Have you ever stopped to consider the power of God’s voice?
God speaks and creation responds (See Gen 1)
- Light and darkness separate
- Land and water separate
- The earth yields vegetation that puts out more seed
- Creatures inhabit land and sea
But there’s one area where God’s all powerful voice gets less response than you would think…
It’s in the human heart!
Why is it that every other aspect of nature responds to God’s voice, but we don’t? I can think of two reasons:
Hearing vs. Listening
For some crazy reason, God wired us so we can choose to respond… or not! Sometimes it boils down to what I want to hear. Maybe you’ve been there.
God speaks… I have a different idea… I say something profound like, “How about the best two out of three God?” Or worse, I ignore it.
The fact is, I don’t have a problem hearing God… I have a problem listening to God.
And why is that?
If we’re honest to the core, it’s a heart issue. We listen to those with whom we want to interact.
We hear subordinates. But we listen to the boss. (Somewhere in there is the key to a happy marriage, by the way).
We hear acquaintances… we listen to friends.
Hearing is passive. Listening is active. In listening, we desire to understand and interpret words. Listeners have taken the time to comprehend so that they might respond.
Ask yourself if this is true in your relationships. I bet you’ll find that you hear plenty of people, but you only listen to those with whom you wish to respond.
Manufactured vs Authentic
Sometimes, I just try too hard. I try too hard to listen when I want something from God. I try to manufacture the perfect experience, whether in personal prayer time, or perhaps in a worship setting with others. Why? Because there are times when I need to hear from God.
But I find that God doesn’t only speak in times of my need. God speaks all the time, through Scripture… prayer… others. God is a talker!
And I can’t help but think, if I were more intentional about listening regularly, perhaps I wouldn’t be in such need. Perhaps I wouldn’t be so desperate at times to hear from God. And if I were more interested in what God has to say all the time, maybe I wouldn’t have to work so hard at it.
In other words, perhaps I need to be more authentic in my relationship with God.
An Authentic Response
Once upon a time, when TV shows were live, there was a person who stood off camera with cue cards. Some cards said, “Laugh.” Others said “Applause.” At the appropriate time, the person would hold up the card to cue an audience response.
But watch what happens to the people described in Psalm 29 when they encounter the raw power of God’s voice
“The voice of the LORD twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”” (Psa 29:9 NLT)
I’ll bet there wasn’t someone off camera holding a cue card with “Glory!” written on it. I imagine it was a more spontaneous outpouring. I imagine it’s what happens when people encounter God’s voice, and presence, authentically. It’s not the kind of response that comes from a cue card.
As we prepare for the coming of the King this Advent season, I pray we would begin by quieting our lives so we can hear, and quieting our hearts so we can listen. Only then can we join in with those voices who know God’s presence most authentically…
“Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”” (Luke 2:13, 14 NLT)
How are you quieting your life?
How are you quieting your heart?
What’s the difference, and why would that matter?