PromptingsSeries: Whisper. James Dewhurst October 11, 2020
Six different times in the gospels, and 8 different times in the book of Revelation, Jesus repeats these six words, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” The question is, what did he mean? What was Jesus saying in this statement that was simple, but also urgent?
While it may be difficult for us to fully grasp it’s meaning, the Jewish ear would have understood it clearly with a generational understanding of Psalm 40:6, “My ears you have opened.” The Hebrew word for “opened”, is an archeological word that means, “to excavate or dig through dense material.”
The Hebrew word for “Opened” can also be translated “to pierce”, which has lead many scholars to believe David was referring to an ancient Israeli ritual. After being purchased for servitude and serving a six year term, Hebrew servants were required to be set free in their seventh year. However, if a Hebrew servant loved their master so much that they wanted to remain their servant, they were given the option of pledging their allegiance for a lifetime. This voluntary sacred commitment between a servant and their master required the piercing of their ear.
5 But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ 6 then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever. (ESV)
This decision by a servant, proven by the piercing of an ear, marks the transition from forced servitude, to voluntary service. When you get the ear, you get the person!!!
Ironically, the Latin root word for obey is obedire, which means: to give ear!
> Has your spiritual ear been pierced?
> Has your inner ear been consecrated to Christ?
> Is God’s still small voice the loudest voice in your life?
We are shaped by the voice we listen to the most!
Although sometimes it is hard to believe, learning how to hear God’s voice is the solution to a thousand problems, and the open door to a thousand opportunities!
– His voice is love!
– His voice is power!
– His voice is healing!
– His voice is wisdom!
– His voice is inspiration!
– His voice is confidence!
The Hebrew word for “Whisper”, is demna, and is translated: silence, stillness or calmness.
In other words, God speaks to us the same way God works in us – Calmness & Peace! (God speaks calmness to our storm and He works calmness in our storm!)
Hebrews 13:5 “God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
The Voice of God has appeared to normal people throughout the Bible, personally calling them to do great and might things:
> For Abraham, God spoke was at the entrance of his tent!
> For Isaac, God spoke at the well outside Nahor!
> For Moses, God spoke at the Burning bush!
> For David, God spoke at the cave of Adullam!
> For Elijah, God spoke at Mount Carmel!
> For Mordecai, God spoke at the Kings gate!
> For Jonah, God spoke in the belly of a whale!
> For Gideon, God spoke at the oak tree in Orpah!
There are 3 things that the voice of God will almost always test in each of us:
– Our Confidence! (It will always be bigger than us!)
– Our Obedience! (We may not want to do it!)
– Our Availability! (It will cost us our time!)
A preacher said – “God works through the present and willing, not the absent and able.”
Let’s talk about Gideon for a minute! One of least likely men, according to human standards, that would ever be chosen by God to do something great, was Gideon. He came from the least of all of the tribes of Israel, and was considered the least in his own family. The good news for Gideon was, God usually calls the lowly over the mighty!!! Israel had been in a harsh and brutal season. Because they started worshipping false idols, the Lord allowed the Midianites to raid their crops, destroy their food and impoverish their land for seven years, until they cried out to the Lord and repented. The moment they did, The Lord called an unknown and obscure hero with absolutely no superpowers to the rescue:
1 The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. 3 For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. 4 They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in. 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD. 7 When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD on account of the Midianites, 8 the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage. 9 And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’But you have not obeyed my voice.” 11 Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (ESV)
On the surface, it looked like Gideon just had hit the life lottery, and all he had to do was pick up the check. He was a nobody that God was offering to turn into a somebody, and God even went so far as to guarantee him a victory. So how did Gideon respond?
He was reluctant, insecure and fear-filled! Why? All Gideon could see was who he wasn’t, instead of who he was going to be. God didn’t see present Gideon, he saw future Gideon. Gideon counted his weaknesses but discounted God’s strengths!
Though Gideon looked for every excuse to run, God Whispered, “I am with you!”
One of the clearest ways to know God has spoken to you, is that he will confirm to you and remind you of what he has already spoken:
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (ESV)
So, how did it turn out? After a lot of convincing and a bunch of confirming fleeces, Gideon finally took command of his 32,000 soldier army, that was preparing to take on 135,000 enemy soldiers. And then, God did the unthinkable:
2 The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’ ” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. 4 And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” 6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. 7 And the LORD said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.” 8 So the people took provisions in their hands, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the 300 men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley. (ESV)
+After God somehow convinced Gideon to take on an army that was outnumbered 4 to 1, God then reduced it two more times down to 300, which was thirteen to one odds!
+So let me get this right, God chose the lowest man, from the least tribe, with the smallest army, to win the greatest victory for a bunch of hurting people? YES!!!
+The verdict? Israel’s army won! God used Gideon’s weakness to display His power!
The question is not, are we qualified to do it. The question is, did God call us to do it?
While God doesn’t always visit us under an oak tree like Gideon, He speaks to us everyday to step out and obey his call through inner promptings, to bless others!
Furtick – “Some of the most important conversations in your life will not be what God says to you, but what you say to someone else, based upon what God said to you!”
There are two words in the N.T for time. The first one is Chronos, which refers to clock time. The second is Kairos, which refers to a critical, “Carpe Diem”, opportune time.
Kairos is an archery term that denotes an arrow being fired to hit a target!
As Israel was facing extinction, Mordecai told queen Esther she was having a Kairos moment in:
14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (ESV)
When God visited Gideon under that oak tree 2,500 years ago, he was aiming him at a target called Midian. But much like you and I, he wrestled with fear, negotiated with God and second guessed the voice he was hearing.
How many of you have been there?
How do we know if we’re hearing God’s voice or just hearing ours? 3 filters I use!
> Is it something I would naturally think to do? (God often calls us to selfless things!)
> Is it something that Jesus would likely do? (If Jesus would do it it’s probably okay!)
> Is it something that would help or bless others? (If I am wrong, others will still win!)
God spoke through the prophet in:
31 Days of Fasting & Prayer!
Matthew 18:19-20“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (God shows up when Christians are praying!)
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (Prayer takes humility!)
Pray for God’s will to be done in our nation, not man’s! Matthew 6:9-10 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Pray against the energies agenda to bring hated and division! Matthew 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Pray for repentance and forgiveness to become the responses that heal our nation and unite us! Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Pray for our president, candidates, government leaders and local authorities! 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV) “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
Pray for the health of our nation and for God to protect our families from any sickness! Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV) “Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”
Pray for the economy to strengthen and recover fully! Jeremiah 29:7 “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Pray for revival to touch our land and draw people to God! Psalm 80:7 (NIV) “Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”
Pray for the health of our faith leaders all over America, who are attempting to navigate these delicate times! “Lord, please cause [Our faith leaders] to be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in Your work. Help them to know that their toil is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
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