Hearing God; August 19, 2020

John 4:44 Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.

John, writing years after the actual events, sometimes put things into a different chronology than the other Gospel writers, and he deliberately recorded things that they hadn’t, but he lived through the same experiences as Matthew and Peter (whose recollections were recorded by Mark). That said, this is an affirmation of Luke, who wrote his Gospel on the basis of interviews and research. This particular statement of Jesus is recorded in Luke 4:24, though He may have said it more than once. The attitude to which Jesus referred is something most of us have experienced. It’s part of the whole, “familiarity breeds contempt” phenomenon. It’s a major reason why it is very refreshing for a preacher to be invited to speak at a church other than his own, and the farther away the better. A visiting speaker can come in and say essentially the same things the pastor has been trying to get through for months, and the congregation will respond like it is new revelation. This obviously is a problem endemic to human nature, so we need to be aware of it in ourselves, and not just point fingers at others. Our focus needs to be on hearing God accurately, whether He speaks through a “superstar” preacher, your spouse, or a total stranger.

As a preacher myself, I remind myself that God used a donkey to speak to Balaam, (Numbers 22) so I’m not to be overly impressed with myself when He speaks through me. However, I’ve got to turn that around and be willing to hear Him through whomever He chooses to speak. I am grateful that I have a far larger audience over the Internet than I do here in person, but I’ll confess I don’t spend a lot of time listening to other preachers over the Internet. That may be a mistake. I am extremely grateful that He is so faithful to speak to me through the Bible, particularly as I read it early each morning, but I must not specify, even unconsciously, how He “has to” speak to me. Yesterday He used a good friend to help me organize my day, telling me to do the “weed eating” after supper when it was cooler, and use the afternoon to draw up the Scripture reading list for next month, in air-conditioned comfort.

Father, I truly delight to have You speak through me, but I need to delight to listen to You even more. Help me remember the first time You spoke to me through what might as well have been an audible voice, when I was pestering You for guidance until You finally said to me, very clearly, “Well then, shut up.” Help me not rattle, at You or at anyone, but listen first and speak only as You direct, 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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