Sunday, July 31, 2016

How Loud

How Loud
August 1, 2016
John 10:27  "My sheep listen to me; I know them, and they follow me."

Sometimes we aren't very good listeners.  Most of you would agree others don't listen to you nearly as well as you think they should.   If you've had children this certainly makes sense.  It feels like my children can only hear me if I'm raising my voice, as if they like to see how far it will go before I shout like a water kettle boiling over.  I asked my three year old daughter to sit at the table to eat her breakfast this morning.  I had to asked her several times, with a degree of escalation and number counting before consequences set in if she didn't head the request.  My daughter new the exact point at which she must obey before consequences began.  She waited until that last possible moment before submitting to my request.  She heard me the first time but didn't obey until she absolutely had no choice from the sound of my voice.  I'm sure the Lord would accuse me of being like my children many times, pretending to not hear His voice unless He gets my attention with severe methods.  The Lord will certainly use severe methods if required, but prefers to use His still small voice.

Scripture likens the Lord's voice to a small quiet voice, forcing us to drown out all the other noise in order to hear it.  While other times in Scripture it does say the Lord's voice is like thunder, that voice is used for anger and judgment.  The Lord prefers to be a gentleman and communicate with peace.  But again, this requires us to listen carefully, obeying the first time.  My question is how loud does the Lord's voice have to be in order for you to hear it?  Scripture is very clear we are supposed to care for orphans, foster children, the elderly, and the imprisoned.  It is in black and white; you can read about it in your Bible with no interpretation required.  But how many of you reading this have taken in a foster child or adopted a disabled child or allowed an elderly person to move in with you or visited someone in prison?  I would venture to guess that 99% of Christians have never visited someone in prison to take them the message of the gospel or give them hope.  Why?  Is it not clear in Scripture?  Have you not heard the Lord's voice?  He already asked you once; isn't that enough?  Does the Lord have to yell in order to get you to do this?  How loud does He need to get before you'll finally hear Him, before you'll finally obey Him.

When I read the book of Proverbs, there are many choice morsel's of wisdom I should implement into my life, knowing full well it would go easier for me if I did, if I just listened.  Countless times the author of the Proverbs has to beg us to listen to Him.  He pleads, barters, even bribes us to listen to His instruction.  Anything, if we'd just listen to Him.  The word "listen" or "hear" appears in each chapter of that book.  Apparently we aren't good listeners.  Hmmm.  Are you a good listener?  Can you hear the Lord speaking to you but you're ignoring Him?   My guess is you've heard His instruction, request, or direction but you're just not obeying.  And there is a difference between hearing Him and obeying Him.  How loud does He need to get before you'll listen, or rather, obey?  Does He have to yell in order for you to obey?  Does He need to count and warn you of soon coming consequences?  What does it take to get your attention?

He is speaking to you right now, asking you, telling you, yet you're purposely trying to drown out His voice with the things you want to hear.  You'd rather listen to everything else because you're afraid to listen to Him.  Why?  It doesn't have to get any louder, you just have to submit.  Jesus said if you hear His voice and don't listen, then you aren't one of His own.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Deut 4:36, 1 Kings 19, Ps 34:11, Pr 1:5, Pr 4:1, Pr 5:7, Matt 25:36, John 14:15-23 

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