Hearing God; July 21, 2019


Psalm 6:8-9 Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer.

The assurance that God has heard you is a marvelous thing, but I find myself wondering how God gave David that assurance. Today it’s very easy to hear God through reading His Word, but as the Lord reminded me just yesterday, David almost certainly didn’t have that opportunity. And there you have it! God spoke to David’s heart, just as He speaks to ours if we are listening. It can be a huge blessing and encouragement to go back over what I’ve written on previous days and recognize that God was indeed speaking to me, and I heard Him. Actually, in this example David had been in the sort of situation where it can be particularly hard to hear God, because our own desires and emotions are so strong. The extreme and perfect example for us to follow is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Every part of His humanity cried out against the suffering that He knew lay ahead of Him, but He still prayed, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” (Matthew 26:39) Many years ago Joy Dawson wrote out points for hearing God and receiving His guidance, and a very important one was, “Die to what you are praying about.” By that she meant releasing it fully to God, firmly committing to accept God’s answer whatever it is. Frankly, that’s not easy! We do need to get rid of all guilt for desiring whatever it is we are praying for, but unless it is something manifestly sinful to begin with, (which we aren’t likely to be praying for in the first place) asking isn’t wrong. One of the great mysteries of the universe is that the Creator indeed cares about, and speaks to, His seemingly insignificant little creations, us. Just as He gave David assurance that he was heard, He will speak to us in all sorts of ways, if we have the faith to listen.

I know people who often receive dreams from God, but that is a rare occurrence for me. I have one friend who sometime has “waking visions,” where he suddenly sees things in his spirit that would not be visible to his physical eyes. I don’t think I’ve ever had one of those! My wife has the gift of Words of Knowledge, (1 Corinthians 12:8) where God tells her things about situations and people that are not obvious to others. (We have even had people leave this church out of fear that they were being, or would be, exposed because of that gift.) I have experienced that at least once, but it’s hardly common with me. However, every time I open the Bible I am aware that God is speaking. That’s why you can’t convince me not to have my morning devotion times! I have pastor friends who labor over sermons, and that’s not limited to those who aren’t very good at preaching. However, once I’ve heard what the topic is, the rest of the sermon notes generally just flow, almost like I’m taking dictation. (That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes preach duds, because I do, but that’s the usual pattern.) As a pastor I want everyone in the church to recognize that God is speaking to them, and not just through my messages. I want them to read the Bible expectantly, listening for what He is going to say, so that they can act on it in full obedience. If they will do that, I have no worries, because they are firmly on the road to full discipleship.

Father, thank You indeed for speaking to us Your children. Help us all open our hearts and our ears to You more and more, in full joy and obedience, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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