I revisited my (proportionally) hardly full big black journal this evening, post a short conversation that I had last night around how I find it difficult to keep a ‘prayer journal’. I kept one for quite some time in 2004. Had a bit of a think/rant about how I still often treat prayer like a wish list (unintentionally) or at least think of it that way – despite doing the communication thing with God and just don’t call it prayer. I still however am far better and doing the my end thing and suck fairly well at listening.
My journalling slid into more of a processing. After weighing up the differences and similarities of what I do now, I slid to finishing some scrawl and meeniemoed between reading more of Lost Women of the Bible or the Bible. I chose the Bible after considering the slight guilty feeling in that I always novels far more interesting and I really should put a little more effort into something that I do find enjoyable but find far more difficult to get motivated to read. Consideration was enhanced by the fact that the Bible is pretty much a means of communicion from God to us.
After running through the whole: what can I learn about God through this etc… And a slight huh and brush aside of certain concepts, I hit the last few verses.
As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you. “He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (v.27-28)
So I started wandering my brain aka. analysing the: ‘hear the word of God’. And how it’s far easier to ‘read the word of God’.
I need a lesson in listening to God, for it seems that I don’t leave much space for it.
And so you get all these incidents of people in the Bible hearing quite literally from or just hearing God:
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day” – Gen 3:8
“And you said, “The LORD our God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire. Today we have seen that a man can live even if God speaks with him.” – Deut 5:24
“”Then he said: ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.” – Acts 22:14-15 (to Saul)
And then you get the hearing from God through others,
” And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.” – 1 Thess 2:13
Then hearing God often depicted as a whisper,
The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. – 1 Kings 19-11-13
This passage is actually quite facinating – if not confusing. The Lord is already talking to Elijah… and then he talks in third person about what is defined as the ‘presence of the LORD’ which as Elijah waits, comes in a whisper. This holds to a scale-like balance of what the heck is going on here? Is it something we are being shown early on about the Trinity? You’d think presence would run with God’s word? If he was hearing from God, wouldn’t there be God’s presence uh, present? :\ confusing!
and the verse Tilla gave me as parting, part (oh I’m sure doing well tonight!) of my letter. Although this is of Jesus talking to the disciples so a slightly different context.
What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight;
What is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.
hmm not quite sure where I’m running with this blog…
I guess when I was scanning blogger for verses and inspiration I was struck by how much of the ‘listen, hear, heard’ verses were about God listening to us. I am so grateful for his consitency, his faithfulness, his willingness to hear us out, and to really listen. Hearing is only part of listening. Listening is active, hearing is passive.
Christianity is a religon, being a Christian is a relationship. Not exclusive. Jesus died for me yes, but he did that for the plural, the masses- not just the singular. So much alludes to this, the model of prayer given in (whichever of the gospels) is a, “give US… lead US not, deliver US”
Come and Listen
David Crowder (based on Psalm 66:16)
Come and listen, come to the water’s edge, all you who know and fear the Lord.
Come and listen, come to the water’s edge all you who are thirsty, come.
Let me tell you what He has done for me.
Let me tell you what He has done for me,
He has done for you,
He has done for us.
Come and listen,
come and listen to what He’s done.
Praise our God for He is good.
He has done for me,
He has done for you,
He has done for us.
This hearing thing goes far beyond the me to God, God to me relationship. God involves the whole of humanity, he involves creation. I/we need to be watching for how he is speaking and go beyond the exclusive act of listening and be as ready to help others hear. To do that, we have to first listen ourselves.
This is what he has done. Is doing. Will do. Find that. Speak that. Live that.
If I can take comfort in the fact that hearing to humans predominatly comes without effort… we are guided by our parents into more of an understanding of how to actually stop and intentionally listen to what we hear until we reach a maturity where by that becomes a choice we can make, that God will continue to do the same as he grows us and leads us forward.
Our ears are part of our body, as are our minds. If God wishes to make something known he surely will. In human terms we can make people listen by raising our voice or physically turning thier head to make them look you in the face. We have the ability to hear but it’s difficult to cultivate a good realtionship when direct force must be made for open communication.
We can find God’s presence, and hear him in something of great or small consequence, by grace and by choice and in waiting on him. We have ears and God has given us and is growing in us constantly the maturity to listen.
Relationship never took no work. This is no different. You have to want to listen and chase that.
Whatever that may mean.