and, just as importantly, how can we be sure that it is really God that we are “hearing”?
In March of 1991 the “Los Angeles Times” contained a story about a man by the name of Bob Haifley. It was estimated that he spent a total of 2,500 hours over a period of five years hard at work on a very strange project. You see, Bob spent all that time gluing together 65,000 toothpicks. He meticulously arranged them until they gradually took the form of a life-sized Jesus. This toothpick replica of the Lord hung from a wire in his garage against a black backdrop , illuminated by a spotlight.
Now, why do you suppose Bob Haifley, a humble water-department supervisor and non-artist, started collecting toothpicks and invited the ridicule of his neighbors by building California’s answer to Noah’s Ark? “God told me to do it,” he said.
According to Bob, God spoke to him one day while he was driving to the plant and personally commissioned him to do the work, not only that, apparently the Lord also showed him, in detail, exactly how to arrange the toothpicks in order get the hair just right after years of indecision.
Did God really tell Bob Haifley to construct a life-sized image of the Savior out of toothpicks in his garage? Just between you and me.....I don’t think so.
You see, there seems to be a lot of confusion these days about what God tells us to do.
For instance, let me give you some examples of things that God did not tell people to do: God did not tell David Caresh to deceive and organize a group of believers, barricade themselves in an armed compound, have sex with most of the women and even some of the children, and claim to be Christ. God did not tell an un-named television evangelist that he had to raise a million dollars from the believing public within a certain time period or else the Lord was going to take his life. God does not tell us parents to withhold treatment from our dying children when they could easily be saved by a simple medical procedure.
Our Father in heaven doesn’t tell us to do any of these things.....yet people are doing even stranger things than these every day under the impression that what they are doing is God ordained.
For instance, did you know that the Ku Klux Klan has very close religious connections and convictions? In effect, they claim that the prejudice that they harbor and represent, the hate crimes against blacks, Jews and homosexuals are all, in a sense, carried out “for the glory of God.”
And believe you me, that countless individuals are being led astray by such people as these who claim to have received some sort of commission and authority from God and may even really believe it themselves. Are we talking only about religious fanatics and mentally disturbed people? I wish. Because you see, if it were only those types of people, they wouldn’t be able to deceive so many so easily.