Daily D – Psalm 85:8
I will listen to what God will say; surely the LORD will declare peace to his people, his faithful ones, and not let them go back to foolish ways.
PSALM 85:8 (CSB)
GOD’s about to pronounce his people well,
The holy people he loves so much,
so they’ll never again live like fools.
One of my coworkers and I are hosting a Hearing God retreat today and tomorrow for the staff of a church of some prominence. We have worked with them on two other projects this year. This is the capstone for our time with them.
God is more interested in being heard than we are in hearing him.
My coworker will teach the acrostic HEAR(t) that helps people at this point. To hear God, we need to hunger and thirst for him and his words of truth and life. (H = Hunger). We need to expect God to speak to us (E = Expect). We should invite him to do so.
The tricky part of hearing God is making sure it is God we are hearing and not our own desires or the evil one’s deception. The more time we spend reading and pondering the Bible, and the more time we spend alone with God seeking his direction, the easier this becomes. When we learn to distinguish his voice from all other voices, we can receive his guidance with joy (A = Acknowledge).
Knowing what to do and doing it are two different matters. When we hunger and thirst, expect, and acknowledge God’s truth, we are to put it into practice (R = Respond). God speaks most clearly to those with willing and obedient hearts.
This may seem somewhat uncomfortable or maybe even frightening at first. Trust God for the strength you will need (T = Trust) for whatever he instructs. Trust him to provide whatever you need when you need it. Trust him for your next steps when you get where he is presently directing you.
God speaks through the Bible. He has preserved for us the truth we need to know how to relate to him and to others. He teaches us how to live and what to avoid. Pairing a Bible reading plan with the SOAP acrostic day by day helps us hear God in a systematic manner.
Pick out a Bible verse or more (S = Scripture) and note your observations about that text (O = Observation). What is God saying? Apply it to your life (A = Application). Turn that application into a prayer (P = Prayer).
These two acrostics serve us well in learning to hear and respond to God. You can create your own Hearing God retreat with these tools. You can use them profitably for the rest of your life. Using them with others reinforces and amplifies what you experience.
Add Dallas Willard’s Hearing God to your reading list. Pick up Learning to Hear God and Enjoying the Presence of God by Jan Johnson. Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God is also insightful.
God wants to speak to you. He gave you ears to hear. Are you listening, really listening?
I will learn to hear God better and better day by day.
Our Father, give me ears to hear what you are saying. Give me a willing and obedient heart to respond in faith and faithfulness. I want to know you more day by day. Here I am, show me your way. Amen.
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Acts 10:34, 35 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”
Acts 5:38, 39 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”