What If We Are Not Listening

Introduction

What if God is trying to guide us, but we a go our own way?  What if God is trying to direct our path, but we follow someone else?  What if we are so busy that we don’t seek God’s counsel in the things that we do?  What if we are just not listening?

Each week Pursuing the Truth Ministries broadcasts a radio show that is used to provide information about the Christian faith and the Christian lifestyle.  However, I sometimes wonder whose listening.  Each week I prepare the CD’s to send to the radio station, but I have no idea who actually tunes into the station to listen—actually I have some idea because we do get emails about it sometimes.  We are doing all that we can to help people with regard to their own lives’ from a Christian perspective, but we have to wonder if anyone is truly listening.

Are you listening to God?  Are you trying to tune in to him?  I know that you may have the grand question of knowing God’s will—how can we know God’s will?  How can we know what God is directing us to or what he wants from us?  Do you know what that is like?  That is like a first grader wondering how he will be able to solve a calculus problem.  In math we progress from one math level to the next, until we reach calculus.  So why are we trying to learn calculus before we can add and subtract, so to speak?  Why are we asking about knowing God’s will when we barely know God?

How would you know if God is moving in your life?  How would you know that God is guiding you to this or that?  The truth is that many of us will not know because we don’t really know God well enough.  Therefore, we grope around trying to seek God’s will when our own way as gone awry.

I believe that God is in front of us guiding the way, but we go on our own path most of the time.  Actually, I dare say that most of the time we don’t even consider God’s input about something.  I remember a long time ago when I told a minister that I had prayed to God “about it” when there was a dispute in the church.  That minister looked at me and said, “What did he say?”  I didn’t know what he said, because he hadn’t said anything really.  Just going to God in a one-way interaction isn’t hearing from God and can hardly be considered as counsel from God.

We get so busy with our lives that we neglect to include the Lord.  We neglect to invest time in our relationship with the Lord, which directly and significantly affects our lives.  We have to realize that God is the leader and we follow.  Life around us means nothing without God.  Therefore, we should make it a priority to follow God and fulfill his will as it pertains to our lives.

{33} But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)
This lesson will be act as a wakeup call to all of us to listen to God?  God is talking, but usually we are not listening.  We are too busy doing our own thing and not spending time with the Lord.  The things we do may be very important and may be what God wants us to do.  However, they all mean nothing if we don’t have the Lord.

Scripture Lesson

{5} Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; {6} In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. {7} Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. {8} It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones. {9} Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; {10} So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine. {11} My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; {12} For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:5-12 NKJV)

Let’s discuss this passage of scripture.  There are a few points that I would like to bring out.

  1. Trust the Lord with our whole heart
  2. Do not rely on our own understanding and wisdom
  3. Honor God with what we have, even our own lives
  4. Know that God will correct us

{4} But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 NKJV)

This passage of scripture highlights probably the most important thing we can ever do, namely seek the Lord.

Let’s look an example that shows the importance of incorporating God in our lives

The Calamity at Ai – Failure to Consult the Lord First

{17} Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. {18} And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. {19} But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.” (Joshua 6:17-19 NKJV)

{1} But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel. {2} Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. {3} And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.” {4} So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. {5} And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water. (Joshua 7:1-5 NKJV)

If Joshua had consulted God in the first place, instead of assuming that everything was under control, then they would not have been defeated at Ai.  If Joshua had consulted the Lord instead of merely listening to the spies, then they would have known there was sin in the camp before the battle commenced.

However, how often do you do the same thing?  How often do you go about your life thinking that you have everything in control, or to seek those other than God when you think things are not under control?  We are so busy with the tangible that we forget about the very thing that is more important than them all.  We forget about or relationship with the Lord.

Why should we expect to be guided by God when we don’t pursue him in the first place?  What if God is already guiding us, but we are simply not following him.  We need to be more in tune with God so that we can truly follow him.  I believe that if we develop our relationship with the Lord and nurture it then we will become much better at discernment and therefore able to follow him.  Our lives could be more consistent with his will and his purpose for us.  We can truly find fulfillment if we learn to listen to him and then do what he says.  However, a relationship with God has to be a priority.  It has to be important enough to us that we purposefully pursue it in our everyday lives.  The way we pursue more education for advancement on our jobs, for example, should be how we pursue the Lord.  After all, we live by the word of God and therefore should pursue him so that we can govern our lives more effectively.  Amen.

 


What if we are Just Not Listening
By William R. Cunningham
December 9, 2007