1 Chronicles 15:13 “It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.”
The story of bringing the ark back to Jerusalem is familiar to most people who went to Sunday School. One of the biggest lessons to be taken from it is stated here: we need to do things God’s way. I’ve heard people say that God “wasn’t fair” in zapping Uzzah for trying to keep the ark from falling off the ox cart they used in the first attempt, (1 Chronicles 12:9-10) but the whole point was that they were in a sense trying to manipulate God, doing things however seemed good to them, instead of seeking God’s directions. Instructions for transporting the ark are given very clearly and repeatedly in the Pentateuch, which was the Bible they had at the time. I’m sure they thought they were doing a good thing, using a new cart and all that, but the point was that they didn’t seek God for what He had to say about it. People today might think, “God doesn’t talk to me,” but do they search the Bible to find out what He has already said about the subject in question? We don’t realize that failing to seek God is placing ourselves on God’s level, or even above Him. That’s exactly what Eve did in Eden, when she yielded to the devil’s lies about the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: she trusted her judgment over what God had clearly said. (Genesis 3:5-6) We need to do better than she did, and seek God first.
I will never forget the first time I heard God speak to me in what could have been an audible voice. I was driving at the time, worried about some issue and praying as I drove, begging God to speak to me and tell me what I needed to do, essentially praying non-stop. When I paused for breath, I heard the Lord say, with utmost clarity, “Well then, shut up.” I was so shocked, I’m thankful the Lord kept me from wrecking the car! When I recovered from the shock, I started laughing, realizing how silly I was to ask God to speak and then failing to be in a listening posture, and instead just rattling at Him. Some people have trouble believing God is really listening to us. I don’t think I’ve had that problem, but He’s certainly taught me to be active in listening to Him – not that I’ve done it that consistently. I have experienced Him speaking in what seemed like an audible voice a very few times, but feeling a very clear impression from Him is frequent, and I recognize His voice every time I open the Bible. I have received prophecy quite a few times and I have been used in prophecy many more. For that matter, I couldn’t begin to count how many times I’ve been praying out loud and been surprised and moved by the words that came from my mouth. God even uses my own voice to speak to me! As a pastor, I’m deeply grateful to be able to hear God myself, but I want that for every believer. I don’t want them dependent on me! I tell them frequently that God loves us all and speaks to us all, and I seek to teach them to listen.
Father, thank You for speaking to us so graciously, even grabbing our attention when necessary. Help me indeed listen constantly, consistently, and hearing, help me obey You completely, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!