Summary: Sermon six in a fourteen sermon series based on the popular Bible study by Henry Blackaby.
In our passage, we are told that in times past, God spoke in various ways. Indeed, in the Old Testament, we find that God spoke...
... through angels - Genesis 16:11-12
... through visions - Genesis 15:1
... through dreams - Genesis 28:10-19
... through symbolic actions - Jeremiah 18:1-10
... through a gentle whisper -1 Kings 19:12
... through miraculous signs - Exodus 8:20-25
But how God spoke is not nearly as important as the fact that He spoke. As we reflect on one such occasion when God spoke to one of His children (Moses - Exodus 3), I want us to note four important facts about the way God speaks.
1. When God speaks it is usually unique to that individual.
Moses had no precedent for a burning bush experience. He couldn’t say, "Oh, this is my burning bush experience. Abraham, Issac, and Jacob all had their’s and this is mine." His experience was unique, because God wants our experience with Him and His voice, to be person to us.
If Moses had been alive today, he might have been tempted to write a book, "My Burning Bush Experience And How You Can Have One, Too!"
Everyone would be reading it and looking for their "burning bush" experience. But we mustn’t get hung up on imitating the experiences of people mentioned in the Bible, but instead learn that God did speak then and He still desires to speak today.
2. When God speaks we can be sure it is God speaking.
The Scripture tells us that when God spoke to Moses through the burning bush, he had no question about the fact that God was the one speaking. Likewise, it is possible for us to recognize the voice of God.
"He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice," - John 10:4 (NIV)
If I have trouble hearing God’s voice, then I either do not belong to God or I am not right with God!
In Luke 11:33-36, Jesus speaks about the key to spiritual perception. Having just spoken about the spiritual blindness of His generation in verses 29-32, Jesus speaks to the question of whose fault it is when there is a lack of spiritual perception. In so doing, He teaches us that the key to spiritual perception is a heart that is pure.
“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.” - Luke 11:33-36 (NIV)
As our Lord said in Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Jesus tells us that...
A. Lack of spiritual perception is not God’s fault - v. 33
One of the purposes of light is to help one find his way in the dark. Therefore, in lighting a darkened room, one will place his lamp on a place of prominence, such as a lamp stand, so that it might provide as much light as possible.
The point here is that when it comes to God revealing Himself to us, He has at least as much sense as we do. God does not hide Himself from us, but works to reveal Himself to us.
B. Lack of spiritual perception is our fault - vs. 34-36
Jesus tells us that our eyes work to help us maneuver about. By deciphering the various images of light that bombard them, our eyes help us know how to get about in this world. If, however, our eyes go bad, then everything goes dark and we are left to stumble about.
He then goes on to speak of one’s heart ("the light within you" - v. 35) as being the organ by which we discern spiritual light. If, however, our hearts have become darkened, then we are left without spiritual perception, condemned to wander in spiritual darkness.
Paul speaks of this in Ephesians 4:18 (KJV) - "blindness of the heart").
How does this hardness develop? It develops from time after time of choosing to not walk in the light we have received. God has established a law in the universe which governs man’s spiritual “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.
A man reaps what he sows.” - Galatians 6:7 (NIV)