Last Sunday as we finished the book of Ecclesiastes, I mentioned that one of the key elements of what it means to "fear God" is that we listen to Him. Far too often we fail to pause and sit quietly in God's presence and listen to His authoritative voice. We're too busy, too preoccupied with our own agendas, too consumed with ourselves, too overwhelmed by life's frustrations and our inability to make sense of it all ... and also very confused about what it means to "listen" to God.
We've also become somewhat infatuated with the idea of needing a supernatural encounter with God where He "speaks" to our heart. We want this kind of personal, intimate, spiritual encounter. We've been told that "religion" is bad and we need a "relationship" where we know God in a personal way. We've become cynical about the legalistic ways of folks who get caught up in the traditions of the church, the ordinary means of grace, and the disciplines of the Christian life. We want a "fresh" encounter with the Holy Spirit! We want a vibrant experience with the living God! We want a "power encounter" with God! We want to hear from Him personally and have Him speak to our particular situation!
First let me say that all of that is good! We should crave a relationship with the living God that is personal, intimate, vibrant, fresh, powerful, relevant, etc. We should long to hear from Him on a daily basis and seek to obey what He tells us. But do we realize that every bit of this is available to us as we read the Bible? Not just some - but EVERY bit of it!!! We need to stop waiting for some sort of supernatural, mystical, tingly experience and employ the ordinary means of "listening to God" that He has given us ... we must read the Bible!!
This Sunday we will examine 2 Peter 1:16-21 and discuss the importance and necessity of reading, studying, and memorizing God's Word if we truly desire to LISTEN to Him. Please read this text prior to Sunday. And prepare your heart for the other ordinary means of grace that He gives us ... the Lord's Table. Come ready to listen to God and feast at His table!