Speak to Me, Lord
by Dale Reeves
This past Sunday in our “Dangerous Prayers” series at church, teaching pastor Brad Wilson talked about the importance of being willing to stop the craziness of our lives long enough to be still and really listen to God. We must be willing to listen and be ready to obey whatever he speaks to us. And, that’s just as hard as getting ourselves quiet enough to hear him, because he may tell us something to do that we don’t want to hear. The Bible is full of examples of those who listened to God, then were told to do something pretty crazy.
Speaking of crazy, I don’t know anyone who has enjoyed waiting on the final result of our presidential election this week, but I know many people who have dealt with lots of anxiety and worry over it. In our fast-food, Instant-Pot culture we want what we want—and we want it now. Being still before God, and not rambling on to him while we wait with expectancy for what he will speak to us are things very few people in our society today excel at.
This week in my morning quiet time I have found some comfort in a devotional called “Still,” written by recording artist Michael W. Smith. Each morning includes a video with powerful Scripture verses set to a background of instrumental worship music and videos of God’s majestic creation. If you want a great way to start your day, and a helpful guide for asking God to walk you through our uncertain times, I would encourage you to check out these videos:
Find a quiet place today and read these Scriptures, asking God to wash over you anew, give you peace, and speak words that only he can speak.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8, NLT).
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV).
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken” (Psalm 62:5, 6, ESV).
“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:5, NIV).
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).
“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:2, 3, NLT).
Many Voices Vs. One Voice
We live in a world today in which we hear many voices speaking to us all the time. Conflicting voices. Confusing voices. Complete opposite ends of the spectrum voices. What should we do? What should we watch? Who should we be listening to? In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.” I would add to that, stop, be still, and listen to what God is saying to you.
At the end of the day, there is one voice that we should be listening to more than any other voice clamoring for our attention. Jesus of Nazareth said,
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me . . . My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:14, 27, NLT).
He also said in John 10:2-4, “The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice” (NLT).
His Voice Speaks
How do we know how to recognize his voice out of the throng of so many other voices vying for our attention? It can be extremely hard to hear God these days because most of us don’t have much silence in our lives. You may have grown up in the church all your life, but have you learned—really learned—to listen to the voice of Jesus? Kids grow up in the church and try to survive on their parents’ faith, then when their faith is challenged and they don’t know what they believe, they sometimes fall away from God and the church. It happens all the time. I would propose it’s because they have just accepted what they heard from their parents, but never really owned it for themselves, and never really learned how to listen to what God is telling them.
In our self-centered, me-first, so-many-voices-clamoring-for-our-attention culture today, I believe that spending time to hear from God is as vital to your spiritual health as a blood transfusion is to a person who is bleeding to death!
What can you give up in order to spend more time listening to God’s voice? Can I challenge you today to spend less time consuming national and social media and more time being consumed by God’s Words of absolute truth? And, can I invite you to scroll back up to the Scripture verses listed under the TRUTH heading, and read and meditate on them again. Then ask God to really speak to you today. When you ask him to speak to you, he will.