When all is said and done, and the whole Truth is being Told, OUR problem when it comes to OUR listening is not God hearing us, it is us hearing God.
Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling,
calling for you and for me;
see, on the portals he’s waiting and watching,
watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home;
ye who are weary come home;
earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
calling, O sinner, come home!
Exodus 3:1-5Amplified Bible
The Burning Bush
3 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro (Reuel) his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb (Sinai), the mountain of God. 2 The [a]Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing flame of fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was on fire, yet it was not consumed. 3 So Moses said, “I must turn away [from the flock] and see this great sight—why the bush is not burned up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned away [from the flock] to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then God said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet [out of respect], because the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
If I were to ask you ladies if you husbands are good listeners, most of you would probably respond with a resounding: “no.”
If I were to ask you gentlemen if your wives are good listeners, most of you would probably respond in much the same way the ladies did.
If I were to ask you parents if your children are good listeners, I believe I would get a lot of “no’s.”
If I turned that around and asked you teenagers if your parents listen to you, I am sure that I would get a loud and resounding “no.”
If I were to ask each Christian man or Christian woman if you were a good listener to the voice of the Lord, I believe the answer is “no” once again even though the Bible says in John 10:27-28 that my sheep hear my voice.
In these days in which we are living in, we must learn to be good listeners if we are going to be followers of God, the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Do you know who the best listener is?
It is God.
All the way from the very deepest place in all eternity – God heard!
In the Book of Exodus, the Lord tells us (Exodus 3:7) that the Lord heard the cries of the Israelites under the cruel hand of the Egyptian taskmasters.
Psalm 5:3, the psalmist confirms that the Lord hears my prayers.
Psalm 20, the Lord confirms that He hears my cries in times of trouble.
Make no mistake about it: The Lord listens well to ALL of His Children.
Our problem when it comes to listening is not God hearing us, it is us hearing God.
In the Book of Revelation in the Lord’s messages to the seven churches John writes under inspiration of God these words, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
And then in the Gospels Jesus used that same expression. Mark 4:23 (NKJV) 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Those were Jesus’ own words and He recognized that many do not hear him.
So, I have to ask myself the question:
“What is the problem that I don’t hear God?”
And that is what we are going to look at today.
What hinders us from hearing the Lord?
To do that I want to look at the encounter at the burning bush when God spoke to Moses, and he heard clearly what God had to say.
Exodus 3:1-5International Children’s Bible
The Burning Bush
3 One day Moses was taking care of Jethro’s sheep. Jethro was the priest of Midian and also Moses’ father-in-law. Moses led the sheep to the west side of the desert. He came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in flames of fire coming out of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up. 3 So Moses said, “I will go closer to this strange thing. How can a bush continue burning without burning up?”
4 The Lord saw Moses was coming to look at the bush. So God called to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5 Then God said, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals. You are standing on holy ground.
Hearing God ‘s voice will require effort on my part.
Moses took his sheep to a place where He knew that He could talk with God.
Do I make the effort to go to a place where I can talk with God?
1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
Moses lives in the land of Midian on the backside of the desert tending the sheep of Jethro, his father-in-law.
So, as we come to Exodus 3, Moses is going to take his sheep out to pasture.
But please notice here that Moses is not taking the sheep in the back pasture an acre or two from Jethro’s house. Look at a Map. Moses has set out to take them about twenty-five miles (25) miles to the pastureland around Mt. Horeb.
There were many mountain ranges near Midian, but Moses headed to a specific mountain range- Horeb.
Horeb has two meanings:
Mountain of YHWH and it is also called the Mount of God. You might have heard this Mountain also referred to a Mt. Sinai in some places. It would become the place later where God would then write, give Moses the Ten Commandments.
The fact that Moses would take those sheep that far tells me how badly Moses wanted to hear from God.
What kind of effort do you and I make to hear from God?
Are we “that” willing to get up early to seek the Lord since He gives us a promise in Scripture?
Proverbs 8:17 (KJV) I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
Isaiah went to the house of the Lord to hear from God, and there He meet the Lord High and lighted up.
And it was there that Isaiah carried on a conversation with God.
And Jesus would always go to a secluded place to listen to the Words of His Father.
In all three cases, there was an effort- to get up early, to go to the church house, and or to go some distance away to find a secluded place to talk to God.
What effort do we put in to listening to God?
Then we are probably not hearing from God.
And actually, there are times that God must put you in certain places to get you to listen to Him.
I noticed that I am a pretty good listener to God when I am in a hospital bed.
I also notice that I am a good listener when troubles are attacking me at all sides.
But let me tell you what I have found out in my life.
It is so much better for me when I make more than the minimal effort to listen to God rather than just waiting for God to arrange the meeting to listen to Him.
Hearing God’s voice will require vigorously exercising a spiritual curiosity about what God is doing around me that a lot of Christians lack. Do I even look to see God doing things around me, do I bother to ask God “what are You trying to tell me?”
Exodus 3:2-3 (NKJV) 2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So, he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
Remember, Moses is working. He is managing a flock of sheep for his father-in-law.
Ladies, do you know how hard it is to have a conversation with your husband when he is at work?
Gentlemen, do you know how hard it is to have a conversation with your wives when they are trying very hard to prepare you your supper when you get home?
Most of you are going to get a one- or two-word answer and then bye.
Guys when they are working are single focused. Ladies are very diligent in their efforts not to undercook or burn the food, to not over or under season the meal.
I am sure there would be a lot of guys who saw the burning bush and said to themselves that is “just simply too weird” and kept on walking by. And after they passed it by, they would give no more second thought of it or about it.
Moses, on the other hand, had a spiritual curiosity, after all he did take his sheep to the Mount of God.
So, ladies, gentlemen, He may have been expecting something from God.
Moses approached near the bush and ultimately had a conversation with God.
With all the upheaval going on around us, any curious Christians should have begun a conversation with God as to why so much negativity is assailing them.
War in the Ukraine, raising prices at the Gas Pumps, Housing Costs, Student Debt, National Debt, Political intrigue, Economic Upheavals on Wall Street and other World Markets, Gun Violence, Hot button controversial topics such as the issue of Immigration, Abortion, Extremism are all making news at a rapid pace.
I would want to know: “God, are we to be preparing us for the end times?”
God are you just giving us a glimpse of what is going to happen in the future?
And that peaked curiosity starts a conversation with God just as that burning bush started a conversation between God and Moses which resulted in change.
Look for things God is doing in your life or in the world, be curious, because that just may be God’s way of reaching out wanting to start a conversation with you.
Point # 3
Hearing God’s voice will require an expectation that I am going to hear God’s voice. If I go into prayer not expecting to hear from God, I am not going to hear from God. Moses took his sheep to Mt. Horeb expecting to hear from God.
4 So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
I told you that Moses came to Mt. Horeb expecting to hear from God.
Let me tell you why I believe that is the case. I have two reasons that I say that:
(1) The way that God addressed Moses by calling out his name twice Moses, Moses. In the Jewish language when two words are repeated back-to-back it is for emphasis. It is like saying Moses I have been waiting for you.
When I was a young boy if my mother hollered “Tom, Tom” meant that she had been waiting on me. God was telling Moses; I have been waiting on you.
(2) Look at Moses’ response. He did not say “Yes, Lord” but rather “here I am”. I finally made it here.
Make no mistake, Moses walked 25 miles out of his way to Mt. Horeb expecting to hear from God. And God waited for Moses to get there.
Verse 5 says “…for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
Wherever it is you and God are communicating (that is talking to and listening to God) that is Holy Ground.
It could be any church house, your back porch, or 25 miles from “wherever”.
When is the last time you have been on Holy Ground?
Today, Jesus invites you to Holy Ground.
Will you come talk and listen to God as the invitation is offered?
Will we try just that much harder to hear what the Lord is saying to us?
“Speak, Lord, for your Servant is Listening.”
“You have my attention, Lord, I pray my ears are hearing you correctly.”
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Lord God, my Way-maker, I know you have a destiny for me to achieve in this life. I want to follow the plan that you have laid out. Help me to understand and follow your call. Show me your will for my life and what I need to do right now to get started. Enable me to know who I am in Christ, and the special gifts and abilities you have given me. Give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation as I seek to know you more intimately. Gloria! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.