Hearing From God

Just a short string of thoughts about hearing from God:  I suppose that there are several components required to be in place and active if one is to hear from God.

1.  God must exist, and be communicating;
2.  The object of God's communication must also exist;
3.  It is not necessary, but is helpful, for the object of God's communication to be listening (I have learned by experience that God knows how thick my skull is, and what it takes to get through to me if I am somewhat inclined to hear from Him);
4.  The object of God's communications must have 'ears to hear', or 'hearing ears';
5.  There must be no significant interference which would block the communication.

Then, if there is effective communication, one must then deal with it one way of the other. (Stop and ponder this for a moment - it may determine either benefits or 'non-benefits').

Concerning this last component of effective communication, two portions of Scripture come to my mind, with opposite results.

First is a story about King Ahab, a King of the Northern Kingdom of Israel hundreds of years Before Christ.  Ahab's son-in-law was Jehoshaphat, King of Judah at that time.  Ahab was evil, but Jehoshaphat was good.

2Chronicles 18:  Now Jehoshaphat had much wealth and honor, and he became son-in-law to Ahab.   And after some years he went down to Ahab in Samaria. And Ahab slaughtered many sheep and cattle for him and for the people who were with him, and urged him to go up against Ramoth-Gilead.

And Ahab the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, "Will you go up with me to Ramoth-Gilead?" And he answered him, "I am as you are, and my people are as your people with you in war."
Then Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "Seek first of all the word of Yahweh." Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets, four hundred men. And he said to them, "Shall we go to Ramoth-Gilead to battle, or shall we cease?" And they said, "Go up, since God will give it into the hand of the king."

Then Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not here another prophet of Yahweh that we might inquire of him?" Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is yet one man by whom to seek Yahweh, but I hate him, because he never prophesies good concerning me, but always disaster. He is Micaiah the son of Imlah." Then Jehoshaphat said, "Let not the king say thus."

Then the king of Israel called to a eunuch and said, "Quickly bring Micaiah the son of Imlah."
Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were each sitting on his throne, clothed in robes. And they were sitting at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them. Zedekiah the son of Kenaanah made for himself horns of iron, and he said, "Thus says Yahweh: 'With these you will gore Aram to their destruction.'" And all the prophets prophesied thus, saying, "Go up to Ramoth-Gilead and triumph! Yahweh will give it into the hand of the king."

Then the messenger who went to call Micaiah said to him, "Behold, the words of the prophets are good with one voice to the king. Please let your word be as one with them and speak good." But Micaiah said, "As Yahweh lives, only what my God has said, that will I speak." And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, "Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-Gilead to war or shall I cease?" And he said, "Go up and triumph! They shall be given into your hand." But the king said to him, "How many times shall I make you swear that you speak nothing except the truth in the name of Yahweh?" Then he said, "I saw all Israel scattered upon the mountains like sheep that had no shepherd. And Yahweh said, 'These have no masters; let them return to his own house in peace.'"

Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not say to you he would not prophesy good concerning me, but only disaster?" Then Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of Yahweh: I saw Yahweh sitting upon his throne with all the host of heaven standing on his right and on his left. And Yahweh said, 'Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel that he would go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead?' And one said this, and another said that. Then a spirit came forth and stood before Yahweh and said, 'I will entice him.' Then Yahweh said to him, 'By what means?' Then he said, 'I will go forth and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And he said, 'You will entice him and will also succeed. Go out and do so.' So now, behold, Yahweh has put a spirit of deception into the mouths of these your prophets. Yahweh has spoken disaster against you."

Then Zedekiah the son of Kenaanah came near and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, "Which way did the Spirit of Yahweh come from me to speak to you?" Then Micaiah said, "Behold, you will see on that day when you go into a private room to hide yourself." Then the king of Israel said, "Take Micaiah and return him to Amon the commander of the city and to Jehoash the son of the king, and say, 'Thus says the king: "Put this one into the prison house, and let him eat a meager ration of bread and water until I return in peace."'" And Micaiah said, "If you surely return in peace Yahweh has not spoken with me." Then he said, "Hear, peoples, all of them!"

Then the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up to Ramoth-Gilead. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you, wear your garments." So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went to war. Now the king of Aram had commanded the commanders of his chariots, saying, "Do not fight with the small or the great, but only with the king of Israel." And it happened that when the commanders of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, then they said, "It is the king of Israel!" And they turned against him to fight. Then Jehoshaphat cried out and Yahweh helped him. God drove them away from him. And it happened that when the commanders of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from following him.

Now a certain man drew the bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the soldering of his breastplate armor. Then he said to the chariot driver, "Turn around; get me away from the war camp, for I am wounded."
And the battle went on that day, and the king of Israel was propped up in the chariot facing Aram until the evening. And he died at the time of the going down of the sun.

So, King Ahab had 'ears to hear' in that he heard a communication from God, but he was unable or unwilling to accept and obey the word of God through the prophet (which would have saved his life), and he died in the battle.

Another, more miraculous, tale is told in the New Testament.  It has to do with a man named Apollos, and a couple named Priscilla and Aquila.  Apollos was an eloquent man from Alexandra, and Priscilla and Aquila were tent-makers and companions of the Apostle Paul.

Act 18:24-28  Now a certain Jew named Apollos, a native Alexandrian, arrived in Ephesus—an eloquent man who was well-versed in the scriptures.   This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and being enthusiastic in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John.  And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately. And when he wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he assisted greatly those who had believed through grace.   For he was vigorously refuting the Jews in public, demonstrating through the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

It amazes me that Apollos, an eloquent man who was 'mighty in the Scriptures', was able to receive clarification of the God's Gospel message from a couple of layman tent-makers!  I consider this to be a major miracle!  Not only was he able to listen to what they said, but he was also able to integrate their instructions into his understanding of God and His message, and to communication that effectively to others!!

He heard the word of God and obeyed.  Amazing grace from God!!

From these two stories I perceive that God has an uncanny knack for choosing to speak to us through the channel which we are least likely to hear!  The reason for this is clearly explained in the following passage:

1Co 1:27  But the foolish things of the world God chose in order that he might put to shame the wise, and the weak things of the world God chose in order that he might put to shame the strong,
1Co 1:28  and the insignificant of the world, and the despised, God chose, the things that are not, in order that he might abolish the things that are,
1Co 1:29  so that all flesh may not boast before God.

God chooses those who are not respected that He might shame those who think that they are respectable.  If King Ahab had been able to receive God's message through the despised prophet Micaiah, it would have saved his life!  But he could not, and was slain.

Don't let that happen to you, dear reader!