I once read book that teaches people how to “study” the Bible. I will not mention names or organizations, but just within the first several chapters of this book, the author says, “Be very wary in your study you find something that no one else has ever seen before,” and their statement goes even further, “God probably would not blind godly men to truth for almost 2,000 years,” and here’s my favorite part, “and suddenly reveal it to you.” While I agree with the premise of this quote, it is the way it is said that troubles me. Who are you, (the author), to say what God will or will not “suddenly reveal” to “me.” or anyone else?
I’m not saying that I expect God to “reveal” some obscure meaning or secret, to me, or at this point, anyone else. However, I would never presume to tell you what God would or would not “reveal” to you.
When was the last time God spoke to you? What? You don’t believe God speaks to you? You don’t believe God speaks to people? So if someone were to come along and tell you that God talks to them, you’d think they were, “not all there,” that they “need some rest.”
Don’t be ridiculous, God doesn’t talk to people and he certainly wouldn’t talk to, “ you.”
If God were going to “talk” to you, how would He do it? Perhaps He would come up behind you and tap you on the shoulder. God hasn’t spoken for over two thousand years, and you think when He does finally speak up, it would be to you? I wonder, if I were to go through the Bible and study all the verses where God speaks to someone, what would I learn? When God speaks, does He sound as “thunder”? When God speaks does He “yell out loud” over the crowds, over the loud celebrations of feasts? Does God “scream” at people, from his lofty throne in heaven?
We might even wonder “why” God never talks to us. How often do we give Him a chance to talk to us? Our lives are exploding with 24/7 work, television, sports, loud music, meetings, school, and more. We spend 24/7 trying to please family and friends, bosses and children. We work 24/7 to make sure we have no free time, no idleness on our hands. Many of us can’t even sit quietly long enough to read a single chapter in a book.
We may spend an hour or so in church each week. Some may not go to church at all. We might even be volunteers in our church, or ushers, or even deacons. Does this mean God has plenty of time to talk to us, because we spend a few hours each week in church? Perhaps some of us feel we’re doing God’s work, and say, “isn’t that enough?”
We might think that going to church is how we allow God to speak to us. But, is that why we should be going to church? Could it be that the reason we should be going to church, is not necessarily to “listen” to God, but rather for us, to “speak” to God. Just a thought. Is the reason we don’t give God a chance to “talk,” because we don’t want to hear what He has to tell us? Perhaps we’re simply afraid to hear what he has to say.
I can’t blame someone for being afraid to listen to God. I’ve been there. I’m sure most of the human race has been there. We’re all guilty of things. We’re all ashamed of things in our lives, past or present. We’re all “afraid of” what things God has to say to us. But this is where Jesus comes into our lives. This is where we must put our faith in Jesus Christ. This is where we must believe in the love, the freedom, and the salvation that Jesus offers every single one of us.
I’m sure it’s hard at first. I’ve been there. What changed my mind? What gave me the courage to “listen”? Time. Time gave me the opportunity to think, to read, to study, to believe in Jesus Christ to protect me and keep me safe, to forgive me for the many sins I spent my life committing. I’ve committed so many sins, I can’t even remember what most of them are. But, because I took the time to “listen,” I learned that even though God will never “erase” my many sins, from the books, He has forgiven me for all the wrongs I’ve done.
We must give God time, and not just time in church. Well, you might say, “God’s had over 2,000 years to talk to us.” But, that’s not it at all. It is about “us” and us being quiet enough to listen for, to hear, God speak. Do you think God is going to scream over and above the crowd, gathered in Times Square, to speak to you? Do you think God is going to stop your television program, and speak to you?
Some of you believe in Jesus Christ. Some of you believe He is the Son of God. Some of you believe all the different miracles Jesus performed in the Bible. But do you believe that Jesus has the power to forgive? Do you believe that Jesus Christ has the power to save you from your sins? We must, we must believe in Jesus. We must have faith in Jesus Christ.
We must find a way to get over that initial “fear” and seek Him out, to be quiet long enough to “listen.” We must find a way to have time for “idle hands.” We must find away to quiet all the distractions that our 24/7 world presses upon us. We’re taught that we always have to be ahead of the “other person.” We’re taught that preschool isn’t early enough to teach our children. These days, you’re a bad parent if you don’t read to your child while they are still in your womb. These days, you’re a bad parent if you don’t “pop” your baby out on Friday and don’t get them in some sort of “Einstein” school by Monday. Our 24/7 world works 24/7 to keep you from having time on your hands.
We must find a way to become idle, to become quiet. Many people will say that they meditate. They say they meditate to find peace. The say they meditate to become one with the “spirits” and the “spiritual universe.” How many of those people would say that they meditate for God, that they rest quietly, to hear God speak? I don’t like the word, meditate, not the way the world today, uses the word. It doesn’t say anything about God. It doesn’t say anything about Jesus Christ. I prefer the word, “prayer,” and “praying.”
Just think a moment, would you, about the word, meditate? Because I can assure you that the meaning people give this word in our present times, is not the meaning used in past times. Now I’m not saying that’s a bad word. The bible uses the word a number of times. (Psalm 119:148, Joshua 1:8) If you were, for example, comforting a friend or family member affected by a terrible loss or disaster, would you say to them, “I’ll meditate” for you? No, of course not. You would most likely say, “I’ll pray for you,” or I’ll pray with you,” or perhaps, “our prayers are with you.”
We must make the time, to be quiet. We must make the time to sit in a room. No television, no computer, no phones, and no distractions. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Can you carve out just fifteen minutes each day? Can you sit, quietly, in a room, with no distracts for fifteen minutes? You don’t have to be a monk, or a student, studying five hours a day. In just fifteen minutes, can you sit quietly and try to hear what God has to say?
God’s not going to push his way to the front of the line, to get dibs on you. God’s not likely to interrupt your regularly scheduled television program, to get your attention. And , if He does, speak to your pastor or priest before you go around telling people that. Remember God said, “They have ears, but they cannot hear…” (Psalms 115:6)
Is god going to speak to you in the first fifteen minutes of your quiet time? Only God can answer that. You might say, “I tried to be quiet for fifteen minutes, but the doorbell rang. Through the door, a stranger said her car broke down, and asked to you a phone. I turned the deadbolt to the lock position and told her to try the next door neighbor.” The next day, as soon as you begin your fifteen minute quiet time, you say “the telephone rang. I answered it. It was just someone from my church, asking for volunteers, but I told them I was just too busy.” You exclaim, “I just don’t have time!” You say you don’t have time to help a stranger. You say you don’t have time to volunteer at your church. You say you don’t have fifteen minutes to spare.
No worries, God’s a pretty patient God. I’m sure He’ll give you more time. I heard He gave Sodom over 400 years, but they still refused to repent. No worries, I’m sure God will wait for you. What? You won’t be around in 400 years? No worries, He’s got that covered to, for Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead. (2 Tim 4:1)
It all starts with us. We must make the time to “listen” to God. God’s not taking your call? How long was it before you finally took his. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Please, let’s make time for God! Let’s give Him more than an hour or so each Sunday. Let’s quiet our minds, so we can hear Him.
© Clayton Moore 2016