Mk 8: 13 And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. 14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. 15 Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.” 17 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? 18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? (NKJV)
Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse code operator.
Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background. A sign on the receptionist's counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office. The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area. After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in.
Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they hadn't heard any summons yet. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified.
Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, "Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled."
The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, "Wait a minute, I don't understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That's not fair!"
The employer said, "I'm sorry, but all the time you've been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse code: 'If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.'
None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his."
Now, there are some things that interest me about this story!
1.) This young man was not the FIRST one there!
2.) There were probably men with higher qualifications!
3.) There may have been men who were better dressed.
4.) Maybe they were comparing themselves among themselves, and touting their own qualifications!
5.) Maybe each one was telling the other why he deserved the job!
6.) Maybe they were arguing about who was right and who was wrong for the position!
But, while they sat there this young man waltzed right in and got the job!
But, the reason this young man got the job was because he was listening for the right voice! He was FOCUSED and lacked DISTRACTIONS.
Somehow he had eliminated all distractions, all outside influences!
While others were pre-occupied with other conversations, although worthwhile they may have been, they missed the main message!
While others were talking among themselves, the small, unobtrusive voice of the telegraph machine went unnoticed! Even though the quietest sound, it was the most important sound in the room, and the one who heard it was the one who eliminated all outside influences and distractions!
I.) THE ONES WHO WILL HEAR THE STILL, SMALL VOICE OF JESUS IN THIS GENERATION ARE THE ONES WHO ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS!
The ones who block out all outside influences and concentrate on what God is saying amid the clutter, and hubbub of every day life!
WE HAVE ALL HAD PEOPLE SAY SOMETHING TO US AND WE WERE DAYDREAMING, OR OTHERWISE PRE-OCCUPIED.
And, so when we finally come back to ourselves, we say. “What did you say? I didn’t HEAR you!”
When, what we really mean is, I heard, but didn’t understand you!
I heard you speaking, but what you said didn’t register with me.
I knew you were talking to me, but my mind was preoccupied with other things, and I didn’t understand what it was that you wanted me to hear.
Those that are deaf or almost deaf (so my kids and wife tell me!) in order for them to hear and understand must be totally focused on the lips of the speaker to understand the words spoken.
II.) IN ORDER TO HEAR WHAT GOD IS SAYING, WE MUST REMOVE ALL DISTRACTIONS AND KEEP OUR EYES ON HIM!
In the year that king Uzziah died I SAW also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
King Uzziah had become a distraction to Isaiah, and it was only when he died that Isaiah saw the Lord!
Uzziah — a contracted form of Azari’ah the Lord is my strength. (1.) One of Amaziah’s sons, whom the people made king of Judah in his father’s stead (2 Kings 14:21; 2 Chr. 26:1). His long reign of about fifty-two years was “the most prosperous except that of Jehosaphat since the time of Solomon.” He was a vigorous and able ruler, and “his name spread abroad, even to the entering in of Egypt” (2 Chr. 26:8, 14). In the earlier part of his reign, under the influence of Zechariah, he was faithful to Jehovah, and “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 15:3; 2 Chr. 26:4, 5); but toward the close of his long life “his heart was lifted up to his destruction,” and he wantonly invaded the priest’s office (2 Chr. 26:16), and entering the sanctuary proceeded to offer incense on the golden altar. Azariah the high priest saw the tendency of such a daring act on the part of the king, and with a band of eighty priests he withstood him (2 Chr. 26:17), saying, “It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense.” Uzziah was suddenly struck with leprosy while in the act of offering incense (26:19–21), and he was driven from the temple and compelled to reside in “a several house” to the day of his death (2 Kings 15:5, 27; 2 Chr. 26:3). He was buried in a separate grave “in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings” (2 Kings 15:7; 2 Chr. 26:23). [i]
Isaiah had been so focused on the accomplishments and downfall of King Uzziah that he had got his eyes off Jehovah! He had become distracted.
I want you to notice Isaiah's 3-fold vision:
1.) When the distraction was eliminated, Isaiah turned again to the Lord, and it was then that he received his vision!
In the year that king Uzziah died I SAW also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Isaiah said, when my distractions were eliminated, then I saw the Lord!
When I stopped looking to the arm of the flesh, I saw the Lord!
When I got my focus off of the things that man could do for me and to me, I saw the Lord!
2.) After Isaiah saw the Lord, he saw his own True condition!
5 Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
Isaiah realized how far he had drifted away from God when he finally saw God again! He realized how unclean he was after he got a vision of God! And, immediately he began to repent!
3.) And, finally, after he saw God and himself, he got a vision of the world that he was sent to witness to.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
I am saying to this church tonight, “God has a job for someone to do!”
There is a work to be done, and the position is open, who will fill it?
Who will go and do the work of God in this generation?
III.) THE JOB POSITION IS OPEN, AND THE ADVERTISEMENT HAS GONE FORTH!
Mk 16: 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”(NIV)
And, the applicants have come from near and far, and are sitting in the interview room, waiting for their turn!
But, I would say to you today, that it is not the most qualified, not the most well-dressed, not the first on the scene, or not the ones with the most ability that will get the job, but the ones that will get the nod from the Lord of the Harvest are those who will hear his still, small, voice and understand what the purpose of the church is in this day!
Those whose attention is not diverted by the other sounds that clamor all around, those who don’t think that they have already arrived and deserve the job because of their superior qualifications, but those who are listening and understanding the voice of God!
We can argue all day long amongst ourselves, and use scripture to back up why we are right, and everyone else is wrong, but while we are crossing theological swords, people are dying and going to hell!
IV.) THE ONES WHOM GOD WILL WORK THROUGH IN THIS GENERATION ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE ELIMINATED THE DISTRACTIONS IN THEIR LIVES.
Not the most educated,
Not the best dressed,
Not the ones with the most impressive pedigree or heritage,
But, those who have eliminated distractions!
Ps 24: 3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive blessing from the Lord, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Selah
It's interesting to note that one of the meanings of both of the words used here, CLEAN and PURE, is CLEAR!
Not muddled or double-minded, but a clear, unhindered direction.
Mt 6: 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.(NIV)
One of the definitions for GOOD in this passage is CLEAR!
I truly believe that what God is looking for in this generation is not talent, ability, pedigree, heritage, etc.
I BELIEVE THAT GOD IS SIMPLY LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO WILL ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS!
PEOPLE WHO WILL KEEP THEIR PURPOSE CLEAR, THEIR LIVES UNCLUTTERED, AND FREE FROM THE THINGS OF THE WORLD THAT WILL DIVERT OUR ATTENTION AWAY FROM THE STILL, SMALL VOICE OF GOD!
People that will not only hear, but understand what God is saying.
For Isaiah to launch his prophetic ministry a major distraction had to be eliminated for him to see the Lord.
What are the King Uzziah’s in our lives tonight? What DISTRACTION is holding your life at RANSOM and making it CLUTTERED and UNCLEAR?
What is the SPIRIT of GOD speaking into your EAR tonight? Are you hearing and LISTENING?
Friends Isaiah was able to go on and take up the JOB of witnessing the power of GOD”S WORD to the earth because DISTRACTIONS were ELIMINATED.
King UZZIAH was eliminated out of the picture because he got DISTRACTED with himself. He had begun to read his own PRESS REPORTS and believe them! PRIDE had filled his heart and God had no option but to take him out of the equation. A LEPER for the last 10 years of his life – out of ministry, ineffective because he ALLOWED DISTRACTIONS to SWAY him from the calling of God over his life.
Maybe you have become like UZZIAH, you started well, you stepped up to the plate and got involved and were hearing God’s voice, but somehow DISTRACTIONS have come and you are only a SHELL of what you used to be in GOD.
It’s time to ANSWER the CALL. IT’s time to WALK into the THRONEROOM of GOD and answer the job description to take His Glory into all the earth.
Who will answer the call tonight? Who will come and respond to the word of the LORD and allow God to UNCLUTTER you tonight?