HOW TO HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD (IS 30:1-26)

Focus: v. 21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”

3 PARTS: How NOT to Hear; How TO Hear; and the Benefits of Those Who CAN Hear

1. How NOT to hear (Is 30:1-14):

Woe to the Obstinate Nation
1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin;
2 who go down to Egypt [place of bondage — and where we tend to return to medicate] without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge.
3 But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.
9 These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction.
10 They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.

2. How TO Hear:

v15: For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
‘In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.’
But you were not willing,

• It seems to say that salvation is the result of repentance and rest and that inner strength, or maturity, comes from quietness and trust / confidence.
• Following is an attempt to unpack those 4 words: repentance, rest, quietness, and confidence.

A. Repentance — Shuwbah (shü·bä’) – Literally means to return. The metaphorical meaning is conversion.

  • Repentance is not only a turning away from sin, but also a turning to God.
  • In his book The Wounded Heart, Dr. Dan Allender records some penetrating yet refreshing definitions:
  • Repentance is an about-face movement from denial and rebellion to truth and surrender.
  • Repentance involves the response of humble hunger, bold movement, and wild celebration when faced with the reality of our fallen state and the grace of God.
  • It is a shift in perspective as to where life is found.
  • It is melting into the warm arms of God, received when it would be so understandable to be spurned.”

B. Rest – Nachath (nakh’·ath) – Literally: a letting down, or letting go. It is a Hebraic reference to death.

  • Job 17:16 “resting together in the dust.”
  • The invitation to become an active, intentional follower of Christ is to engage an ongoing cycle of death and resurrection.
  • That cycle of death and resurrection continues after our initial salvation
  • Too understand this is an important key that unlocks growth in Christ.
  • Any hope we have of living a life of integrity, wholeness, and health is dependent on dying and rising with Jesus Christ.
  • The more we are willing to die to our tenacious control of life, the more God is able to resurrect his life in us.
  • When we surrender our moral failures, our sinful choices to him, he will raise out of their ashes a brand-new start.
  • When we cry out for help in our problems, he will give us insight and direction we wouldn’t have even dreamed possible.
  • And when we have challenges that are beyond us, it is Christ’s resurrection power that gives us strength and wisdom.
  • And finally, the more we give over our worry about the future—the what-ifs, the worst-case scenarios—the clearer his guidance will become for us. The secret of fullness of life is dying to our arrogant, willful self and allowing the risen Christ to express his life through us.

C. Quietness – Shaqat (shä·kat’) – This word speaks to the building, or development, of an ongoing rhythm of rest. It also speaks to the absence of fear. (It is the quiet center that we will be examining in the days ahead in our Deeper Still series.)

  • Heb 4:9-10 – “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”
  • It is also about growing a quiet center in our hearts — where we enjoy communion with God.
  • What does communion with God mean? It means that we are creating space in our lives to be with Christ…what does that mean?
  1. (Nouwen) says, “To pray is to listen…” To encounter Christ is to learn how to listen. The work of prayer – or growing intimacy with Christ — is to create that space and to learn how to listen.
  2. What are we listening for? To pray is to listen to (or for) the One who calls you, my beloved… — This is what Jesus heard from his Father when he came up out of the water at his baptism.
  3. To pray is to let that voice speak to the center of your being, to your guts, and let that voice resound in your whole being. Who am I? I am the beloved. That’s the voice Jesus that Jesus heard throughout his life and his ministry.
  4. As a people, a community of Christ-followers, we are called to operate out of the understanding that we are beloved.
  5. The definition of obedience… (The church has made “obedience” a “religious” word, not a spiritual word.) The primary action of Christian obedience is for us to make room in our lives to hear God call us beloved.

D. Trust / Confidence – Bitchah (bit·khä’) – Confidence

In the early stages of the building of the Golden Gate Bridge 23 people fell to their deaths. The contractor spent $100,000.00 on a net that was stretched underneath the structure. During the remaining construction time only 10 people fell into the net; and productivity rose by 25%. Why? Because the workers had greater confidence!

  • OLD TESTAMENT USAGE — The basic idea has to do with firmness or solidi¬ty. The word expresses that sense of well-being and security which result from having some¬thing or someone in whom to place confi¬dence.
  • NEW TESTAMENT USAGE — The Greek word and its derivative are used a total of 40 times and most often describe a joyful, con¬tented expectation as well as bold and effective speaking.

WHAT PRODUCES CONFIDENCE?

  1. Proverbs 14:26 – “In the fear of the Lord (seeing Him as He really is) there is strong confidence.” Developing a holy respect and reverence for the Lord will produce confidence in our lives.
  2. Acts 4:13 – “Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” Intimacy with Jesus will produce confidence in our lives.
  3. 1 Timothy 3:13 – “Those who serve . . . obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” By serving we obtain confidence.
  4. 1 John 2:28 – “Little children, abide in Him, so when He appears, we may have confidence.” The Greek definition for the word abide means to stay in a given place, state, relationship, or expectancy. I would expand on that by adding that to abide is to acknowledge our life source. Abiding in Jesus produces confidence.

Isaiah 30:18 – “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.”

3. The BLESSINGS accorded to those who can hear:

22And you will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold You will scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, “Be gone!”

23Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture.

24Also the oxen and the donkeys which work the ground will eat salted fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork.

25On every lofty mountain and on every high hill there will be streams running with water on the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.

26The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun [reflective], and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.

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