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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hearing From Heaven

“And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver refined in a furnace of clay,
purified seven times.
Psalm 12:6 NIV

When God is about to speak to us he sometimes does something to get our attention. In Moses’ case it was a burning bush. We too may experience our own burning bush. It may be something that has caused us great pain and sadness. Other times it may be the loss of someone or something in our life. It is also possible that God may be bringing us to a new place of blessing or he may be sending someone to us to share his message of love, or perhaps teach us new truth. This blessing, this new knowledge, fills us with joy. No matter what our circumstance may be, the burning bush in our life is real and ablaze. Do we see the bush with eyes of fear or opportunity? Do we see this bush that will not be consumed as the holy fire of our Sovereign God?
Just like Moses, we must pay attention to all that surrounds us. At first when we encounter something unusual or different in our life it may peak our curiosity. We may feel compelled to investigate that which we have not seen before. Moses’ first response to his burning bush was curiosity. He had never seen a bush burn without being consumed.
Hundreds of years have passed since Moses heard the voice of God calling to him from heaven. God called him by name, “Moses! Moses!” To this Moses replied, “Here I am.” When God calls our name, it is important that we listen. God may use your name or he may simply place you in a spot where you become intensely interested in what is happening around you. He may place a new desire within your heart or give you compassion for someone or some ministry.
If we continue to ignore the voice of God he may find his servant elsewhere. God is looking for available believers to do his work. We will miss personal blessings if we fail to answer. We must say “here am I” if we are to get further instructions.
After Moses responded to God, God continued to speak to Moses. His instruction to Moses was, do not to come any closer! God establishes his boundaries as part of the assignment we are about to participate in. He tells us when to go and when to stay put. God always wants us to know that he is to lead and we are to follow. God said, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5 NIV We are not to take lightly God’s call because we too are standing on holy ground. It might even be a good idea for us to take off our shoes until God is finished speaking. I wonder, why did God have Moses remove his sandals? Maybe it was because he didn’t want him running off while he was still talking! Maybe it was designed to be an act of humility and respect. Maybe it was symbolic of God’s authority over Moses. I would not be surprised if it was all three of those reasons.
When God calls us to do something no matter if he is asking us to go to Africa or to bake muffins for a neighbor, we need to realize that we are hearing that assignment from heaven and the ground we are standing on is holy ground. God always has a reason and a purpose for what he is asking us to do. The voice of God is challenging as he invites us to join him where he is already at work. His voice can be convicting as he endeavors to keep us focused on him and not our self. Just like Moses, we may hear God’s voice, but what we hear may clearly pull us away from our comfort zone. Just like it was with Moses, God will never ask anything of us that he does not enable us to do. Moses argued with God, saying he was slow of speech; BUT God gave Moses someone to speak for him. Moses wondered if the people would believe he was sent from God to lead them out of Egypt, BUT God gave him the staff which proved to be miraculous, showing God’s authority as he endorsed Moses as his man of the hour.
Today in the garden I am peering over the back fence. The mountains are calling me come and experience something different. They are majestic! God says, “Come, climb higher, trust me to get you to the summit.” I am afraid. It is challenging, I am out of shape, and this task is certainly not in my comfort zone. I question, “Is this really the voice of God?” In my mind I question if it is God speaking. Surely God would keep me within the safety of my garden. It must be Satan calling me to venture out beyond the safety of the garden. So I step back. Then God reminds me that Satan would not challenge me to climb higher in my faith. No, Satan wants to stifle me and keep me right where I am. Yes, I’m sure it is God who is calling me to climb higher. Do I dare respond to God by answering as Moses did, “Here am I?”
Satan’s voice speaks lies, God’s Word is truth. Satan never points out sinful behavior. In fact, he applauds it! He encourages it! Satan also speaks words of condemnation and failure. God speaks words of conviction and forgiveness. Satan instills fear and plants seeds of doubt but God is love and when we obey he fills us with his peace. Satan, the father of all lies, points out that we are inadequate and gives us many reasons why the assignment is impossible to complete. Satan predicts nothing less than our total failure if we are silly enough to attempt to do what God is asking of us. But God says, with me all things are possible and I have chosen you because you are my instrument of choice for such a time as this. Satan says you deserve to stay right where you are – comfortable and confident. God says, follow me, you won’t be sorry. Satan wants us to trust our own instincts but God wants us to trust him. “And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times. Psalm 12:6 NIV
When it is time to begin, Jesus never says, “Now get up and get going!” Instead he says, “Follow Me.” So today in the garden I am going to choose to follow Jesus. I look up ahead and he is climbing over the back fence. He shoots me a grin over his shoulder as he goes on ahead. I am running to catch up and the next thing I know I am tumbling over the fence. Jesus is a good bit ahead of me and I fear I may never catch up! As he walks across the flat table-land toward the mountain I hear his loud voice shout loud and clear. It echoes off the mountains and continues to bounce back to my ears. “Paula, don’t worry about catching up because I am walking into the future. You my child are walking in the present. Simply keep your eyes on me and you will be just fine!”
When God speaks we will know without doubt that we have heard from heaven. Today I have heard the voice of God calling me from heaven. I saw my burning bush in the middle of my circumstance. I took off my shoes because I was indeed on holy ground. The call to follow him into my next assignment was clear, “trust me”. So I grabbed my shoes and took off running barefoot. I’m hoping that at some point Jesus will stop long enough for me to put on my shoes, but until then I must keep my eyes on his backside. I may long to see his face along the way but even when he is too far ahead for me to see his face; I will still choose to trust him. I have heard from heaven and there is joy in my heart as I run from the comfort of the garden into unknown territory.

  1. Have you ever heard from heaven? Reflect upon that time.
  2. Has God asked something of you? Are you procrastinating?
  3. Are you unclear as to whether or not it is God’s voice or Satan’s voice?
  4. What thoughts are bouncing through your mind? Are they God’s words or Satan’s words?
  5. Do you believe that simple obedience is the path of blessing?
  6. Does it sober you to know that when God speaks from heaven you are standing on holy ground?

Dear God,
Oh how I long to discern your voice. It is amazing that you are still calling mere humanity to assist you in your heavenly work. I pray that I would hear your calling and be willing to be used by you. I know that I am not called because I am special in any way. I have many reasons why I feel I am not suited for this assignment or up to the task, but you say that being available to serve is all that is necessary. I know that you have either already equipped me with the gifts and talents I will need to accomplish your assignment or you are in the process of sending me whatever or whomever I will need to do your work. So today it is with a tiny mustard seed of faith I choose to step out in simple obedience because I know I will never regret following you. Your Word is clear that by following you there lies the path of eternal heavenly blessing and joy. And if you are willing Lord, I know that I may even experience a foretaste of that blessing and joy in my life right here in this strange and troubled land.

In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.