Speak to me, part two

So this week I’m looking at what I consider to be one of the saddest scriptures in the entire Bible. We’re here with the wayward little king of Judah, Manasseh, who took the throne at the age of 12 and undid all the good his awesome father had done and restores all the idols and all this idol worship to Judah. And then we get this.

2 Chronicles 33:10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention.

I don’t know that there’s much more important in life than having the Lord speak to you. It’s hearing some sort of call or urging from God that brings us to salvation, and once you’re with the King of Kings I struggle to see that on the hierarchy of things that matter there is much that goes above actually hearing from God. I shared yesterday about my desperate desire to hear from God, to have Him speak to me, and the incredible, ongoing ways He did it last week. It was an unbelievable gift, one that I will cherish for all of my days.

Yet in this verse in 2 Chronicles, here’s a king and an entire people that have no appreciation for this gift. It wasn’t a lack of the gift, they had the gift. The Bible tells us clear as day, The Lord spoke. God is talking to these people, but what was their reaction? They paid no attention.

I think God put this on my heart to write about because He really wants us to understand the two components to communication. There is the speaking, and there is the hearing. You might just assume that if someone is talking to you, that’s communication, but it’s not. I pretty much guarantee that every person reading this can call upon a memory when someone was talking to you and you weren’t listening. I can share one from just last week at my job. On my lunches, I eat at my desk and watch different work seminars and take online certification courses, because I’m a nerd and also because I really want to be great at my job. So I’m sitting there learning about inbound marketing and eating some Pringles and something occurs to me. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS VIDEO IS ABOUT. I’d been sitting there for like five straight minutes, staring at the screen, watching the guy’s mouth move, seeing different graphics and information pop up, and I hadn’t heard a single word of it. My brain was on autopilot, Elvis had left the building, I’d turned the ol’ brain power off.

Listening and hearing what is being said to us is every bit as active and important as speaking when it comes to communication. Jesus spoke about hearing several times in the Bible.

Luke 11:28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Matthew 7:24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

There are a few things I feel that God wants us to get out of this. First, is the fact that we have to hunger after His voice. If it is not your deep desire to hear the voice of God then I fear that you may not be where you need to be in your walk with Him. And I’m sorry if that came off blunt or judgmental, but in my heart I just can’t reconcile knowing who God is, knowing His goodness and His love and the care He takes of us and not wanting to hear from Him. So I feel like that’s the first thing God’s saying to us this week, is that we should be hungering to hear His voice.

The other thing I think this whole idea tells us is that we need to get where God speaks. Now, let me just say right now, God’s God, or in His own words from the book of Exodus “I AM WHO I AM”. God can speak to you in the shower, while you’re asleep, while you drive, when you’re cleaning the oven, there is not a single limit that exists on God. However, I’ve found that God speaks most to me when I am super focused on Him. So for me, the question becomes, when am I super focused on God?

I am super focused on God when I study my Bible. This is the primary way and time He speaks to me. I am super focused on God at church, this is a place where He speaks to me. I am super focused on God when I’m spending time with other believers, this is a way in which He speaks to me. I am super focused on God when I’m worshiping Him through praise and worship music, this is a way in which He speaks to me.

God also spoke to me a few weeks ago when I was making a sandwich, so again, in His own words, “I AM WHO I AM”. But, primarily, my experience in hearing from God is when I’m actively making God the focus. So far, He’s not spoken to me when I was playing a video game, or when I was watching a movie. God’s capable of anything, but so far He hasn’t reached out to me via my various methods of self-entertainment. God’s yet to speak to me during John Cena’s entrance while I watch wrestling.

We need to identify the hot spots for God-talk in our lives and we need to get into those spots more often than we are. I’m talking to myself here just as much as I’m talking to anyone else. Truthfully, I haven’t been keeping the same pace in my Bible studies as I was last year. And thus, I’m not hearing God’s voice through my Bible at the same rate as I was last year. Isn’t that sad? I know a way to get God talking to me, a sure-fire way that’s never failed me, and yet I’m not spending as much time in that spot as I could be. I hate what I’m about to do, but I’m going to do it anyways.

2 Chronicles 33:10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention.

That hurts, to be able to drop that verse into a place where it easily could have my name inserted into it instead of Manasseh. The Lord is speaking to us through His incredible Bible. How many of us can honestly say we’re listening to His voice by reading and studying the Bible as much as we can and as much as we should? He does His part and speaks through those words. Are we doing our part and listening?

God wants to talk to us. He wants to be in a relationship with us. God is our friend, and friendships thrive on communication. Friendships don’t exist without speaking and listening, an ongoing back and forth that creates a deeper and deeper bond and love between the two friends. God’s talking, guys. He talked my ear off on Friday night! He speaks to me through beautiful revelations and visions when I read and study His word. The nearer I draw to Him, the more I focus on Him in my life, the clearer I hear His voice.

God’s talking. He’s doing His part. Let’s do ours and start listening more.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, the first thing I want to do today is repent of not listening to your voice.  My first thought goes to all those years I barely prayed, never read my Bible, never came to church.  But I also repent for the ways I still don’t listen.  God, I’m sorry that I’ve slacked off on my Bible studies.  I know in my heart that you enjoy that time we spend together, and the fact that I haven’t been doing it as much breaks my heart.  You’re in that book, waiting to hang out with me.  Where have I been?  God, I thank you for the forgiveness that I know you have for me on these things, and I ask right now that you help me and everyone else do better at our part of communicating with you.  Help us to be listeners, God, and awaken in us a deep hunger to hear your voice.  Lord, let us identify the places in life where you speak to us and let us make them our home.  Let it take an act of God to move us out of those places.  And God, thank you that you’re still speaking.  You haven’t given up on us, you haven’t written us off.  We’ve been bad friends, yet you’re always there, ready and willing to hang out with us and talk with us.  Help us be better friends to you, Lord, help us to find as much joy in the relationship that you do.  Thank you for all that you are, all that you do, and all that you’re still planning to do for us.  Thank you for being my friend.  In Jesus’ precious name I pray, amen.

Well, I love you guys.  I don’t know about you, but I’m consistently blown away by the love that God has for us.  Most friends don’t hang around if you ignore them long enough, yet God’s always there, excited to pick back up the relationship and do His part to create a deeper bond of fellowship and love.  Talk to Him today.  Talk to Him about anything and everything.

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