Why God Listens
There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
God should have the first word in the morning, and the last word in the evening
What does it actually mean to pray?
I’ve always assumed that praying is talking it’s asking that it involves speaking but what if it also involves listening after all how can I have a conversation if I never listen but the question of course, is that in the culture that were a part of an in the lives, do we even really know how to listen or
do we enter into every conversation with our mind made up.
Imagine how dangerous it would be to walk into every conversation with your God with your mind, made up or man’s mind made up about what he thinks or mind made up about who he is our mind made up about our a lot in life or our circumstances or whether or not, we’re getting what we deserve, I mean if our minds are already made up Then we have no need to listen and prayer becomes an exercise in trying to change God’s mind
And I don’t know about you but when all of my conversations involve trying to change someone else’s mind, the relationship doesn’t go very far
So what is prayer? instead of being a conversation also involves an enormous part of listening what if listening or just as important as speaking, how would one go about listening to an audible voice?
So it seems like maybe one of the first questions is is God‘s voice audible, and if so, how would one go about hearing it? And if I claim to be listening to a voice that’s in audible, how do I know that I’m not just making it up in my own mind, if God is speaking to me how can I be sure it’s God and not a fantasy of my own creation next sentence
These are difficult questions and we can’t answer all of them today but I’d like us to begin number one.
What can we know for sure about the voice of God? What do the scripture say about the voice of God?
We know a lot about how God would speak because we have centuries of written words from God, so we have the ability to compare what we’re listening to or what we believe God is saying, with what God has already said, and this is the first step towards learning to listen to God, and that is this that God will never tell me something that’s fundamentally different than something that he’s already spoken to human beings for centuries
That God is immutable and unchanging, and because God is unchanging God’s love and God’s message in gods word to me will always be the same as it was to them so let’s look at example of how this works.
God’s word will not contradict God. God’s word will move us in the direction of godliness, God‘s word will move us in the direction of love and compassion for others so if I believe that I’m acting in gods interest, but I’m not seeing those results perhaps. I am not listening to God.
The difference between being someone who listens to God, and someone who just spouts off their own opinions, is to look at the fruit are the things that I say backed up by Scripture are the conclusions that I come to as I listen to God things that I can justify from the biblical record And perhaps, most importantly, are the things that I am understanding and learning from my listening to God do those things build a community? Do they create godliness or do they create conflict disagreement disunity because if they do, then they’re just opinions, the proverb says a fool takes no pleasure and understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.
“A King has no friends, only subjects”
After the game, the king and the pawn go in their same box.
God speaks in accordance with his word:
God won’t guide me to something that breaks love, relationship or covenant. If it does, it is opinion, not from God.
GOD speaks to Us if We draw Near
Theophany; God appearing and communicating:
So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.
1: It can consume, but it does not; It SHOULD devour, but it does not....
God has two natures, the nature that can destroy, can also enliven and enlighten, and reveal.
Get close enough that you COULD be consumed, but that is the place of revelation as well.
The promise of Rescue,
The commissioning and meaning in his life,
without that proximity, you will have no real vision for your life
God Speaks to us when we listen Closely
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” 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. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”
AN emotional moment, he feels alone, he feels misunderstood,
An Honest Moment
Israel does not want what you want, God. (self pity)
Culture is conspiring against me. Go wait for me (self-immolation)
1: Wait for me to pass by: WIND, Earthquake, Fire, Whisper.
What is happening here? Why not go out when “God is strong”
Maybe knows something about God that we dont?
God asks him a question: He gives an answer, then God says, wait, why twice? HE gave the same answer, Was God anticipating he might change his mind? GOD was ACTUALLY LISTENING
I think YHWH just wanted him to be close to him
god desires our presence with him, not our words so much?