The noise level around us keeps increasing. With Spring comes the return of morning noise, the birds are back. Everywhere we go there is background noise that competes for our attention. It seems that everyone wants us to notice them. The commercials on television get louder and louder. It is a wonder we can hear the voice of God through all the noise. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I am not a shopper but there is one store I don’t mind visiting; Target. Not for any other reason than they don’t play music. I am the typical male and I need to remain focused when I go into a store. I need to get the item I came in for, go to the checkout and get out. Not having music in the background helps me accomplish that. I can think straight and not get distracted!
That is not the norm though, it seems everywhere we go someone is competing for our attention and the volume is getting turned up. Whether it is the tin can muffler or the 12-inch bass woofer, it is even hard to drive down the street without someone’s noise drowning out your thoughts.
With all the noise around us, who do we listen to? I have been doing some studying recently on listening to God. How do we tune our attention to hearing God speak to us? Do you know that is one of the most important things we can do in our lives? We need to be tuned in to God and listen to His voice.
Active listening is a choice. We can choose to listen or we can tune people out. I remember when I was a kid and my mom would say; “Are you listening to me?” Most married folks develop a selective hearing mechanism that tunes out their spouse. We all fight for someone to listen to us but that doesn’t mean they will.
As I observe conversations I sometimes wonder; are they even listening. I hear the words one says and then watch as they are not followed or responded to. Maybe they can’t hear them. Maybe they are ignoring them. Maybe they think they know better and want to do things their own way? Whatever the reason, I often wonder what it would take to get their attention.
The Bible says in many places; “he who has ears, let him hear.” Don’t most of us have ears that work? The point is that most of us tune out things we determine as unimportant. The phrase refers more to saying; pay attention, this is important. How do we engage our hearing and focus on the important message through all the noise?
If we look at how we respond to God we may find some similarities there to the way we listen to others. Are we giving God a deaf ear? Can we hear God? Are we ignoring Him? Do we think our way is better?
Maybe we need to change that. David helps us understand how we should seek out God.
Psalm 42:2, NLT, My soul is thirsty for God, for the living God. When will I come and meet with God?
Do we seek God out? The first component of hearing is having a desire to want to listen to what someone is saying. Do we want to know what God thinks? Do we want to meet Him and focus on what He has to say?
Do we thirst for God’s guidance and direction? Do we have a thirst, a desire, a void that needs to be filled with the words of God. Do we value what he has for us? Do we wait to act until we sit with God and listen to His guidance and direction?
Can we hear God’s voice through all the noise? Do we take the time to find a quiet place, be still before God and listen. God desires our attention. Do we make it a priority to be with just Him?
In Scripture we read of many times Jesus went off to be alone and pray. He made it a priority to be alone with God the Father and listen to His guidance and direction. I think we would be blessed tremendously if we emulated that in our life. When do we spend time with God and God alone? When do we turn off all the noise around us and sit in quiet and stillness before our Lord and listen?
We need to develop an ear that hears the voice of God. We can only do that when we make it a priority. In His Word it is referred to as a still small voice. We will not hear it if we let the noise of the world around us drown it out.
We need to develop a habit of setting aside time in our life to be with God. That is the only way we will hear Him clearly. That will not only help us hear but it also acknowledges the priority God should have in our lives. The difficulty is we relegate God to the last place instead of the first place. Before we give thought to how we are going to move forward we would best be served by first sitting before God and listening to Him.
Let me share a secret with you, doing nothing, waiting on God, and staying in place are actions. Don’t buy into the thoughts that we have to do something, we have to say something, we can’t just wait on God. Yes we can. It isn’t easy but many times it is exactly what God is leading us to do.
Psalm 46:10; NLT; 10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.”
I encourage each of us to take time and sit before God. Listen to His still small voice. Follow His guidance, even when it means doing nothing. Isaiah reminds us;
Isaiah 58:11, NLT; The Lord will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
Let’s see if we can develop a sense of hearing the voice of God.