Do you hear the Lord? He is speaking. Are you listening? Am I listening? Do I hear Him? I was reading this verse in Ecclesiastes this morning. I love Ecclesiastes, especially chapter five. And this morning it spoke to my heart…again.
Read this verse again.
“Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil.” Ecclesiastes 5:1
Am I doing evil and not knowing it? Am I a fool? Do you see it? I am to draw near to the Lord to listen. Anything else is foolish, evil. Honestly, I talk to God way more than I listen. Now, don’t get me wrong. Communication is two sided. Relationships must involve both partners. It is clearly important for us to share our thoughts, words, needs before God. He specifically tells us in John 14:13-14 to ask Jesus anything! So he values our desires and words placed at his alter. But, how can I really know my husband if all I do is talk to him and rarely listen? (This was convicting for me…as I do most of the talking in our relationship. If you are a woman, I bet you do too!) How can I know my friend if all I do is talk about me and what’s going on in my life? How can I know God if all I do is tell him what I want and about my issues? Wow. Did that hit home for you? Because it sure did for me. Really…my life isn’t all about getting my wants and needs heard. It isn’t all about telling others about “me”. Honestly, I’m tired of “me”. I’m tired of talking about what I want and need. Truth is…life isn’t about me. At all. It’s about God. So, does this verse make sense to you? Quit being foolish and draw near to God to listen. Let’s read the rest of the story.
Ecclesiastes 5:2-3, 6-7 “Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words. 6Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hand? For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.”
I highlighted what God is telling me. Basically, “Quit talking Alissa. Let your words be few. There is emptiness in many words. FEAR GOD! Fools use many words. The wise fear God.” I don’t think God is telling me to quit talking altogether, but I’m reminded that I like to talk more than I like to listen. Is it any wonder that in kindergarten my report card said, “Alissa likes to talk. She has a hard time listening. ” True story! I believe God gave me this gift of words! But, as with all gifts, we must learn to use them well, for His glory! And the reality is that it is more important to listen to God than to tell Him constantly what I need. He already knows. I tell him I want His will, but how can I know it if i’m always the one talking? “Listen to me. Listen to my word.” I repeatedly ask my children, “Are you listening?” Today, God asked me the same. Are you listening to me Alissa?
Are you listening to God?
Lord, show me my evil and rebellious ways! Show me how I am more interested in what I have to say, than what You have to say! Lord, I thank you for your truth spoken to my soul. Reading this verse this morning brought light to day. There clearly was an illumination of God’s will for my life.
Did you hear him speak to your weary soul? Are you seeking God’s will for your life? Are you listening to Him?
God’s will means following God… even through things I wouldn’t have chosen for myself. But he promises that with Him my yoke will be light (Matt 11:29).
I either believe His promises or …
Do you want to know God’s will? Do you want to follow God? Then your answer must be a resounding, YES! Yes, I will follow You, God!
Am I listening for His instruction? For direction? I must listen more than I speak if I am to know the will of God.
Luke 10:37 says in speaking of the Samaritan man who helped his neighbor, “And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Go and do the same.”
God’s commands usually start with a verb. God sets us up with an impactful story, a message that hits home. Then he says “do something”. Go is one of those verbs. He doesn’t just tell us to stay where you are and do what you can for me. He says, “Go!” Get up. Do the business of God. If you are waiting for God’s command on your life, do a word search on “go” in the bible. God’s people didn’t stay put. They listened. They went. They did something. They did God’s work.
Then I read Luke 10:39, “She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet listening to His word.” The rest of the chapter, as many of you know, is contrasting Martha’s doing with Mary’s sitting. Jesus tells Martha in verse 41, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Which is it Lord? Sitting or going? How can we do both? Well, it’s not either/or. It’s both. But, like Martha, we get it mixed up. We set out on the going and then when we get lost, or distracted, or frustrated, and so we stop and ask God to help us when we didn’t ask for his guidance in the first place. God clearly tells us to “sit before the Lord” before we go, before we do…anything. Oh, Lord. How I am so guilty of this! I jump out of bed in the morning on mission to get “stuff” done, to do the things that are before me, that are for —me. Then at the end of the day, I wonder why I’m feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. I wonder, “Why don’t I feel His Holy Spirit working in my life? Why isn’t God changing me?”
Verse 39 says it all–Listen to His word.
Oh, yeah…what did Ecclesiastes tell me this morning? Draw near to listen to His word. Seriously. I laid flat on my face this morning in my closet and just asked the Lord to lead me as I read His word. He clearly gave me each of these verses. Is it any wonder that they are linked together. Do you ever read God’s word and think,” Wow! Those verses are in total alignment with each other! And completely apply to my life!” Well, that is the power of God’s word.
If you aren’t completely overwhelmed with how God is working in your life, then maybe it’s because you aren’t listening.
I need to listen more than I talk. Spend more time reading God’s word. Listen for His instruction. I must pay close attention and set my eyes on Jesus and then I will see God more in the midst of my days. If I’m not seeing or hearing from God–it’s because I’m not listening. I’m not looking for Him. Because friends, He is there. Always. Everyday. He has never left us. I’ve just been like Martha and crowded Him out with my to-do list, my “preparations”. I’m always “getting stuff done” so I will have more time. And yet, time is slipping away while I am constantly “preparing”. My kids will grow up. My marriage will slip away. The people in my life that don’t know Jesus are growing farther away from God. My relationships will wither. My life will move forward while I’m busy doing my own work. What will I miss in my busyness?
If I’m going to set my heart to follow God, to live differently, then I must set my heart on listening to God. Listening for Him in my day. Learning from His word and trusting Him with my life. I must make the sacrifice to do what He is asking me to do. Living differently is about sacrifice. Sacrificing my needs and wants for God’s.
If my heart is set on me, my answer will always be ‘no’. But if my heart is set on God, my answer will always be a resounding ‘yes!’.
Make my heart and mind match up with yours, oh, Lord, and help me to see that “Only one thing is necessary, that I have chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from me.” (Luke 10:39) Amen.
Are you listening to God? What is His word speaking to you? If you aren’t hearing from God, how is the busyness of life interfering with the most important relationship you will ever know?