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Friday, September 21, 2012

Hear or Do?

Reading this morning in Psalm 85:8 I was struck by the third phrase, “But let them not turn back to folly.”  This is significant because the admonition comes on the heels of God’s people hearing from God.  The implication seems to be that hearing from God directly prevents neither foolishness nor sin.
Does hearing God insure we will walk closer to Him?  Does it prevent foolishness and sin?
There has been a lot of ink applied to paper on this subject in the past few years.  Books, articles, blog posts, about hearing God, listening prayer, visions, but this passage seems to indicate that those experiences do not guarantee following God.

Reflecting on this Peter leapt to mind.  In 2 Peter 1:19 – 21, he recounts his experience at Christ’s transfiguration (Mark 9:2 – 8; Matthew 17:1 – 8; Luke 9:28 - 36).  There Peter not only saw a vision, he also heard the voice of God commanding Peter to listen to Christ.  That did not prevent Peter from boasting of his loyalty at the last supper, attacking the soldiers at Gethsemane, and then subsequently denying he even knew Christ three times.  This was one who not only saw the vision and heard the voice but walked daily with the physically present Lord for around three years.  Clearly, he was a slow learner… so am I.

The extraordinary experiences we crave to validate our faith are a bit like fireworks.  They are overwhelmingly beautiful but quickly fade in the darkness of our trudge through the domain of the ruler of this world.  It seems that the real fuel for this journey may not be the extraordinary but rather the continual practice of daily acknowledging Christ’s Lordship, meeting Him in prayerful consideration of His Word, and, as is says in Philippians 2:12, working out our salvation by being doers of His Word (James 1:22ff).

1 comment:

  1. Seems Jesus had an opinion on that, too, in
    John 14:21, "He who has My commands AND keeps them, he it is who loves Me...." (Emphasis added).

    Of course, having Jesus' words involves more than just hearing. But however and whatever it means, it's not adequate. Nothing substitutes for the doing - and that's the challenge!