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03 October 2012

Listening to God - 03 October

Our society is built on sound bites. Everyone wants to do everything quickly. We become impatient if we have to sit more than a couple minutes at a red light. We count the number of items in the cart in front of us to make sure they are not exceeding the express line maximum and then loudly complain if they are one item over. Some Christians suffer from road rage; others believe they are entitled to speed or cut in a line.

Satan encourages this behavior. If we took the time to think about our actions, we might back off and slow down. If you think you’re hearing from God and He wants you to do something spontaneously, step back and pray – it might be Satan trying to get you in trouble.

Saul lost his throne by acting hastily. He wasn’t willing to wait for the arrival of the prophet Samuel and instead made offerings to God himself. Only priests were allowed to sacrifice, and Saul’s impatience disqualified him from being king (1 Samuel 10:8… 13:8-14)

But the prophet Nehemiah acted differently. He waited for MONTHS, fasting and praying, for the king to notice that he was unhappy over the problems and devastation in Jerusalem. The king listened and gave him the authority and the money to rebuild (Nehemiah 1:1-2:9).

Notice that Nehemiah didn’t just stand around with a long face. He fasted. He prayed. He talked to God and asked Him to give direction. He wanted to hear from God.

How’s your patience? Do you want to just jump in and “get ‘er done”, or will you seek God and make sure you have the ENTIRE answer before you take any steps? No matter your style, you need to keep this in mind:

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. Psalms 62:5-6 (ESV)

Can you wait silently? Can you just stop and listen to God (for that matter, can you just stop and listen to everything your spouse or boss has to say before you open your mouth)? Do you need to ask for His help as you learn to wait on Him?

How is your prayer and fasting life? Could you wait for four months like Nehemiah? What steps do you need to take to get on the “wait in silence” track?

I pray that one of these scriptures (or another) will remind you to wait for the Lord. I suggest you find one that speaks to you and then hide it in your heart – memorize it – to help you in those times when you want to run ahead of God.

“Wait, that I may hear what the Lord will command concerning you.”  Num 9:8 (ESV)

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalms 27:14 (ESV)

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord! Psalms 31:24 (ESV)

But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. Psalms 38:15 (ESV)

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. Psalms 130:5-6 (ESV)

It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.  Lam 3:22-26 (KJV)

But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7 (ESV)

Will you commit to asking God for a full and complete answer to a problem in one area of your life, starting today? I pray that when we meet again on Friday, you will have selected an issue that God can answer in His own time!

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