Monday, August 22, 2011

OBEYING THE VOICE OF THE LORD

If you want direction—if you think you’re ready to do what he asks—then let me ask you: Are you ready for an unsettling word, a mission of hardship and rejection, a life of faith with no guaranteed comforts except those of the Holy Ghost?

That is exactly what happened to Isaiah! The prophet volunteered, “Send me, Lord,” and God sent him on a hard, difficult mission!

“And He said, Go . . . . Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart” (Isaiah 6:9-10)

The word Isaiah heard was not flattering! On the contrary, it would make him hated, unpopular. The Lord told him, “Go, harden those who refuse to hear me speak! Close their eyes and ears—finish the hardening of their hearts!”

If you want to know God’s voice, then you must be willing to hear everything he says! God will never say, “Go!” until he first asks, “Who will go?” He comes to you asking, “Are you willing to do anything I tell you and do it my way? Are you willing to lay down your life?”

When I prayed for direction years ago, the Lord told me clearly, “Go back to New York.” That was a most uncomfortable word for me! I had been ready to retire. I had planned to write books and preach at selected places. I thought, “Lord, I’ve already spent my best years there. Give me a break!”

Yes, we want to hear the voice of God, but we want to hear it comfortably! We don’t want it to shake us. Yet, why should God give us his voice of direction if he is not sure we will obey him?

Abraham learned to hear God’s voice by first obeying what he heard—at the time he heard it! God’s word to him was to sacrifice his son, Isaac (see Genesis 22:2). Abraham acted on that word and his obedience became a sweet smelling aroma that touched the whole world: “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:18).