Volunteering and traveling in Argentina to proclaim God's great love, and hopefully not getting sick along the way.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Speak, for your servant is listening

Have you ever been desperate to hear from God?

I'm not just talking about having a feeling from God. You know, where you fill in with your own thoughts what you think God is trying to say to you. I'm talking about hearing a voice. The Voice.

Then again, it's a scary thing to ask for that sort of thing. "God, I want to hear you." But do you really? I think it was Chan who was talking about this; how many can honestly say that they don't want to hear from God because they know He'll ask something impossible from them. Which by the way, He will, but not without reason, and not without His help.

Or I get to thinking about the Voice that spoke and there was light. That spoke and there was the world--out of the darkness comes the known universe. That is incredibly powerful. Too powerful. Scary powerful.

So when the Israelites say to Moses, "Let God talk to you, and then you talk to us," I kind of get it. They wanted a mitigator, not just a mediator, for this unbelievably powerful God to speak to them.

These past couple nights, it has taken awhile for me to get to sleep. I have had moments of just staring at the bottom of the top bunk (which isn't all that interesting, as it is only slats of wood over a blue mattress) waiting for something, without knowing what that is. Maybe it's the Voice, but I couldn't really tell you.

Then this morning, I woke up in part because of the humidity in the room and in part because of that itch that wants to be scratched. "What is it you want, God?"

It was a feeling, not a voice, but I followed it any way. Outside I went to look at the sky. It was an Abraham moment, or so I told myself, and I would get to see a bunch of stars and God would tell me, "You will preach to this many of my great love."

I came outside to see a cloudy sky, and a fingernail of a moon.

I didn't hear a voice, but I sensed something very scary. "The end is near."

Truly, I was afraid.

And who's not skeptical of this sort of thing? Yeah, yeah, the end is coming, whatever. But what does that really mean?

After a few minutes, I searched for my Bible, busted out a breakfast, it was 6:45 after all, and began to read 1 Samuel. I was tempted to go straight to chapter 3, when the young boy first hears from God, but realized that context is just as important and began at the beginning. What a concept.

And there's that woman, Hannah. But the story doesn't even begin with her, it begins with her faithful husband and an unfaithful priest and his two sons. To me, I love that God uses story. He could have started with chapter 3 and the story would still be sufficient, yet He chooses to give us more. Details that resonate with our own soul of desperation.

To receive from God; to perhaps hear from Him.

And people think we are crazy, just like Eli thought that Hannah was crazy. But when the Lord remembers her, she keeps her end of the bargain and prays this amazing prayer:

My heart rejoices in the LORD my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies for I delight in your deliverance.

There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the LORD is God who knows and by him deeds are weighed...

... The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.

For the foundations of the earth are the LORD's;
upon them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.

It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the LORD
will be shattered.
He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the earth.

He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of the anointed.

How does Hannah's prayer of thanksgiving turn to the judgment of the Lord? How is it that she gets into the subject of destruction of the enemies, when she has just given her son over, for his whole life, to God?

Because, "The end is near."

We read on of the sons of Eli who do absolutely nothing right, and this coming from just reading Leviticus and the instructions of the sacrifices. Which on a small tangent, the sons are crazy to think that boiled meat tastes better than asado. And then a prophet comes and tells Eli of his pending doom.

Continuing on, there is the famous chapter 3. It was the first time I noticed how distant God's voice must have been all those years, if it took three times for the priest, the PRIEST, to realize God must have been talking. I also noted that Samuel was sleeping in the tabernacle where all the holy articles of God had been. In fact, he was sleeping "where the ark of God was." He was in the holy of holies, as it was called. A place I hear that you could be struck down dead if there was any impurity in you.

When Samuel listens, the famous line that always sticks out to me does so again:

... See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.

The references in my Bible indicate the story of Hezekiah's illness, terrifying marauders in Job, and coming disaster prophesied in Jeremiah. That is to say, "the end is near." Coming destruction. Terrifying judgment.

And sure enough, the Philistines come, people die (including Eli and his two sons), the ark of the LORD is stolen. Nothing this big has gotten the outside world's attention so much as when God freed the Israelites from the Egyptians. I say this because the Philistines had been scared for that very reason (see 1 Samuel 4:6-8).

It was then that I sensed the need to look outside again. The moon was gone and the sun was rising. It was a little like what I had read in C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. The Son will rise. Very soon. I may not know what it looks like, but for some reason I do fear it. For those who do not know, boy am I scared. I prayed for those that need to know Him. That I would be obedient in telling them the good news. That their hearts would not be hardened. Might they be just as desperate to hear the Word as I am?

What will you do?

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, 'Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.' But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

2 Peter 3: 3-7


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