God Speaks: Listen!

God still speaks today, literally, powerfully, and unequivocally.

The question that plagues many, is “how?”

Pastor John Piper started one of his messages stating that God had spoken to him directly. God had literally told him what His thoughts were and how they directly applied to John Piper. He expounded what God had told him, it had shaken him to the core, convicted him, and blessed his soul.

It was unquestionable that it was God, said John Piper, and he quoted the words directly and powerfully, from memory.

Crazy?

God spoke to me, this very week, in this very same way. God is alive, and God speaks today, so listen to Him!

This is what He told me to say and to believe this:

Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

Let me explain. Red flags are going up all over the place for you right about now, if you are a classic, conservative Christian.

Many people today, especially in the Pentecostal movement, claim that God has more to say than what is readily available in His Word, the Bible. They say God is not done speaking, and we should expect Him to tell us more than what already has been said by Him.

Perhaps they are right, and it is obviously not impossible or unreasonable. But I wish to speak on another, overlooked way, in which God really does speak–today.

Have we forgotten, have our ears so quickly gone dull to God’s voice? You see, God can speak, does speak, and will forever speak through his Word, the Bible. Yet this is so very easy to forget.

This week I was reading in the Bible and I prayed as I always do that God would convict me, teach me, and bless me through His Word, by way of His Holy Spirit. God answered, as he so often does, and spoke to me, straight from Psalm 116:

1 I love the Lord, because (1)* he has heard

my voice and my pleas for mercy.

2 Because (2) he inclined his ear to me,

therefore (=) I will call on him as long as I live.

3 The snares of death encompassed me;

the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;

I suffered distress and anguish.

4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:

“O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”

5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;

our God is merciful.

6 The Lord preserves the simple;

when I was brought low, he saved me.

7 Return, O my soul, to your rest;

for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

8 For you have delivered my soul from death,

my eyes from tears,

my feet from stumbling;

9 I will walk before the Lord

in the land of the living.

10 I believed, even when I spoke,

“I am greatly afflicted”;

11 I said in my alarm,

“All mankind are liars.”

12 What shall I render to the Lord

for all his benefits to me? (to verse 17)

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation

and call on the name of the Lord,

14 I will pay my vows to the Lord

in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord

is the death of his saints.

16 O Lord, I am your servant;

I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.

You have loosed my bonds.

17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving

and call on the name of the Lord.

18 I will pay my vows to the Lord

in the presence of all his people,

19 in the courts of the house of the Lord,

in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord!

*All bolding of the text and notes are mine.

Andes Mountains

What a beautiful Psalm, and it was like water for my soul, as so often God’s Word proves to be. A word in season (Prov. 15:23) is so often God’s way of dealing with man, if we let Him. So often we wonder why God seems far off or why our prayers are not answered, or why so much difficulty is all around. We must stop, meditate, listen, and treat God like the person who He is. God wants a relationship with us, he isn’t a lottery machine, or a gas station. He is a being, and we were created from His perfect image, and were meant for friendship, and intimacy. And that is found in God ultimately, and it is found so sweetly in His Word that was written for us. God speaks in His Word, a living Word, and we relate back to Him through prayer. That is what God wants–relationship with Him.

And so, let us look briefly at the Psalm.

David has been accused, it seems, of lying (v. 11) and he is in great pain and suffering, possibly because of Saul, or later with his son Absalom (v. 3). He could “sulk” and have a “pity party” (v 10), but he does not choose to. David refreshes his memory of how God had saved him in the past, and trusts and hopes in God to do the same again:

1 I love the Lord, because he has heard

my voice and my pleas for mercy.

2 Because he inclined his ear to me,

therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

Do the “math” here. He chooses, right at the outset, to declare his love for God. Why? Because in past times God had heard his voice, he had listen to his need of help. And he had given ear to his complaint, like a loving father stooping to listen to a son. Obviously God had shown mercy, and God had given him good and not evil:

5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;

our God is merciful.

This is how God had responded in the past. He had seen that David was humble, or “simple” (v. 6) and even though God had brought him “low” with adversity and difficulty, he had trusted in God. And God saved him, restored him, and brought him joy again.

In light of this the psalmist exclaims, preaching to his soul, so to speak:

7 Return, O my soul, to your rest;

for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

8 For you have delivered my soul from death,

my eyes from tears,

my feet from stumbling;

9 I will walk before the Lord

in the land of the living.

God was the place of rest for David. In the past he had found rest for his soul in God. When he had difficulty before, when he had been humbled, humiliated, abused, or forsaken, God had been his source of peace. He had wept bitterly and felt alone. Yet God had taken them away and given him joy. He had felt like he was loosing his direction in life, and felt overcome by maladies, yet God had kept him from falling and giving in to the difficulty.

Instead he had seen God’s protecting hand, he had been shielded from more calamity than he could endure. God had kept him safe, and now he walked before God, and enjoyed communion and fellowship with God.

Yet at this time, there was no rest, there was no peace, there was little hope. “I am greatly afflicted”! he affirmed. He had tears in his eyes again, and he was loosing his direction in life, and God seemed far off.

So he yelled at himself, preached to his soul: “Return, O my soul, to your rest”! Why? Because “God has dealt bountifully with you.” God had taken away such a calamity before, why would he not again, and return the peace? He would again “walk before the Lord”, and enjoy his company, and delight in singing to Him and meditating on his Law.

All of a sudden he changes his mind on his circumstances and sees it all with new eyes. God had already done such great things for him, and He would again. A sense of awe overcomes him, and he realizes the need to worship God:

“What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?”

The shift is turned away from his problems and his selfish problems, and the light is turned upon God. This same thing should consume us. We are so very caught up with ourselves, and whenever we concentrate on “me”, then we are no longer concentrating on the Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts:

17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving

and call on the name of the Lord.

This is what God deserves! Take your eyes off of “me”, off of the problems of this world, off of your fears, off of your pain, and “turn your eyes upon Jesus”, “the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2), therefore, “seek the things that are above, where Christ is…” (Col. 3:1). Put your mind on Christ, and “the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace“!

Be a thankful person, and call upon God in the times of trouble. Why? Because he will answer in our times of trouble, if we are humble and put our trust in Him (Mat. 21:22).

And what should our response be to his great blessings? More than simply our thanks and our prayers. But ultimately our love. Let us say, truly, and from our hearts, “I love the LORD”.

May you be blessed by this Word, directly to us from God, just as I was. Is it no true that God’s Word is living and active?

He does speak today: listen.

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4 thoughts on “God Speaks: Listen!

  1. Psalm 116 is a beautiful one and I have been blessed by it many times in my life. Psalms are a balm to the soul.

    I think, in general, we often speak more to God than let him speak to us! Shame! He has wonderful things to reveal to us.

    Thanks my friend, I have been encouraged!

  2. God is communicator. How can we be more in tune with Him? I’m sure He is speaking all the time through His Word, through natural phenomenon, by means of circumstances, in dreams, through other people particularly spiritual people, through lessons of history… probably more ways than we imagine. But it’s so healthy to ingest considerable amounts of His inspired Word on a daily bisis in order to gain His perspective and see things His way. Also to be able recognize His voice and separate it from the rest of the babble. I struggle to be responsive to his direction without being merely impulsive.
    Dad

  3. Good points Dad. God does speak in mysterious ways. David says that Creation declares God, and Paul expounds, saying it leaves man without excuse. So, yes, God does and must speak outside of Scripture. But the Bible is untainted, and much easier to dissect God’s purpose in it.
    That is so difficult for me too, how to know when God wants me to do something, and how I know it is not just me. I have your genes, so I suppose that is why I run off of hype a lot of times, and can be very impulsive. What are good ways to find the right balance? To find out God’s intention in all circumstances?

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