“Hear, you peoples, all of you; pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it” (Micah 1:2)
Hear intelligently. Listen with understanding. Discern what is being said.
God is speaking, He is not silent.
” I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.” (Isaiah 45:9)
“Our God comes; he does not keep silence.” (Psalm 50:3)
“The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.” (Psalm 98:2);
All of you
God’s word is not for a select few. It pertains to everybody.
“Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their measuring line goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:2-4).
“Jesus answered him, ‘I have spoken openly to the world'” (John 18:20).
“He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (Psalm 98:3).
Focus. Apply your mind. Engage your thoughts on this. God’s perfect word deserves more than just a glance.
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1).
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children” (Deuteronomy 4:9).
“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:20-22).
“Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”
He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures
Reading the bible can seem daunting, boring, pointless, difficult, incomprehensible. There are times when the words on the pages seem to mesh together into a big ball of mushy thees, thous, begats, and verilys.
That is, until the Lord opens our minds. Then we see Him who the entire bible speaks about. “You search the Scriptures…and it is they that bear witness about me,” Jesus said in John 5:39. And Romans 3 says that the righteousness of God which comes through faith in Jesus Christ is witnessed by all the law and prophets. The entire bible is about Christ: his life, death, resurrection, glory, His people, their salvation…. Christ is all in all.
But we will not benefit from the scriptures unless the eyes of our mind are opened and unless He reveals Himself to us through His Spirit.
- 1 Corinthians 2:11-14; “For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
So let us pray to Him. He has opened our minds initially for salvation and our minds remain open. He will continue opening our minds as we grow in our relationship with Him. This is the best kind of open mindedness we can have: an open heart to know the Lord through His word.
- Psalms 119:18; “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”
- Ephesians 1:16-23; “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
- Ephesians 3:14-21; “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
- Colossians 1:9-12; “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
2 Peter 1:17-20
“For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’ we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.”
We ourselves heard this very voice
Oh the majestic, wonderful, awesome privilege of hearing God’s voice!
- Psalm 29:3-9; “The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!'”
- Psalm 46:6; “The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.”
God’s voice is more powerful than we could imagine. The very sound of it strips a forest bare. Just image hearing Him speak from heaven testifying of His beloved Son!
And we have something more sure
More sure than the distinct, powerful, audible, spoken word of God is His written, prophetic word.
I’ve heard people say, “If only I could hear God’s voice, then I’d believe.” Really? It didn’t work for Gideon. “If only I could hear God’s voice, then I’d believe.” Really? It didn’t work for Cain, or Balaam, or Saul, or….
We have something much more certain, much more trustworthy, much more reliable than God’s own voice: we have His immutable written word.
If all we had was His spoken word, we’d be susceptible to the failings of our memory. We’d be susceptible to the imperfections of our ability to call to mind His tone, His inflections, His choice of words. We’d end up paraphrasing, then guessing, then twisting, and ultimately going astray.
We have something absolutely trustworthy: God’s incontrovertible word.
- Psalm 19:7-8; “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
- Psalms 119:89; “Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.”
- Matthew 24:35; “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
- 1 Peter 1:23-25; “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
“And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.”
The people were hanging on his words
The words of Jesus were unique. When officers were sent by the Jews to arrest Him, they returned empty handed saying, “No one ever spoke like this man!” In Luke 4, after He stood in the synagogue to read the scriptures, it says, “All spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth.”
Jesus’ words were the very word of God. His words were truth, they were compassionate, they were merciful, they were perfect.
Hang on to His words. Cling to His promises. Hold fast to what He has written down for us. Abide in the truth of His unconditional love. Adhere to the promises of the eternal life He has promised through faith in Him.
- John 8:31-32 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'”
- 1 John 2:24 “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
- Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
- 2 Timothy 3:14 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.”
Truly, abiding in His words, clinging to His promises, is in fact holding fast to Him.
- John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
- John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
- 1 John 2:28 “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.”
- Jude 1:20-21 “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”
- Colossians 2:6-9 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
The words of our mouth are powerful.
- Proverbs 15:4 “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
- Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
- James 3:5 “The tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.”
Always be gracious
If everything you say is always full of grace, if every word from your mouth is laced with it, you’ll always have the right answer.
The untamable tongue
It’s easy to say, “From now one, I’ll speak with grace;” the problem is, the tongue is uncontrollable.
- James 3:2, 8-12 “We all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so..”
Trust in God
It is impossible for you to get your tongue under control. What you need to do–what we all need to do–is trust the Lord. We should pray like David did in the Psalms, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalms 141:3).
Every word from His mouth is perfect. Every word from His mouth is full of grace. With He and His Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we can trust Him to speak through us.
- Psalms 45:2 “You [speaking of Christ] are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever.”
- John 7:46 “The officers answered [concerning Jesus], ‘No one ever spoke like this man!'”
- Luke 4:22 “All spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?'”
If you have trouble summoning gracious words by your self, ask God to do it through you. Ask Christ to fill your mouth with words of grace through His Holy Spirit and you will find that His Word is always the answer perfect for any occasion.
1 Thessalonians 2:13
“We also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”
You received the Word of God
If we have received the written word of God, or the spoken word of God, what we have received is the Living Word: Jesus Christ. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus Christ is the Word of God. Receiving Him has caused us to pass from death to life and has given us a new birth into His family.
- John 1:11-13 “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
- 1 Peter 1:23 “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.”
- 1 John 5:1 “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God….”
Which is at work in you believers
We have been born, not of a perishable seed, an inanimate seed, or a lifeless seed, but of the imperishable, living word of God. He is at work in us.
- Philippians 2:13 “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
- Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
- Hebrews 13:21 “[May the God of peace] equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.”