Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Voice, the direction, and the failure

Psalm 81:13
13 "If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways,

Once we have followed the steps and have learned the voice of God does that mean that we will never have problems again?.....If only that were true. Many things happen along the way, sometimes we hear the Word of God yet decide to take our own route, sometimes we fail to understand what God is trying to tell us. The point is that we will not always get it right. Here are some examples of two different ways to deal with the aftermath.

Men who fell short and recovered

Abraham: He lied about Sarah being his wife for fear he would be killed and his wife
taken from him. Yet he is called a man of faith and the friend of God.

Moses: He struck the rock and called forth water instead of speaking to it as God
directed. Yet the Bible states there has never been another prophet as great as Moses.

David: He committed adultery with another man's wife, then had the man killed to try to
cover his sin. Yet he was a great king and is called a man after God's own heart.

Jonah: This preacher went the opposite direction when God called him to preach in
Ninevah. Later he preached the greatest revival in history. The whole city repented.

Peter: He denied Jesus, but later became a great leader in the early church.

Men who never recovered

Samson: He was an important judge in the nation of Israel and had great physical strength
given him from God. He began to deliver Israel from the Philistine enemy. But through
involvement with a heathen woman, Samson was taken captive and died while yet a
prisoner of the enemy.

Uziah: This king originally did what was right in the sight of the Lord and God made him
prosper. But Uziah sinned by entering the temple and performing duties which only the
priests were permitted to do. He was stricken with leprosy and died.

Saul: The first king of Israel, Saul was a man adored by the people and upon whom the
Spirit of God rested. Because of disobedience, Saul was rejected by God and another
king was selected to complete his task. Saul's life ended in failure, disgrace, and suicide.

Eli: Originally a great priest in the house of the Lord, Eli and his sons died in disgrace
because of disobedience.

Judas: Judas was a disciple of Jesus during His earthly ministry. He witnessed the great
miracles of Jesus and heard His teachings. Yet he betrayed Jesus and ended his own life
by suicide.

So what is the difference, you might ask. I find the best explanation in 2 Corinthians 7:10
10Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

We have to expect to make mistakes. We are not perfect. We will falter. It is a matter of knowing that it will happen, and be willing to put the hard work in to correct the transgression. The difference between the men on the first list and the men on the second is a simple as understanding that the men on the first list recognized their sin and repented. They took steps to correct the problem. They asked the Lord for forgiveness, and the asked for his guidance. They might have started off acting under their own motivations, but in the end they submitted to the Lord and had the patience, faith, and hope to wait for his will.

We can all learn to hear the Word of God. He does still speak to his people today, and he has a very specific plan to relay to you. Through the Holy Spirit his plan will be revealed to each of us, but will it always be easy to discern. Will it always be a spoke word? Far from it. God uses many different methods to relate his message to us. Let’s look at a few examples from the bible.


The following are a few of many Biblical examples:
-God warned Abimelech in a dream about his sin of taking Abraham's wife,
Sarah. Genesis 20:3
-An angel spoke to Jacob in a dream to remind him of his vow to God.
Genesis 31:11-13
-God used dreams to reveal His will to Joseph. Genesis 37.
-God appeared to Solomon in a dream and gave him the opportunity to ask
for whatever he desired. I Kings 3:5
-A dream was used to direct shepherds to return to their country by a
different route because of an evil king. Matthew 2:12-13


-God appeared to Abraham in a vision and made him a great promise.
Genesis 15
-The book of Daniel is filled with visions (as well as dreams). God used
these to reveal many things about the future of the world. He spoke to
many other Old Testament prophets through visions.
-God gave Peter a vision concerning the need to take the Gospel to the
Gentile nations. Acts 10
-God called Paul to Macedonia through a vision. Acts 16:9
-God spoke to Paul in the night through a vision. Acts 18:9-10
-The final book in the Bible, Revelation, is based on a vision seen by the
Apostle John.

The Holy Spirit

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
(Romans 8:14)

He that searches the hearts knows what is in the mind of the Spirit,
because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
(Romans 8:27)

Paul gives us so many examples of different ways God will communicate with us:

-On the Damascus road Paul was directed by a bright light and a voice from
Heaven. Acts 9:1-8
-When a plot was formed to murder Paul, he was warned by believers who
were used of God to help him escape. Acts 9:20-25
-Barnabas was used by God to establish relationships between Paul and the
other disciples. Acts 9:20-28
-Believers were used of God to help Paul escape the angry Grecians. Acts
-When Paul met an occultist, God gave him discernment to bring
deliverance. Acts 13:6-12
-Prayer and the Holy Spirit guided Paul into a special missionary ministry.
Acts 13:2-4
-Personal prophecy by Agabus confirmed the experience that awaited Paul
in Jerusalem. Acts 21:10-14
-God spoke to Paul through dreams and visions. Acts 22:18; 26:19; 27:23-24
-An effectual door of service for the Lord caused Paul to change his
personal plans. I Corinthians 16:8-10
I bring all of these to light to point out the fact that God is not limited on how he speaks to us. He uses many different things in our lives. That is why I often say that you must be still and listen, pay attention to what is going on around you. That is not to say that every dream, every vision, or every inner revelation is from God. We must remember to go back and read the scripture; God’s will never departs form God’s written word. The Lord has much to say to each of us He is the great Creator, and the great communicator. But we must listen, and open our hearts. The path might not always be smooth, and easy, but God will always offer direction is we will prepare our hearts, and open our minds to the Lord


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