Speaking and Hearing
By Maurice Garton
God never speaks to us in startling ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand, and we say, “I wonder if that is God’s voice?’ Isaiah said that the Lord spoke to him ‘with a strong hand,’ that is, by the pressure of circumstances.
Every time circumstances press, say, ‘Speak, Lord’. Then make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline, R is meant to get me to the place of saying, “Speak, Lord.’ Recall the time when God
last spoke to you. Have you forgotten what He said? As we listen, our ear gets acute, and, like Jesus, we shall hear God all the time.
Why we don’t hear Him
The destiny of my spiritual life is such identification with Jesus Christ that I can learn to hear God, and know that God always hears me (John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God, by the devotion of listening all the time. A lily, or a tree, or a servant of God may convey God’s message to me.
What hinders me from hearing is that I am taken up with other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted to hearing Him. I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes but I do not hear Him.
The child attitude is always, ‘Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.’ If I have not cultivated this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God’s voice at certain times; at other times I am taken up with things which I say I must do, and I become deaf to Him because I am not living the life of a child.
When in darkness
At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God’s hand until we learn to hear Him. Watch where
God puts you into darkness, then remain quiet. Darkness is the time to listen. Don’t talk to other people about R; don’t read books to find out the reason of the darkness, but listen and heed. If you talk to other people, you may not hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.
After every time of darkness there comes a mixture of delight and humiliation (if there is delight only, I question whether we have heard God at all). How slow I have been in understanding that! And yet God
has been saying it all these days and weeks. Now He gives you the gift of humiliation which brings the softness of heart that will always listen to God now.
Readiness for the message
When God speaks, many of us are in a fog, we give no answer. Readiness means a right relationship to God and a knowledge of where we are at present. We are too busy telling God where we would like to go.
The man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who carries off the prize when the summons comes.
Yet readiness for God also means that we are ready to do the tiniest little thing or the great big thing, it makes no difference. We have no choice in what we want to do, whatever God’s program may be we are
there, ready. When any duty presents itself we hear God’s voice as Our Lord heard His Father’s voice, and we are ready for it with all the alertness of our love for Him. Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God. A ready person never needs to get ready.
When God speaks, act
When you know you are hearing God’s voice, act in faith immediately on what He says, and never revise your decisions. If you hesitate when God tells you to do a thing, you endanger your standing in grace. Take
the initiative, take it yourself, take the step with your will now, make it impossible to go back. Burn your bridges behind you -“I will write that letter; ‘I will pay that debt.’ Make the thing inevitable.
We have to get into the habit of hearkening to God about everything, to form the habit of finding out what God says. If when a crisis comes, we instinctively turn to God, we know that the habit has been formed.
We have to take the initiative where we are, not where we are not.
Hearing God through conscience
Conscience is that faculty in me which attaches itself to the highest that I know, and tells me what the highest I know demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either towards God or towards
what it regards as the highest. If I am in the habit of steadily facing myself with God, my conscience will always introduce God’s perfect law and indicate what I should do. The point is, will I obey?
Is my ear so keen to hear the tiniest whisper of the Spirit that I know what I should do? ‘Grieve not the Holy Spirit.” He does not come with a voice like thunder; His voice is so gentle that it is easy to ignore
it. The one thing that keeps the conscience sensitive to Him is the continual habit of being open to God on the inside. When there is any debate, quit for you are on the wrong track. There is no debate possible when conscience speaks. At your peril, you allow any one thing to obscure your inner communion with God.
The Call of God
called Jesus Christ to what seemed unmitigated disaster. Jesus Christ called His disciples to see Him put to death; He led every one of them to the place where their hearts were broken. Jesus Christ’s life was an absolute failure from every standpoint but God’s. But what seemed failure from man’s standpoint was a tremendous triumph from God’s.
There comes the baffling call of God in our lives also … like the call of the sea, no one hears it but the one who has the nature of the sea in him. It cannot be stated definitely what the call of God is to, because His call can be comradeship with Himself for His own purposes. The test is to believe that God knows what He is after. The things that happen do not happen by chance, they happen entirely in the decree of God.
The Small Voice
The voice of the Spirit is as gentle as a zephyr, so gentle that unless you are living in perfect communion with God, you never hear it. The checks of the Spirit come in the most extraordinarily gentle ways, and if you are not sensitive enough to detect His Voice you will quench it, and your personal spiritual life will be impaired. His checks always come as a still small voice, so small that no one but the saint notices them.
Has God trusted you with a silence – a silence that is big with meaning? God’s silences are His answers. Think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany after Lazarus’ death. Is there anything analogous to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking for a visible answer?
God’s silence is the sign that He is bringing you into a marvelous understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? You will find that God has trusted you in the most intimate way possible, with an absolute silence, not of despair, but of pleasure, because He saw that you could stand a bigger revelation.
If God has given you a silence, praise Him; He is bringing you into the great run of His purposes. A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that the contagion of His stillness gets into you and you become
perfectly confident – ‘I know God has heard me. His silence is the proof that He has. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, He will give you the first sign of His intimacy silence.
When We Don’t Want to Hear Him
“And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die, (Exodus 20:19).
We show how little we love God by preferring to listen to His servants only. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we do not desire that God Himself should speak to us. Why are we so terrified lest God
should speak to us? Because we know that if God does speak, either the thing must be done or we must tell God we will not obey Him. If it is only the servant’s voice we hear, we feel it is not imperative, we can say, ‘Well, that is simply your own idea, though I don’t deny it is probably God’s truth.’
Am I putting God in the humiliating position of having treated me as a child of His whilst all the time I have been ignoring Him? When I do hear Him, the humiliation I have put on Him comes back on me ‘Lord, why was I so dull and so obstinate?, This is always the result when once we do hear God. The real delight of hearing Him is tempered with shame in having been so long in hearing Him.
This article is from: The Breakthrough Intercessor, date unknown.
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