Sunday, July 31, 2011

Listening to Ourselves Rather Than Listening to God

“. . . the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.” (1 Kings 19:11-12)

Excerpt from “Who Are You Listening To?” – 2011-07-31
God knows our hearts; He knows we are amazed and respond with great emotion when we witness external displays of His power. But God seeks a response that is much deeper. He knows that our hearts, our spirits, the depths of our souls will respond to His voice. His “voice” we read is like “the sound of a low whisper.” (Other Bible translations: NASB =a sound of gentle blowing NIV = a gentle whisper, NEB = low murmuring sound, JB = sound of a gentle breeze, KJV = still, small, voice). The word in the original Hebrew means “the tone of a small, gentle, whisper.” This is the sound of God’s voice - the soft quiet voice of God that speaks to our souls, that illuminates our minds, that stirs our hearts in a way loud physical displays of power cannot. The voice, the whisper of God is a language of the heart – and that’s why we have a hard time hearing God. Paul Miller gives us a clue in his book “A Praying Life” when he states our real problem in not our busy lives but our busy hearts. Instead of hearing “the sound of a low whisper” of God in our hearts, we more often hear the loud pounding drumbeat of how busy we are focusing our hearts on ourselves and on our busy lives.

Some years ago U. S. President Theodore Roosevelt decided to test the listening skills of those he met. One evening at a White House reception he greeted each guest with a handshake and a smile and said: “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” No one even noticed; most of them said: “Well, how lovely!” or “Keep up the good work!” However there was one diplomat at the end of the line who said: “Well I’m sure she had it coming to her.” President Roosevelt’s test proved what most of us already know: we just don’t listen to things that are said unless it is about us or if it affects us. The reason we don’t hear God’s voice is because we can’t hear His voice above the noise of our own voice.