A few times a year my church hosts an all night prayer and worship event. I went to one last year that was held some time in July. I was still pretty newly recommitted to the Lord, and I was diligently seeking the Lord and His will for my life. At that all night prayer and worship event in July of 2015, we broke into smaller groups and were asking others to pray for us. As I gave my request, I said that my greatest desire at that time was for God to speak to me. I wanted to hear from Him, I so badly wanted to actually hear His voice. The Pastor of my church talks about conversations he has with God, and I wanted that. I wanted to hear from the Creator.
Fast forward 13 months to this past weekend, and I found myself in that same room at that same church, attending the same event. All night prayer and worship. Wanna know who I talked with for most of the night? God. God Almighty, the unmatchable being that created all things, the person I wanted so desperately to hear from a year ago. Well, He was speaking to me this time, and it was honestly the most amazing night of my life.
A lot of what God told me I feel like was meant just for me, at least for now. Throughout the night people would get up and share, and as He continued to give me stuff I was asking Him if He wanted me to share it with everyone else. I never felt like that was His plan, although I do know that He gave me at least two future Bible blogs that He wants me to write.
But, just to give you a general rundown, here are some of the things that God and I talked about. First, He really dealt with me about something I’ve been struggling with in my life. This was what caused me to cry for the first of many times that night. He gave me direction on a ministry that I’ve been working towards setting up. Then, oh man, then came a big one, which was this sort of reminder of what He’s done for me through the ages. That was what caused me to sit there and cry my eyes out for a while. Then He asked me a general question. Then He joked with me, in what was probably the best moment of my life, and I’ll probably tell that story some time. Then He challenged me a little bit by asking me a very serious question, and I’ll be blogging about that sometime soon. Then He told me to open my Bible, and so I opened at random to a story in the Old Testament and God showed me a complete Bible blog He wants me to write about it.
That was all over the course of five hours of deep prayer and worship. You see, God’s amazing. He’s amazing for a lot of reasons, and here’s one of them. It wasn’t until I started writing this blog today that I remembered my prayer from 2015. My prayer from that same room, same event, when I desperately wanted Him to speak to me. I’d forgotten that prayer. Truthfully, I kind of thought it was answered in a roundabout way. Soon after that 2015 event, I got deep into my Bible studies, and I found that God spoke to me through the study of His word. I accepted that this was His way of communicating with me. He seemed to speak directly to my Pastor, directly to my brother, but you know, it was different with me and God and that was cool with me. As long as He was speaking, I was happy.
A few weeks ago, probably for the first clear and absolute time in my life, God spoke to me. It was a crystal clear directive, one that I was overjoyed to carry out for Him. But even then, I didn’t take it to indicate some sort of shift in my communication patterns with God. Even then, I didn’t remember my prayer from 2015, my desperate desire to hear God speak to me.
But God remembered. Because God is faithful, and He is unmatched in His goodness. One of my best friends is fond of saying that God’s not some genie that we can call on to have our every wish fulfilled. God’s timing is not the timing of a man like me. But my prayer wasn’t ignored in 2015. God didn’t brush it aside, and He didn’t half answer it. He heard me, and He knew that when the time was right, when it was His time, then He was going to answer my prayer and blow my mind. And leave it up to God to set it up how He did. Same event, same church, mostly the same people in the room, and this time He goes on and on and on. What love is that? I can’t comprehend that kind of love. You’d think God has more important things to do on a Friday night than to chat it up with little ol’ me, yet when you really get to know who He is you start to realize that His love for you is so insanely vast that there’s nowhere He’d rather be than with you. He wants to help us, to guide us, to instruct us, to challenge us, to put us to work for His kingdom, and yes, as I learned, He even wants to joke with us. He is the God of laughter, the Creator of every good thing. He is my dear friend.
So, now we’re at the part where you realize that those 1000 words of the blog so far are actually just an intro. Because for the next few days I want to focus on what I find to be one of the saddest verses in the entire Bible. I’m going to give you the verse today, and then tomorrow we’ll start digging into it.
To set the stage, we’re in 2 Chronicles here (yes, Old Testament still, it’s apparently where I live now) and Manassah has just taken over as the king of Judah. This little dude makes me angry. He’s the son of Hezekiah, who you know from my recent blogs was just an amazing king. Hezekiah is in my top 3 favorite Bible personalities right now, I love the guy that much. Well, when Hezekiah dies, his son Manassah takes the throne. Manassah is only 12 years old at that point, and despite being raised seeing his father do all these wonderful things and make God the top priority and the Lord of the land in Judah and seeing all the benefits and blessings and goodness that came from all of that, Manassah goes a different direction.
2 Chronicles 33:2 And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.
If you keep reading you learn that he did evil the same way most other kings did, and that’s by returning to idol worship (something we talked about all last week). So yeah, this guy just goes full godless and leads his country right back into the waiting arms of all this sin and idol worship that has plagued them for generations. Then comes the Bible verse I want to study the rest of the week.
2 Chronicles 33:10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention.
You know how I feel about hearing from the Lord, I wrote 1000 words at the start of this blog about it. And yet here was a king and a country, paying no attention to the voice of God. I want to dig into what this means for us in modern times and what lesson we can learn from it when we continue this study tomorrow.
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, today I come before you and say thank you. Thank you for speaking to your people. There are so many ways you do it, but you do it, God. It’s crazy to me to think that you care enough to reach out, that when we come to spend time with you you’re always there waiting, that you so graciously welcome us into your throne room. We whine a lot, God, and we rage against what’s best for us, and you meet all of that with your love and your kindness. Your patience, Lord, is unmatched, and I thank you for that right now. Thank you for your great patience. As we start to look at these people who paid no attention to your voice, God, I ask right now that you make us a people that would hear you. Open our ears, God, and brighten our lives with your speech. Thank you that you’re speaking to us, God, through your word, through other people, through direct contact, through prayer, in all the ways you do it, I just thank you for it right now. You make time for us, because you love us and want to talk to us. That’s just incredible. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.
Well, another week is underway my friends. I’ve felt barely awake all day, this overcast weather makes me feel infinitely sleepy! I love you guys. God loves you. He created the world, laid out the galaxies, sets the orbits of the stars, and He also wants to be your friend and have a relationship with you. That just blows my mind every single day.