Silence is Golden…?
Have you been told Jesus does not speak to us today, or speaks only rarely? I have heard that and it breaks my heart. Weren’t we created to be in relationship with God? How are we to reflect God’s incredible image if we can’t hear Him speak when the bible does not have a specific word about a situation we are in, or a whisper we are hearing inside? How do we take this teaching of the absence of God’s communication to task?
How do we “sheep” know who is speaking to us, and if it is sound advice or direction? How I wish we were still in the garden, meeting with God every evening, walking and talking as was His plan. God was spending time with mankind regularly, so we could learn what being the Image of God really looked like. Sadly, we did not listen carefully then, but we can now. Yes, we are human, and weak, but God has given us “safety features” to help us out. What does it look like, and how can we get better at hearing God’s Voice?
Sheepin’ it out
John 10:24-30 The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.
But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (NASU)
Shepherds hang around with their sheep a lot. Sheep hang around with their shepherds a lot. It works. It’s comfortable (and maybe just a bit smelly). In time, there is day-in/day-out awareness of how things are supposed to be. The shepherd hears his sheep, and they hear the shepherd. There are days where they are so used to the schedule that things just happen as they ought. There are wolves, though, and rocks, and storms. You just never know. Sheep are panicky sometimes, especially in herds, but, once they are used to the shepherd, they listen for his direction and expect to see him coming to their aid when there is trouble. His constant presence is reassuring, not bothersome. If they stray, they can count on the shepherd to find them and bring them back home. Whew!
Strongholds and their Mastery
So what gets in the way of us hearing our Shepherd? What spiritually unhealthy beliefs are we entertaining, if any? How do we break those “strongholds” off our life and our spiritual ears? Let’s run through some “training questions” so we can become more confident in ourselves as hearers of God. Only you will know the answers to these questions, and God can surely help us grow in these areas of faith, and courage.
1 Do we read God’s Word? One of the strongest ways God will speak to us is through scripture. Not just a single verse, but the compiling of knowledge and understanding through spending time in relational reading. It is our #1 way of comparing what we are hearing or thinking to God’s
true Will. If we hear something we know is against God’s Word, we can stomp on it and squash it like a warrior in a nanosecond. After a time, we start to recognize God Patterns (how God does things) and that will answer questions about things not covered in detail in a specific verse.
Deut 17:18-20 This is what must be done: When he (the new king of Israel) sits down on the throne of his kingdom, the first thing he must do is make himself a copy of this Revelation on a scroll, copied under the supervision of the Levitical priests. That scroll is to remain at his side at all times; he is to study it every day so that he may learn what it means to fear his God, living in reverent obedience before these rules and regulations by following them. He must not become proud and arrogant, changing the commands at whim to suit himself or making up his own versions. If he reads and learns, he will have a long reign as king in Israel… (The Message)
2 Do we know we are someone Jesus wants to talk to? Jesus spoke to everyone who sought him, no matter if they were avoided violently by others.
Matt 8:2-3 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “LORD, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. NKJV
There is NO person’s voice God doesn’t want to hear calling on Him. Further, Jesus is willing to touch us when no one else will!
3 Have we learned how to be quiet and wait without being anxious? Do we trust God’s timing?
Ps 46:10-11 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. NKJV
4 Are we okay with Holy Spirit telling us hard things? Good things? Sharing secrets and mysteries? What about goals, assignments, or missions?
Job 36:22-25 “Behold, God is exalted by His power; Who teaches like Him? Who has assigned Him His way, Or who has said, ‘You have done wrong’? “Remember to magnify His work, Of which men have sung. Everyone has seen it; Man looks on it from afar. NKJV
Acts 10:9-23 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”
But Peter said, “Not so, LORD! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.
Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there.
While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?” And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” Then he invited them in and lodged them.
On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him. NKJV
If you are someone who loves adventure, welcome to Christianity! As we grow in faith, God will give us newer, bolder missions to accomplish on His behalf. Watch for them. Be ready to comply – that is our job, and our blessing.
Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much… ASV
5 Do we practice listening to everyone to understand, rather than reply? (Not as easy as it sounds!)
Acts 15:12-13 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles. And after they had become silent, James answered… NKJV
It is easy to take off running ahead of God. We must be sure to hold still for His whole message, and ask questions to clarify if we need better understanding. Ask about timing, place, who all should go…whatever information is needed. Then wait for His answer. As long as we ask
respectfully, with faith, there is no bad question. If we need to move quickly, God will tell us that, too. Otherwise, wait for His release.
Luke 1:28-38 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the LORD is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the LORD God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the LORD! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. NKJV
Mary had a reasonable question. Her question was not without faith, it was without understanding, so God filled in the blanks for her.
6 Do we know God as a Savior and friend, someone we can share deeply with?
John 15:12-15 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. NKJV
7 Have we acted on the last thing we heard?
If we did hear something from The LORD, but have not done what we were given to do, God may be waiting for our obedience before moving on to the next thing He has for us. (If disobedient, we might consider that we may be missing out on a blessing waiting for us)
Zech 7:11-12 “But did your ancestors listen? No, they set their jaws in defiance. They shut their ears. They steeled themselves against God’s revelation and the Spirit-filled sermons… (The Message)
In scripture, listening doesn’t just mean to hear what someone is saying, but to pay close attention, and to act on what we have heard. There is an incredible bounty of blessings waiting for the obedient child, even the child who takes a bit to make things right.
Matt 21:28-31 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?”
They said to Him, “The first.” NKJV
If we have been unsure, and, so, hesitating, we can reach out to a mentor for help. The body of Christ is there to help and encourage one another joyfully. God honors the seeker.
8 Do we take time to worship as we pray, or just whenever?
Ps 117 Praise the LORD, all you nations.
Praise him, all you people of the earth.
For he loves us with unfailing love;
the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.
Praise the LORD! NLT
God loves a good party! We can break out the music, sing, bow down, lift up our hands, or just sit quietly and enjoy the blessed closeness of our LORD. It will help clear our mind for Holy Spirit to speak, as well as remind us how much God loves us personally, and corporately, which is buckets full!
There are few things like a good, solid, Holy Spirit hug to open our mind to Jesus’ wonderous communication.
Once we have honed the ability to wait on our LORD in peace, and to hear from Holy Spirit…hang on!
God will give us freedom to:
. ditch bad attitudes and behaviors
. ditch addictions
. “see” spiritually – quickly correcting ourselves before we make a bad mistake
. “see” Kingdom Opportunities and how we might fit in God’s Plan
. freely participate as a team player with Jesus and His people in God’s Mission work
God does speak to His children. Silence is not good if it is us believing that God has nothing to say to us.
Silence Is Golden when we listen, waiting on His good direction, with peace in our hearts, ready to do His Will.
March 16, 2021