Summary: The Lord can be trusted

Theme: The Lord who does all things right

Text: Isaiah 35:4-7; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37

For the past two decades a lot has been said and written about accountability, probity, and integrity, yet corruption continues to dominate the headlines. Every section of the society including the Churches have discussed the subject and made recommendations, which were meant to deal with the problem. This last week the subject again hit the headlines because of comments allegedly made by the Deputy British High Commissioner, Craig Murray. So much has been said on this subject that we really need to ask ourselves why this problem cannot be brought under control. Either we do not hear what is being said at all, or when we do hear we do nothing about what we hear. We cannot really do anything about what we hear because our sinful nature will not allow us to do anything about it. The only way to deal with this problem is to deal with our sinful nature. And the only way to deal with our sinful nature is to allow the Lord to transform us and renew our minds. The Lord who does all things right has made the necessary provision. It is, however, not enough to know this truth; we should also live this truth. The way we behave reflects who we are.

A few years ago it was announced in the Accra Ridge Church, that a deaf and dumb person wanted to sing to praise the name of Christ. We all thought that there was a mistake in the announcement but we were assured there was not. None of us knew what to expect when a deaf and dumb man came to the front of the altar and through sign language indicated that they should play the song ‘Great is Thy faithfulness.’ As the song began he began to praise the Lord not by singing with his vocal cords but by singing with his whole person, the arms, the legs, the expression on his face, his body movements and his whole attitude. He indeed sang to the glory of God in a most unique way. It was the best rendition of ‘Great is Thy faithfulness’ that I had ever seen.

Hearing and speaking is a very important part of our lives and the reason we have two ears and one mouth. It has been said that we should see and hear more and speak less and that is why we have only one mouth. Hearing and speaking is essential to receiving the gospel and praising God and the ear serves as a direct link to our soul. What we hear with our ears goes deep down into our hearts and into our souls. Whether they are words of love, words of joy, laughter, music, or cries for help we are stirred up within. Listening to songs of God’s faithfulness is one of the best ways to deal with sorrow.

There are different forms of deafness and we are normally confronted with the form of deafness that is due to a problem with the ear. Deafness and dumbness often go together since you cannot learn to speak what you cannot hear. A deaf and dumb person is no doubt handicapped. A person who cannot hear or speak finds it very difficult to communicate with others. Unable to express their thoughts and feelings they become isolated, cut off and shut off from society. Far worse than being cut off from society is being cut off from God and this happens when we are deaf to the voice of God. We are all born deaf to the voice of God because of sin. But thanks to Jesus Christ, who died to pay the penalty for our sins, we have been healed and can once again hear the voice of God and respond by praising Him. But this ability is something that has to be cultivated with care. The world today is full of many voices that demand our attention and if we are not careful we will not hear the one voice that is important - the voice of God.

Jesus was always listening to God and relied totally on Him and did not do anything by Himself. The way He dealt with and related to the deaf and dumb man is an illustration of what Christian ministry should be. In this encounter, Mark records in detail each action - Christ looked toward Heaven, sighed within Himself, touched the man, and spoke to him. Everything that Christ does serve a purpose and each of His actions are significant. As Christ began to minister to the deaf and dumb man, He looked up to Heaven. This is symbolic of the relationship or communion He had with God. It was as if he was saying to the deaf and dumb man that the source of His power came from God. Communion refers to an intimate relationship and Jesus maintained this communion with God through prayer. Prayer is the foundation of the Christian life and Jesus Himself modelled the importance of prayer by always making the time to pray. Before every major decision, He would spend hours, sometimes all night, in prayer. He was in constant communion with God. Through prayer, we are able to draw close to God, to discern His will, to receive instruction from Him, and to be filled with His power. We can do much after we pray, but nothing before we pray. John Wesley said, "God does nothing on earth save in answer to believing prayer." We must pray if we are to live the Christian life. Prayer acknowledges our need and dependence on God and equips us for ministry. Martin Luther spent the first three hours of each day in prayer because according to him without those three hours he would not be able to make it through the day. And Paul Youngi Cho, when asked how he is able to manage the largest congregation in the world replied, ‘I listen and I obey’.

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