Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Flames Divide, Cedars Split

When I was at Capernwray Hall we had a mandatory day of prayer. Of course they couldn’t enforce us to pray but the idea was that we would spend the entire day alone with God. I remember Trevor encouraging us to spend some of our time listening to God. When he said that, I cringed internally because:

This has always been one of the hardest things for me to grasp and take seriously as a Christian – hearing God. I don’t mean to, and it’s not like I don’t attribute validity to what people mean when they say things like, God told me to go here or do that or say this… but I tend to close off somewhat to statements of that nature. There may be a tinge of unbelief in me, or sometimes a bit of resentment that it doesn’t come as easily recognizable to me. Deep down I think some people are too loose with the term "God told me to." I'm trying to figure out how I can be such a devout (at least I like to think I’m devout) Christian and be so unfamiliar with the Voice of God. It’s a little disconcerting. I think because God is so other than me that it’s hard to grasp how He can speak to me. Communication in the other direction doesn’t cause a problem for me, though. Being able to talk to the God who created me, loves me and deserves my unending praise is awesome. When He wants to respond to my prayers, though? Wait… what? Um… how do I hear it? How do I know for sure that’s what He’s saying? (That’s where faith comes in, which is another whole topic in itself, but extremely related.)

The POWER alone associated with the voice of God is mind-boggling. Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” Verse 9 says, “For He spoke and it was done. He commanded and it stood fast.” All throughout Genesis 1 it’s seen: “Then God said… and it was so.” Psalm 29 (one of my absolute favorite Psalms) speaks about the power of God’s voice (read it!!).

I’m reading “The Pursuit of God” by A.W. Tozer right now, and frankly, I could probably write lengthy posts about each chapter in that book... (as you can see from my previous post, haha) but I’ll try to not do that. I encourage you to read it if you haven’t already. The chapter I just read is entitled “The Speaking Voice,” go figure. It seriously convicted me that I need to focus so much more of my prayer and devotion time on disciplining my ability to listen to God.

If you thought you were going to get through this post without a quote from Tozer, haha. Too bad. Or just stop reading now. But actually don’t, because Tozer is so much better to read than me. One of the fundamental things regarding the Voice of God that helps me understand this whole concept is that the Bible is God’s word (and consequently voice) in my life. Tozer says, (here comes the quote!)

“A man may say, ‘These words are addressed to me,’ and yet in his heart not feel
and know that they are. […] The Bible is the inevitable outcome of God’s
continuous speech. It is the infallible declaration of His mind for us put into
our familiar human words. I think a new world will arise out of the religious
mists when we approach the Bible with the idea that it is not only a book which
was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking. The prophets habitually said,
‘Thus saith the LORD.’ They meant their hearers to understand that God’s
speaking is in the continuous present. We may use the past tense properly to
indicate that at a certain time a certain word of God was spoken but a word of
God once spoken continues to be spoken, as a child once born continues to be
alive, or a world once created continues to exist. And those are but imperfect
illustrations, for children die and worlds burn out, but the Word of our God
endureth forever.”

I don’t think I have been ignoring the voice of God in my life. I think I’ve just perhaps been scraping by with the bare minimum of listening to God. Of course a relationship has to have two way communication, so to grow even closer to the God I love, I have to increase my awareness of His voice by disciplining my hearing skills to be sharper.

“Come at once to the open Bible expecting it to speak to you. Do not come with
the notion that it is a thing which you may push around at your convenience.
It is more than a thing; it is a voice, a word, the very Word of the living
God.” –Tozer

That mindset is vital to hearing God’s voice in my life! Like Tozer I want to pray that I will get used to the sound of God’s voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of the earth die away and the only sound will be the music of His speaking voice.

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