Links Daily Devotional

Listen!, Part 2

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21, NIV)

The U.S. Open provides a distinct lack of noise.

Because the course is laid out so tough on Sunday, the kinds of shots that produce thunder at the Masters, for instance, are rare in the Open. In fact, after Ernie Els’ eagle at the seventh on Sunday, there was little for the fans to cheer about—unless they happened to be keeping their eyes on the man who went on to win.

Webb Simpson’s run of four birdies in five holes—and especially the one that came when he flagged his approach at the tenth—would have provided a far greater din if all eyes weren’t then still on Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell. And an appropriate pall fell over the crowd when those two couldn’t make it happen at the eighteenth.

Too bad. Like every other spectator sport, the fun increases when the spectators can get involved (with cheers, that is, not with interloping bird calls!).

We are spending a few days this week considering the sounds of the game, as they heighten our awareness of what it means to listen—or perhaps what it means to be able to listen. For we simply cannot underplay the importance of the fact that our God speaks, that he can be heard. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God said this of the gods of those who had forsaken him: “Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk” (Jeremiah 10:5). Only one God has a voice.

As we noted yesterday, we must be committed to hearing that voice. This begins by reading the words of God captured in what we call the Word of God, the Bible. In the Bible, we find universal instructions that God has given to all his people for all time. These tell us how to live in ways that exalt him and display his wonder.

But we also find in Scripture many examples of times when God spoke to people personally, giving them instructions for what they should do in their lives. We call it sin when these people did not listen to these instructions, as when Jonah refused to go to Nineveh. We would not call it sin for us, but it was sin for Jonah.

So what is God calling you to do? That’s a question that likely ignites one of your own: “You really think I can hear from God?” Actually, virtually every orthodox church tradition has a way of describing this voice of God, though not all would call it a literal, audible voice. Some call it a word, others an impression, still others a leading. Some say, “God spoke to my heart.” However it is described in these many traditions, it is taught and anticipated that God will uniquely lead us. In fact, what other evidence would we have that the Spirit of God really is our Comforter, our Advocate, and our Guide? All of these terms suggest that God has something to say to us specifically, all the while confirmed what he has said in his Word.

So our ears must always be listening for this voice, always prepared to have the living, breathing, speaking God speak to us!

Jeff Hopper

June 19, 2012

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