Creating space for God to speak to us… It's an interesting thought. If God wants to, of course, God could crash into your party and force you to listen… but usually, God doesn't show himself in the wind, or the quake. God usually likes to whisper to us. It's God's way of being gentle on our fragile hearts and ears.
God's voice could tear us apart. His breath could rip the skin from our bones. His powerful word could destroy us. If he wants.
Or God's voice could create us. His breath could mend our tissue back together. His powerful word could give us new life. If he wants.
I know which way I would rather have God speak to me. The gentle whisper. To have God speak with calm, patient love is my preference.
But am I willing to listen. If yes, God will call out gently. If no, God will eventually need to clap his hands and thunder his voice in my direction. If I turn my ear TO God, God will bend his knee and dwell with me. If I turn my ear FROM God, God will stand… and I will bend… and I will dwell alone…
In 1 Samuel 3 we see the preferred method. In 1 Samuel 4 we see the thunder. In both chapters, Eli asks "What's the noise?" In the first instance, the noise is a gentle whisper from God to the boy Samuel. Samuel's heart is turned to God, his ear is ready to listen, his response is a dwelling with the Lord. In the second instance, the noise is the turmoil of invasion and death. Eli's sons' rejected God, their ears attuned to only themselves, their response a choice of destruction.
Is there room in our ears to listen to God… or are we too crowded within ourselves? Is there space for God's word to dwell within us… or are we too full of ourselves? Is there freedom to hear God… or are we enslaved to the noise we filled ourselves with?
Amanda! In a short time you have become one of my favorite people in the world! Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I notice in 1 Samuel 3 that God calls to Samuel 4 times before Samuel finally says “Yes Lord I’m listening.” God is so patient with our distracted ears.
I love those face to face passages, Andrew. I’m always struck by them. God is holy. God is powerful and pure. Completely. More than completely even. And were I to stand face to face with him, I should die. The only way I could remain alive is if God allowed me too. That’s grace. That’s mercy.
I love your thought that “we should slow down before coming into his presence”. It’s a great practice… to get into God’s rhythm as we meet with him. Right now I’m preparing my heart to spend some moments speaking to and hearing from God… so I’m just trying to breathe deep and clear myself of clutter… Thanks for the comment, Andrew!
That’s fantastic! Thanks for the note, MistiPearl. God often affirms things to us through unexpected connections.
I figured this out this past week when God said “AMANDA TURN OFF YOUR FLIPPIN IPOD”, & I finally listened. Needless to say, it’s been a very fulfilling week!
I just think it’s so cool that God will actually go so far as to try to reach us for the 2nd, 10th, 64th time if we turn our ear all the times before that.
Thanks for your post, it’s a great reminder. I think I shall go read 1 Samuel now..
In our youth meetings we have been talking about the fear of God and what that means and looks like. Most of the time it came down to a respect and awe of God, but in my group we took a look at what happens when God meets people face to face, or in God’s very presence. It was interesting to note through the transfiguration, the intro of Revelations and the meeting of Israel at Mount Sinai how the reactions were all so similar. In all three passages as soon as the presence of God comes, the people or individual present is so terrified that they are earnestly afraid for their lives if they do not fall down “as though dead”. I found this to be fascinating as it seems to indicate something about what we should expect to see and experience in God’s presence. Can we even stand or will God’s mere presence blow us away to the point of death? That fear and natural reaction to something so much greater than ourselves is tamed by God’s response through whomever is speaking for him is “do not be afraid” and then he helps the person back to their feet. Perhaps the God who speaks violently is still a God of sufficient compassion and love that he is willing to reach down to us even after we have fallen down. I just thought this was an interesting link between the vocally terrifying God and the quiet peaceful one we all wish to come to us. At the very least we should slow down before coMing into his presence enough to recognize that he can simply blow us away. We ended with a look at Job and his response to God’s boasting. I am dust and ash, who did I think I was to tell you, God, that your plan was bad? Good post Ken.
Hi Ken, great post! It hits home with me today, as I was inquiring of the Lord and found myself absolutely overwhelmed with the distractions of existence around me that I knew I was allowing to drown out the sound of my Maker’s voice. I pushed it aside, only to be convicted by your words written this morning. I will set myself apart today and quiet all things and focus, making room for my King to speak His Heart to me….Apparently, He raised His voice a bit through you – thankfully… 😉
Smiles and Blessings to you!