Jeanne and I attended Church services in the little German town where we are living. As you may expect the service was in German and I was able to understand some of the words although I usually miss the verb at the end of the sentence. I can follow the Bible stories fairly well but the announcements are difficult for me to understand. I vaguely knew that they had an installation for a member of the Church to a leadership position followed by a reception.
We joined the crowd heading over to the reception and a gracious hostess offered us, in elegant stemware glasses, what Jeanne thought was sparkling apple juice and what I thought was orange juice. Jeanne realized after one taste she had something more than apple juice and I knew I didn’t have your mother’s orange juice! She had champagne and I had orange juice with something high powered! They handle receptions differently here in Germany than in South Carolina. In Germany they serve champagne and in South Carolina we specialize in finger foods featuring recipes by Paula Deen.
Isaiah wrote about people who lost something in translation from God and the situation had tragic consequences:
He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand’” (Isaiah 6:9).
It’s important to accurately perceive and understand what you’re hearing from other people but it’s absolutely essential to properly hear from God. How does God speak to us:
He speaks to us through His word – The Psalmist said, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18).
He speaks to us through other people – “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit – “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13) Bill Hybels has an excellent book on listening to the Holy Spirit entitled, The Power of a Whisper.
He speaks to us through circumstances – “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). As Henry Blackaby was fond of saying, “Discern what God is doing and join Him.”
God is speaking to us but are we hearing? Communication with others is important but it is absolutely essential we not only hear but understand what God is saying to us. May my desire be the same as Samuel as he said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”
O give me Samuel’s ear, the open ear, O Lord,
Alive and quick to hear each whisper of Thy Word,
Like him to answer at Thy call, and to obey Thee first of all. Amen.
(Hushed Was the Evening Hymn)
How do you discern His will for your life?