Jul 3, 2014, 9:33 AM
In my salad days as a Christian I can vividly recall taking a tongue-in-the-cheek look at a preacher who claimed God had spoken to him about something – that he had a revelation from God regarding an issue. How can Almighty God, on his majestic throne, speak to a little preacher like ours? Well, my idea of God at the time did not match his real nature. Over the years however, I have learnt that God speaks to everyone irrespective of the person’s rank, creed, colour or social status, principally through his Word, the Bible, and sometimes audibly. God speaks particularly to those who want to listen, to those who in distress cry to him for help. (Jeremiah 33:3)
God loves each and everyone of his creation to want to engage in a personal relationship with us - the problem is whether we are ready to listen. If we should ask ourselves the question ‘when was the last time I heard from God?’ What would be the answer? I am certain we will be stunned by the lack of a two-way communication link with God. If anything, we have been operating on our own strength and that is not good enough. A pilot relies heavily on the control tower at take-off and at landing with of course the help of the instrumentation on the aircraft’s dashboard. Without these, flying would be dangerous. What makes us think we can operate outside of God’s will or go about our business without reference to him, and still be at peace? We were wired by him to stay connected to him and anytime we move away to go it on our own, we are stepping on shifting sand.
Without these instruments a pilot is totally lost. So it is with us in our relationship with God, our Creator. The more we listen to him, the more apt we would be in handling life; but the less we listen to him, the more we will sink in the mud. God has a word for you and me, each and everyone, every day, but there is too much noise around us preventing us from hearing his voice. To compound the situation, there is too much interference from competing voices. Too many things that we have given priority to have taken centre stage in our lives and are getting in the way of our relationship with God. Of recent, there is mounting evidence that we are giving credence to so-called professionals - the guru, the specialist doctor, seasoned lawyer, expert counsellor, big brother, the witch doctor, even charlatans - who do not have the fear of God in them and who for the most part may be unbelievers – over the word of God. These are the people we turn to for godly advice. My God says his hand is not short to deliver any of us. “The Lord said to Moses, Is the Lord’s hand too short? You will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.” (Numbers 11:23)
Inhibitive noise levels
Will God be audible where there is a lot of noise? No, his voice will be drowned out because our ears have been deafened by the noise the world makes. Our environment has been turned into an arena of competing noises of all sorts that do not do justice to our eardrums and this from morning to night – noise from loudspeakers, vehicles, traffic, the carpenter’s hammer, radio, television and worst still mobile phones. All of them are trying to gain our attention. Whilst some of these noises may be from sources we cannot control a great deal is self-generated. In other words, we afflict ourselves with unbearable noise levels.
We live in a world that is prone to making noise, so to listen to what God has to say to us would require having to move away from that setting into a more tranquil environment or to seek him early before the brouhaha begins. “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” (Proverbs 8:17 King James) “O God you are my God; early will I seek you;” (Psalm 63:1 King James). We must find quiet time in our busy and overcrowded schedules to listen to God. When we listen, we cannot go wrong because our thoughts and steps will be guided by the sweet small voice of the Holy Spirit saying ‘do not venture there’ – revealing to us the hidden dangers. We must cultivate the habit of listening to God - literally train our ears for this - otherwise day after day we shall be going it on our own – without a map or a compass to guide us. Must we count on ourselves?
God needs some quiet to speak. He needs to capture all and not some of our attention. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10) God was about to show his glory to the prophet Elijah. Check the décor. “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:11-12) The voice of God is like a whisper to our ears.
It is important that we take heed to whom we are listening. Not only that, but what we are listening to. Paul wrote in the book of Hebrews; “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1) What then are you waiting for?
Will God speak to you in vain?
God speaks clearly and distinctly. He does not mince his words or create any ambiguity. He gave clear instructions to father Abraham. “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you……So Abraham left.” (Genesis 12:1, 4) Abraham had a pagan background but the voice of God came to him audibly and he never questioned it. He left all that was dear to him. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8) Despite the fact that his destination was unknown, Abraham left under the conviction that the voice he heard could only be God’s.
“What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.” (Isaiah 46:11)
VICTORY IS FOR TRUTH
FR. EDU GOMEZ - Parish of the Resurrection, Brikama
There is a popular saying that when the truth is buried in the night, in the morning it rises.This is another way of expressing the words of our Lord Jesus Christ that anything that is covered will be uncovered (Mathew 10:20).The gospel summons us to be men and women of the truth and to live by it.It sets us free and makes us live in the joy, peace and freedom of the children of God.The gospel states:“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).There is much insincerity and hypocrisy in the world of our time and much conspiracy and hostility towards the truth that many apostles of the truth are under an intense pressure to reconsider their positions.The word of God today assures all such people that they are in a winning camp and as such have no need to back-pedal.
The reason why many people fight against the truth is because it challenges human weakness which we most of the times don’t want to give up.Laziness, greed, lust, ambition, and pride are among many things in our human nature that we need to struggle hard to resist and overcome.It needs a great deal of rigour and painful self-discipline to conquer these traits, and many of us are not yet ready for such scrupulous exercise.The result it that we settle for these evils.When the truth challenges us about the sad reality of our lives, instead of accepting the challenge, we become hostile to the truth, deceiving ourselves into believing that by such hostility to the truth, the reality with which it challenges us disappears.This is the situation in which the Israelites of the days of the prophet Jeremiah found themselves.Jerusalem was under the threat of their enemies because of the sins of the people and they were deceiving themselves into believing that some kind of military manoeuvre will save them.Jeremiah came to announce to them, the reality of the issue, but they were afraid of the truth so “the kings leading men spoke to the king.‘Let Jeremiah is put to death, he is unquestionably disheartening the remaining soldiers in the city, and all the people too by talking like this.The fellow does not have the welfare of this people at heart so much as it’s ruin” (Jeremiah 38:4).
The question wasn’t that Jeremiah wasn’t having the welfare of the people at heart as the leading men of Judah misconstrue it.The question was that whenever truth is the issue at stake, a disciple of truth must take his stand by it no matter what it is going to cost him, even if his life.Christ who is the truth Himself has already said that anybody who loves a father or a mother more than Him is not worthy of Him.Unity and peace is very important, but Christ still insisted that His truth could not be sacrificed at the altar of that.He stated “Do you supposed that I Am here to bring peace on earth?No, I tell you, but rather division.For from now on a household of five will be divided:three against two and two against three; the father divided against the son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother in-law against daughter in-law, daughter in-law against mother in-law” (Luke 12:51-53).
As a matter of fact, Jeremiah was acting out of his great interest in the welfare of his people.He knew that if there was still any hope for his people, it was only in the truth that the hope could be found.Christ laid down His life for the sake of the truth that saved mankind.The prophets and apostle and countless matyrs of different ages in the history of mankind have also done that, showing that there is no price too much to be paid, in order to stand by the truth that endures forever.For this reason, in those words originally addressed to the early Jewish Christians, the scripture stated:“in the fight against sin, you have not resisted to the point of death” (Hebrews 12:4).
Truth is great and immortal and makes those who fight for it great.Those who shy away from it, no matter how great or well placed that they might seem to be easily lose their authority.Those who fight against it are sure to be defeated and to sink beneath.The drama that happened on the days of prophet Jeremiah was very interesting.As the leading men of Judah were fighting against the truth, the king Zebekiah was shying away from it, and so, God inspired an ordinary CushiteEbed-Melech to propagate the course of the truth and to enable it to triumph.So after the leading men of Judah as reported earlier had reported Jeremiah to the king, “Zedekiah answered, he is in your hands as you know, for the king is powerless against you.So they took Jeremiah in the court of the guard, letting him down with ropes.There was no water in the well, but only mud, and into the mud Jeremiah sank.Ebed-Melech came out from the place and spoke to the king.‘My lord king, these men have done a wicked thing by treating the prophet Jeremiah like this:they have thrown him into the well where he will die’.At this the king gave Ebed-Melech, the Cushite the following order:‘take three men with you from here and pull the prophet Jeremiah out of the well before he dies” (Jeremiah 38:5-6,8-10).