God places His desires in our hearts. With our eyes focused on Him, we can pray and sing with sincerity “Nearer my God to Thee, even though it be a cross that raises me…..(Hymn penned by Sarah Flower Adams). That “cross” can take many forms individually as we journey through life experiencing the many “trials of our faith”, (1 Peter 1:7). As each trial is completed, we can proceed upwards, leaving behind all the cling-on baggage we carried before and through the trial. By God’s grace and mercy, He brings us through these times, our dross disintegrates in His holy fire. As we emerge from the trial, a new creature in Christ, Calvary draws a double line on the past and our baggage is replaced with a clean sheet, resurrection life, to travel onward and upward with a rejoicing heart – to God be the glory, great things He has done! Indeed!
1 Samuel 3 records the young life of the child, Samuel, ministering to the Lord in the temple before the old priest, Eli. As Samuel’s biography unfolds, the record reveals how Samuel heard the Lord’s voice calling him, but had not yet learnt to recognise the voice of God. Eli discerns that it is God speaking to the boy, Samuel, and teaches him how to respond next time he hears.
Just like Samuel, we each have to learn to recognise the voice of God in our lives, when there are so many voices today attempting to control us. 1 Samuel 3: 10 continues, “And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel……knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord. And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord”.
Samuel had learnt to recognise the voice of God. He became an oracle for the word of God to the people, thus his words carried godly authority…..and the record states that the Lord “let none of his words fall to the ground”. Let us open ourselves to this challenge: Where is the authority in your words?
If I am seeking to settle something out of my intellect, my words will fall to the ground and be ineffective. However, if I have heard God’s voice and am delivering what He has spoken, His words are creative and carry His authority. God’s words uphold themselves, I do not need to try and prop them up or help God fulfil them!
Many preachers have expounded on setting the rhythm for our lives. Just what is my disposition every morning as I face a new day? As a Christian I should be disposed to living in the “rest of God” described in Hebrews 4. If I do not set this rhythm for my life, then the world and it’s many voices will set it for me, resulting in doubt, stress or confusion. When I find God’s peace in me is disturbed by circumstance, I need to take note of the warning and refuse to continue along that path. To ignore the fluctuation on my “peace barometer” is akin to driving through red traffic lights. As I heed the warning, I will hear God’s voice, not necessarily audibly, but the Holy Spirit convicts and guides us.
Jesus declared, “My sheep hear my voice”, John 10:27. As I learn to obey His voice, the clearer it will become so I no longer have the conflict of “Was it me or was it God speaking?”
Holy Ghost conviction draws us closer to the Lord as we respond to the conviction…….but condemnation from our own heart prevents us from hearing God’s voice. God has given us a word to combat this: 1 John 3:20 “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things”. As I humble before the Lord, His word absolves me of condemnation. The indwelling Christ makes me free to walk in His resurrection life – made new and whole in Jesus! The blockage is removed and and as I reset His rhythm for my life, I will hear Him more clearly, as I choose to obey and respond quickly. There is a blessedness that results from obedience.
Every step I take with God is a miracle. To hear His voice is a miracle. I have dispositions of my own that need surrendering to the Lord to make room for His…..and many more miracles will follow. God permits my circumstances to draw me closer to Him. His greatest desire is for intimacy with His children. He uses everything to draw us closer to listen, hear and recognise His voice. As He speaks to us, none of His words will fall to the ground as I appropriate them in my life.
Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I send it.”