Do we always listen to God?
Increasingly, we are a people that communicates remotely. Gone are the days when we popped next door for a cup of sugar; we are far more likely to add it to our next home-delivery. We are less inclined to chat and more inclined to message – and within that framework, the nuance and the emotional connection of our words are ‘lost in translation’.
The way we receive communication has changed – we fall to the desire to make ourselves always available and prepared to give the instant answer; the knee-jerk response.
When we are relaxed and alert, our response is thoughtful and given with an open heart; but when we are tired and irritable, our response can be abrupt and dismissive. In the same way, our responses to God can vary, depending upon how we feel. But God knows us better than we know ourselves, and he longs to speak words of renewal to us – if we have ears to hear.
Isaiah 28 v 11-13
God will speak to his people, to whom he said, ‘This is the resting-place, let the weary rest’; and, ‘This is the place of repose’-
but they would not listen. So then,
the word of the Lord to them will become:
Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that;
a little here, a little there…
The prophet Isaiah spoke God’s words to the people of Israel; often they were words of challenge, but God also gave him words of refreshment for a weary nation. In this chapter, the people have rejected Isaiah’s words and, more than that, have openly mocked and rejected them.
The hearts of the people are closed and guarded: they are not willing to allow the God who loves and cares for them to speak into their lives and situation. Rather than hearing words of caution and care, they hear a bunch of instructions and rules that they don’t much like, from a God they don’t want to hear from.
Perhaps this situation resonates – we can try and run our lives in our own strength, thinking that we know best and closing our ears to the God who desires to talk with us one-to-one, in a relationship that has depth and allows him to nurture our inmost being. God does not dictate a set of remotely written rules, he wants a heart-to-heart connection in which we can rest and find his peace.
Putting it into Practice
1. Spending time with God in prayer, both listening and speaking is life-giving to our relationship with God. Take time today to rest in God’s presence, give him the best of your time and not the dregs – God deserves our very best.
2. Reflect on and consider God – creator of the heavens and the earth; the one whose hands flung stars into space. Pray for an open and ready heart to hear his word for you and his will for your life.