Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2016-18&version=NIV
I don’t know if you are like me or not, but somedays it is more challenging for me to read and digest what is before me. Somedays I simply have to put things away, do things I have to do, pray that God will make things stand out to me, return to the reading, and something WILL speak to me. Suddenly a hidden treasure unfolds before me. hummmmmmmm…..speak to me…….
So how do you know that The Lord is speaking to you? You may be saying I have NO idea how to hear from HIM, does HE speak in a loud voice like HE did with Moses at the burning bush? Does HE show signs? Just EXACTLY how does it work?
First, there is NO magic…NO magic formula…no certain number of prayers to say…or words to repeat…or things you must do (like run through fire, walk over hot coals, or jump off the end of pier in the middle of the ocean…just throwing a few things out) to hear from God. God WANTS to speak to each of us THROUGH HIS WORD. And we must know HIS Word to know we are hearing from Him (and not false teachings). What if someone you loved deeply wrote you a letter? You KNEW it was a special letter because you loved deeply; yet you weren’t exactly sure how they felt about you. BUT….because it was so special you decided to put it on your dresser, attach it to the mirror, and just look at it each day thinking OH how special it is to have the letter…I will cherish it forever. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN???….. You would NEVER know how much that person loved you or that they had asked you to marry them….because you didn’t take the time to OPEN it and READ it. I see the Bible as a love letter to us…filled with love notes, wisdom, things to watch out for in this life, examples of faith, and WHO protects us and so much more. Isn’t it wonderful to have HIS Word to speak to us and keep us on HIS path.
Second, I think it is important to KNOW that when God does speak to you HE will NEVER ask you to do something that goes against HIS Word. Let’s say for example that you (totally hypothetical here and JUST an example) were single and met the love of your life, dated for months, decided to move in together because it was cheaper, and then discovered this person you loved with all your heart was married. (GULP) So you begin to pray: “Lord I love this person so much, they say their marriage ended long ago and they just never did the paper work so do you want me to marry them?” OR “Lord, please let them divorce so we can marry but in the meantime I’ll live with them until they are divorced?” OR “Lord, should I kill that other person to get them out of the picture so we can be married? I KNOW, I don’t even have to say this …. pretty extreme examples….BUT….the point is ALL THREE of those prayers go against God’s Word on MANY levels…adultery, lust, coveting, asking that a holy union intentionally be busted up, and then there is the example of murder. OH MAN DID I PICK SOME EXAMPLES OR WHAT???? These examples again are extreme, they are not statements of judgement, and the bible does give certain circumstances where divorce is acceptable…not HIS perfect will but acceptable. The point is when we pray to God we need to KNOW HIS Word so we KNOW when we are hearing from HIM. Our prayers should ALWAYS line up with HIS Word. AND HE WILL NEVER NEVER NEVER want you/me to do something that goes against HIS Word. God is always faithful and NEVER asks us to do anything outside of HIS Word. I hope that makes sense.
So…. now that we are midway through Proverbs, I thought it would be a good time to present this question — IS the Lord speaking to you? Do you remember Solomon’s prayer….he asked for a discerning heart….for wisdom. That was TOTALLY in line with God’s will and God answered him….LOOK how many Proverbs he wrote that are recorded for us today!! Proverbs may be the easiest way to Discern His Voice. As you are reading you may read a proverb (or two or three) and a few things may happen.
You may read one and an incident or habit in your life may come to mind. For example, there have been many Scriptures about the “words”or the “tongue”. And maybe something you said or say often comes to mind. If you feel a tug on your heart and things begin to flash through your mind where you may have slandered, gossiped, cursed, grumbled….then the Lord is talking to you. He is gently showing you HIS way and comparing your actions to say…think about it…bring it back in line my sweet child….I WILL help you!!
You may pick up on a theme such as “poor vs wealth” which in turn makes you think about tithing, offerings, helping the poor, the needy, the widows, the helpless, the sick, etc, then you know HE is speaking to you. Or the scriptures speaking about mocking, pride, dishonesty, discipline, children, family, spouse, etc…. and one topic nudges your heart. That nudge may be the Holy Spirit speaking directly to you. And although some of the examples I have provided lean toward the negative which would then open us up for change and allow God to work through us more; God speaks to us in areas we may need to change but HE ALSO speaks to comfort us, give us a pat on the back, show us a door to go through, or simply tell you and me… I AM HERE FOR YOU. I AM YOUR REFUGE. I AM ALL YOU NEED. Remember, Jesus tells us in the NT that “there is no condemnation in HIM.” There is a difference in condemnation and conviction. If you have questions about that topic….please ask. Each of us are led to different Proverbs according to each season of our life, each time we read the Bible, God will bring something different out. It is special. HIS Word brings great love and peace…..regardless of circumstances. Remember…..HE tells us HE often speaks in a still small voice…. and that means we often need to be still and quiet to receive.
Sometimes I make spread sheets to help me understand. I made one last year for these Proverbs with two simple columns. One column was “what it is like living with God’s wisdom” and the other side was “what is it like to live without His wisdom.” I was then and am now AMAZED at how many times the scripture references that the fools, sinners, unfaithful, etc will live a hell of their own making (such as Prov 11:3 “…the unfaithful are destroyed by their own duplicity. or Prov 11:5 …the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.”). I know I have gone down that road myself and my choices resulted in sin and death of some part of me. Once again…CHOICES vs CONSEQUENCES.
The OH SO GOOD news is that ALL the good things we read about…the wisdom, love, hope, future, refuge, safety, joy, etc are ALL the wonderful attributes of our awesome God. And since we are righteous through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ … we have those characteristics IN us because the Holy Spirit lives in us so we already have them….joy, delivered from death, diligent, wise, blessing on the crown of the head of the just, men of integrity, and on and on. I LOVE being reminded of God’s character and WHO I am because HE lives IN ME….in YOU!!
So, in these chapters what spoke to you the most? Did you hear the still small voice on any particular topic. I’d love to hear from you!!
Here are a few of my favorite verses —
Chapter 16 — verse 3: “Commit to The Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Verse 7: “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD HE MAKES even his enemies live at peace with him.”
Verse 9: “In his heart a man plans his course, but The Lord determines his steps.”
Verse 18 — “Pride goes before a fall” (OUCH)
Chapter 17 — verse 17 –“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Verse 22 — “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Chapter 18 — verse 10 –“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”
We have been reading Proverbs for several days now. If you need a reminder as to why we are reading them and what their purpose and theme is check Proverbs 1:1-7.
Proverbs 2:3-6 says: “…indeed, IF you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for HIDDEN TREASURE, THEN you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom”
So …. are you seeking for God’s insight, wisdom, and understanding….and ALL HE has for YOU… as if you were digging for gold in your backyard because your daddy TOLD you it was there because he hid it there JUST FOR YOU? HE did, you know???
We are digging for hidden treasures as we read each day, discovering the meaning of new words God had in the original text, and putting it all into practice.
Isn’t it exciting!!!??? so…share, share…. what touched you??
Sharing HIS love,