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Friday, September 30, 2011

Clogged Ears or Harden Hearts?

So do you hear from God much? I'll admit there are days that stretch into seasons when I don't feel like I hear from Him much. Even though I read my Bible, pray, attend church, study the Bible, etc., sometimes I can't hear His voice.

What I've found over time is that if I don't hear from Him for an extended period of time, there's reason to worry. I believe God wants to speak to us. He is not a God who withdraws His encouragements, His instruction, or certainly His rebukes for no reason. So if I'm not hearing Him, more than likely the fault lies with me.

Today I read in Psalm 95:6-11 a passage that could explain why you or I don't hear the voice of God at times.

Today, if you will hear His voice:
Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.
For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, 'It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.'
So I swore in My wrath, 
'They shall not enter My rest.'

That passage is a little tricky the way it switches persons mid-sentence (that wouldn't go over too well with my daughter's English 101 teacher, I'm pretty sure!), but the messages are loud and clear. There's all sorts of meat we could pick at here, but the main thing that jumped out at me this morning is that when I harden my heart toward God I stop hearing from Him. 

How do we harden our hearts toward God? It's not nearly as complicated or intentional as we might think at first. You see I don't think we have to declare that we don't love God or don't like Him or don't want to hear from Him to harden our hearts against Him. I think it happens much more subtly than that. We can harden our hearts, according to the scripture, when we rebel against Him. That simply means we disobey, refuse to obey his simplest and most direct commands. It means we do our own thing instead of yielding to Him. And it means we ignore God's works and words and choose to go our own way instead.

I've done that...many times...too often. And the longer I'm a believer the easier it actually becomes to discount His voice. Shocked? But you see the longer I grow with Him, I find He gets pickier and pickier about my stuff. He actually raises the bar. No, I suppose His standard stays the same, but my understanding of it certainly rises to new levels. And with each level ( don't just turn the other cheek to your enemy, but pray for him; don't just pray for him, love him; don't just love him; forgive him...my goodness!) it gets more and more tempting for me to give myself permission to just throw my hands up in the air and say, "Now that's just going too far! I can't do that one, and here's why....." And each time I do that I believe God's voice gets a little harder to discern.

Today I'm thinking on the little ways I may have rebelled against God recently. The things I may have read in His Word, but refused to do. The nudging I felt from the Holy Spirit, but ignored. The wrong attitudes I've harbored in my heart because they just seem too hard to change. I don't want to rebel against my God. I want to yield to Him. And I want to hear His voice loud and clear.

What about you? Have you heard from Him lately? Or is something keeping you from hearing Him? You'd think it would be your ears you need to clean out, but actually it might be your heart that needs to be softened. Maybe this weekend would be a good time to apply some softening agent to our hearts -- also known as OBEDIENCE -- so we can heart Him loud and clear.


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