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Communicating with God
The Bible claims to be God’s primary instrument for communicating with mankind. Though God does use other forms of communication such as His creation of the natural world, supernatural events, logic, music, even feelings,- His Word (the Bible) is always the standard by which we judge not only the legitimacy of all ideals and ideas, but also derive definitive answers to life’s most important and fundamental questions. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that “All Scripture is God-breathed” (literal translation). The Bible claims to be the very breath of God’s own mouth, as though God Himself were speaking directly to us.
The Bible teaches that a believer's salvation is evidenced in that person's life through a personal relationship with God. And as with any relationship, its condition is directly proportional to the quality and quantity of communication that is shared between the parties involved. Whether it is a relationship between an employer and an employee, a parent and a child, a husband and a wife, or God and His child, communication is paramount to its growth and ultimate success. A vital part of this communication involves listening to and hearing what the other person has to say. We have probably all been involved in some type of relationship where only one of the persons is willing to listen to what the other has to say. After awhile the relationship tends to become burdensome, usually for the one doing all the listening. This principal is no different in our relationship with God. If we are doing all the talking and none of the listening, then what we stand to gain will be substantially less than if we carefully think through what he tells us in His word. To put it simply, we can’t expect to develop an intimate maturing relationship with God if we aren’t hearing what He has to say.
King David was known as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). He understood the benefit to spending time hearing from God by reading His Word. Not just reading to see how many chapters he could get through in one sitting, but reading as one who is intent upon receiving the words spoken from God’s own mouth. To King David, spending time reading God’s Word, and hearing what He has to say, was perceived, experienced and treasured as spending time alone communing with God.
David admonishes the Lord God in the 19th Psalm v.7-8:
“The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
What David benefited most from, by spending time in God’s Word, was a much grander perspective about God. By listening to the words of God’s own mouth, David received an honest and accurate conviction about how God saw him converting his soul, he received wisdom and a deep sense of joy that filled his heart. He received an enlightened perspective into God’s perfect Holiness and purity that was refreshing and satisfying amidst the wickedness, and chaos that he faced daily from his adversaries.
In the 119th psalm, the psalmist reveals the same heart as David where he writes:
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed hereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee; O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O Lord, teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.”
The Psalmist considers his time listening to God to be as valuable as all the treasures in the world. He intends to remember what God has said so that he won’t wander away from God into sin, and so that he can share the insights that he has gained with others.
I suspect its pretty evident that if we want to truly benefit from our time reading God’s Word, then we need to get away to someplace quiet where we can think and contemplate over what God is telling us. I have found from personal experience that I receive considerably more from my times in God’s Word when I go somewhere quiet, sometimes outside, sometimes in the bedroom with the door shut. Whether this time is spent early in the morning or late in the evening, whether 5 minutes or 5 hours, making a consistent priority of reading God’s Word to feed and nurture that growing relationship with God is so critical to experiencing and knowing God personally. Become a person who, like King David, and the Psalmist wants to commune with God by hearing from Him, strengthen your relationship with God through active listening.