January 16, 2015

2 Chronicles 33:10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention.

Can you say, bad move? This could be the very definition of a bad move, but it’s all too common. God speaks to everyone, actually, but the vast majority have no spiritual ears to hear Him. That’s why Jesus told His disciples they were blessed, because they had eyes that could see and ears that could hear, spiritually speaking. (Matthew 13:16) Things got pretty rough for Manasseh because of his turning his back on God, but he at least had the good sense to repent and humble himself before God. So many don’t seem to come to their senses no matter what happens to them! As it says so clearly in Psalm 95, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Psalm 95:7-8) The problem is one of hearing Him in the first place, and then of being humble and obedient enough to do what He says. We tend to mystify “hearing from God” to the point that it seems impossible for the ordinary human being to experience, but nothing could be further from the truth. As Paul said, all of Creation speaks of God. (Romans 1:20) That is the most general of categories, but God gets more specific with each individual as well. One of those ways is what we call a conscience, yet no one alive has ever lived so as never to violate their conscience. The clearest, most specific way God speaks to us is through His Word, the Bible, but the vast majority of people in the world read it seldom if ever. Of course, the devil does all he can to try to discredit the Bible and get people to ignore it, but that’s no excuse. For those whose hearts have been “tuned to the right frequency,” so to speak, by reading the Bible with humility and faith, God speaks almost constantly, not necessarily as specific instructions but as an awareness of His Presence and love, with correction and instruction provided when necessary.

It has taken me a long time to move toward that last category, and just as Paul said, I haven’t arrived fully yet, (Philippians 3:12-14) but I am deeply grateful for the progress I have made in that direction. Though I have been used in prophecy, I have learned that such specific words are only a small part of how God speaks. Several years ago He allowed me to realize that He could and would direct me in lane changes as I drove. When I depend on my own calculations of which lane will move faster it never benefits me in the long run, but when I pay attention to His gentle nudges, I get through traffic very smoothly. It’s something of a barometer of how open I am to Him, and often enough I have to repent of being hardheaded. As a pastor, I desire that everyone in the flock learn more and more how to hear God, and certainly not just on Sunday mornings. I need wisdom from the Holy Spirit to train them, because I certainly can’t do it on my own! I need to keep growing in my own sensitivity and obedience, and encourage them that they can do the same.

Father, I keep getting the strong feeling that this is to be a very eventful year. Yesterday we had the great shock of hearing of the sudden death of a good friend of Cathy’s for the past 33 years, and that friend never committed to Christ, though she was given the opportunity numbers of times. We can’t force anyone to listen to You, but we do pray that Your words through us by Your Spirit would be effective in bringing people to repentance and faith while there is time, for their salvation and 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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