March 15 - The Art of Listening When God Speaks

By George Flattery

Today's Scripture: Numbers 22:28

Central Thought: God desires to speak to you and me.

    Many signs and billboards in the path of Hurricane Charley were no match for the violent storm. However, one billboard resisted the hurricane's 100-mile-per-hour winds. While the billboard still stands, the advertisement that was there when Hurricane Charley hit was peeled back to reveal an earlier message. When the sun rose the next morning on Sand Lake Road in Orlando, the words on the billboard clearly read: "We need to talk. God."

    Why is it that when we speak to God, people call that prayer, but when God speaks to us, people call that schizophrenia? Does God speak to us? How does He speak to us? How are we to listen when He does speak? At various times and in various ways, God has spoken to people throughout history, even through a donkey, as Balaam found out in Numbers 22! Balaam actually had a conversation with God via this animal. What's crazier, God's speaking through a donkey or Balaam's holding a conversation with one?

    No one likes to be around anyone who does all the talking. Good conversation requires giving and taking, speaking and listening. It's the same in our relationship with God. God speaks, but are we listening?

    Author Mike Yaconelli says:

    I travel a lot, and I came to San Francisco one night and missed my connection back home. I was angry and upset, and I called my son on the phone. I wanted him to encourage me. I said, "Man, I'm stuck in the airport; it's been a horrible day. I've been traveling too much." My son said, "You know, Dad, if you didn't travel so much, you wouldn't have things like this happen." Well, I didn't appreciate that. I was ticked off. I said, 'Let me talk to your son [my two-year-old grandson].” Well, I forgot that when you're two you can't talk, and when you're 60 you can't hear. This is not a good combination. He's mumbling on the phone. I'm hoping that this is going to make me feel better. It's making me feel worse. Finally, I've had it. I hear the phone drop onto the floor. Now, I hear the kids playing. I'm stuck in the airport. I have this miserable experience. I'm furious and angry, when all of a sudden I hear crystal clear over the phone, "I love you, Grampa." You know what? All my anxiety—everything went out the window. There are people who are so busy they're at their wits' end. If they'd only stop for a minute, they could hear the God of the universe whisper to them, "I love you.”

    How can we listen? Listen with an open mind. Be ready to receive God's Word through the Scriptures, circumstances, Christian teachers, and friends. Have spiritual headphones on at all times. Listen with a discerning mind. Check every word with the Bible. God will never ask us to do something that is contrary to His Word. Check every word with those whom we trust. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. All of this comes from spending time with God, alone, in solitude. Solitude with God is not loneliness, for we are in the presence of God Himself!

    God desires to speak to us today. Are we listening?

Devotional Prayer: Lord, speak to me today. My heart is open to You. Guide me, lead me, and show me Your will.

Today's Bible Reading: Numbers 22:21-23:30; Luke 1:57-80; Psalm 58:1-11; Proverbs 11:12-13