The last time we looked at what my fingers typed we considered how a closed mind could be a barrier to the sound of God’s voice. The same is true of a closed heart. What are some signs that a heart attitude might be hindering us from hearing God?
Look what will happen – “We might die!”
In contrast to Gideon, who doubted that God would speak to him, in another account the Israelites gathered around Mount Sinai. They had been on a journey and came to a mountain that visually turned them away, smoke, clouds, and lightening – “…very, very frightening…” was line in a Queen song called Bohemian Rhapsody and the same words came to mind and hit home here. The nation is challenged convinced that God had something to say. But they were terrified by the prospect! As God spoke from the mountain, the people “trembled with fear” and pleaded with Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die” Ex. 20:18–19.
Sometimes we too shut out the voice of God because we fear what God might say. We may not worry, as the Israelites did, that God’s words could kill us. But fear shuts out what God has to say. We may say never me but when has the fear of the situation held us up, caused us to run away and not take up the moment? The Father as something to say and we have wince at the possibility that He could make uncomfortable demands.
What if God were to command us to change our ways? What if God were to call us to some great sacrifice?
That’s precisely what the Father often does. Read the word of the Lord to the believers in the seven churches of Asia, recorded in the opening chapters of Revelation. God praised their virtues and good works, but then there was the warning to them that the sufferings ahead would require great sacrifices, the change your ways, the come up here. The Lord punctuated each message with the same command: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says” Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22. Nevertheless, the words always concluded with words of hope and a promise of salvation “to him who overcomes” 3:21.
If what will it mean is deafening us to God’s voice, we should bear in mind that the rewards of heeding are priceless and eternal. No matter what God calls us to, we can take courage, “for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” 2 Cor. 4:17.
All that I need I have – “We’ve got horses!”
Another heart issue that hinders hearing is that God’s people sometimes have trouble hearing because of pride. One form of pride leads us to assume that we have things under control and have no need for a conversation with God. The Old Testament prophets often warned against this. Zephaniah, for example, rebukes those who “neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him” Zeph. 1:6.
God has a cure for misplaced confidence in ourselves: the allowing of difficult circumstances to overwhelm us and remind us how desperately we need God’s guidance.
During Isaiah writing his account, as the nations where bearing down, the on coming of the physical threat to Judah by Assyria. Leadership should have been asking God for protection and direction, but they lost their bearings and made a logical and calculated decision and made an alliance with Egypt, with Egypt? What did God think of that arrangement? “Woe to the obstinate children…to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit. Is. 30:1
Through Isaiah, the Lord called the people to trust in God’s protection. But they responded, “No, if trouble comes we’ve got horses for a getaway!” “So be it,” God replied. “You’ll take to your horses, and your enemies will pursue and overtake you” see vv. 16–17.
God’s mercy reaches great heights, its is great. “How gracious he will be when you cry for help!” Isaiah reminded the prideful people. “As soon as he hears, he will answer you” v 19.
And how will God show compassion once we have abandoned our self-sufficiency? By speaking to us. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left,” He promises, “your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” v. 21.
It should have come through Mr.& Mrs? – “I’m not listening to a donkey!” Pride can also lead us to presumptions about the kind of messenger God should use. We can close our hearts and ears to God’s voice if we consider the courier unfit for the job. Remember the blind beggar Jesus healed? When the Pharisees examined him, he tried to tell them that Jesus was a prophet sent from God to whom they should listen John 9. But they had already concluded that Jesus was just a troublemaker, so they rejected the message and the messenger. “‘You were steeped in sin at birth,” they told the man who had been healed. “How dare you lecture us!” V 34
There seems to be a continuous way of God woven here that God speaks to us through people we might never, better said definitely would not have chosen? An unacceptable person, different in culture, a fringe person to their society speaks out for Gods case. A child makes a profound statement of spiritual wisdom beyond her years. A so-called enemy, which can be physical enemy or emotional enemy, brings to us with an uncomfortable truth. A stranger makes a passing remark that opens a door of direction for us. God spoke through Balaam’s donkey Num. 22:21–34. That means God can speak through anybody!
Whenever you or I have done the very thing of dismissing God due to the massagers, if it’s the style or what is said, as we have realized we have dismissed God and have become unable to hear the Father, we realize its really is the voice of God speaking through the vessel. A vessel that in our mind perhaps we thought unworthy or not up to whom we wanted, or not who we wanted to hear from. Stop for a moment, just tell the Father, confess our pride he will hear us although we could not hear God. Without judgment or put down the Father hears you and me, just admit it and watch out as the Father speaks again. Go the next step and thank the person, the one you said, “…never could be too…” the one God used. This act of humility can help prevent future presumption.
Another way to swallow our pride is to habitually and humbly seek good counsel from. Become a constant learner looking to learn from the youngest to oldest the most to the least, what ever lines you have drawn regarding whom you can learn from rub them out, learn from whom ever and where ever, “EVERYTHING IS SPIRIRUAL” remember, that is seeing God in all things constantly communicating to us, hearing God every where. Don’t miss God and wait for a repeat God is ever speaking to us.
“You’re not the God of me!”
When we turn our backs on God, preferring to do things our way, our ears grow deaf to Gods voice. This is no new phenomenon. When God instructed the nation of Judah how to live righteously,
They turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit. Zech. 7:11–12
The result? “The Lord Almighty was very angry”v.12. A hardened heart is at enmity with God, and in the end, those who oppose God will suffer calamity. “Listen!” says the Lord to rebels. “I am going to bring a disaster…that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle” Jer. 19:3. One way or another, we will end up listening.
So what do I do turn back to the Lord, seeking God’s forgiveness and recognizing His sovereignty. He can give us a new heart, so that we can say with the prophet: “The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back” Is. 50:5.
For me I have found helpful is discovering a view of God that the bible shows us not what we are told God is like but discovering God as God. Learning that God constantly is bringing us to see God as God is, not what religious or Christian culture, sometimes paints. I suppose we could say “…as God is so are we…” so we better discover a right view so we can “be”. Our judgmental, no generous way will define for us what we do and what we don’t do and is harmful to us and others. It paints an incorrect picture/view first for our selves next for the world around us. Is this not what has happened and people don’t want anything to do with the church due to the view painted we better get a correct view here. This view of Gods magnificence, Gods greatness reflect upon it and consider my smallness and be overwhelmed with God.
Consider God working in discipline different from often times “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Heb. 12:10–11
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him. Lam. 3:21–25
When I need to recover my sense of dependency on God, I find help here:
What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift? 1 Cor. 4:7, RSV
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. Jas. 1:17
If I’m struggling with submission to God’s sovereignty, I consider God’s words to Job.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!…Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?…Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. Job 38:4–5, 12, 18
Moses’ song to God in Exodus 15 is another passage that helps me adopt a submissive spirit:
Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? . . . In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. vv. 11, 13
After reflecting on such passages that remind me of the nature of our God, I’ll find my heart opening to Gods will—and my ears opening to Gods voice.