(This is the Message I gave to the folks at Peace Haven Retirement Home last evening. Listen for God's Word)
Don’t you just love the Old Testament stories? This week at morning prayers I have been reading the stories of the kings of Judah and Israel. After David and his son Solomon’s rule the nations were led by some kings who were just plain evil. Ahab, the king in today’s scripture reading, was one of the worst. And to top it off he married Jezebel who was about as evil as he was. She may have been worse.
Ahab was so bad that God had told the prophet Elijah to go to Ahab and tell him that the nation was going to experience a severe drought. There wasn’t going to be any rain until God said so. And then he told Elijah to run far away from there to the Kerith canyon and He, God, would have the ravens bring him his meals and he would have water from the brook.
Eventually the brook dried up because there hadn’t been any rain and so God told Elijah to go Zarephath and there he would meet a widow and her son. He was to live with them and God would provide for them so they wouldn’t want for food.
And God did what he promised and Elijah did what God told him to do. Today God called Elijah to go to Ahab and he would send rain on the land.
Now we will fast forward to the gospel according to Matthew, chapter 2. An angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream and warned him that Herod was coming to Bethlehem to kill his son, Jesus. So he got up, took the child and his mother, went to Egypt and remained there.
When the danger had passed, Herod died, the angel of God appeared again to Joseph in a dream and told him it was safe to return to his home. And so he got up, took the child and his mother, and returned to Israel. But he heard as he was traveling that Herod’s son, who was also pretty evil was in charge of things so he was directed in a dream by God to go to the Galilean countryside to the town of Nazareth. And that’s exactly what he did.
Have you noticed that there were no questions asked, there was no discussion about any of the little details of the trip. Both Elijah and Joseph just packed it up and went on the way that God showed them?
Friends, God is calling each of us. I wonder if we are hearing his call. I wonder how we are each responding to his call to us. I wonder what it is that he is calling us to do or be. Are there any folks left with ears to hear God’s call to ministry, to mission, to love and care for the least and the lost?
I’m the only one who can answer for me and you’re the only one who can answer for you. And that’s all that really matters. It’s really no one else’s business if we hear His voice and how we answer his call.
I believe that what is important is to open our ears, our hearts and minds, to God’s voice. From what I’ve observed in my few years here on earth I think that people don’t really believe that God can speak to them. It seems to me that there are quite a few cynical people living in the world today.
Maybe God’s voice is silent, maybe we are in a drought of sorts from hearing God’s voice because we’ve angered God by the way we live our lives. What do you think?
I think it’s more likely that people are spending time daily in God’s word and therefore they aren’t getting the Message he has for them. It’s kind of like going on vacation and forgetting to let the newspaper person know. The newspapers keep piling up outside your door until you finally get back home. The news was there it just couldn’t find a way in. You weren’t there so you could read the news and learn. You have to pick the paper up, open it, put on your glasses if you need them, and read the news in order to learn what’s going on in the world.
Email’s the same way. We have to open our email software, open the message, and read them before we can know what the sender wanted us to know.
Friends, God calls us and he has a Message for us. But we aren’t going to get his call unless we pick up the Bible, open it, read it, meditate on it, and then live it.
God sent an angel to Joseph. He sent the ravens to feed Elijah. He spoke to Elijah and Elijah heard because he was alone most times. The noise pollution of the world didn’t compete with God’s voice. God personally spoke to Paul who sent Epaphroditus to Philippi in his place since he was in prison.
I believe that God spoke to these people and there heard his voice. I believe that he speaks to us today but our hearts and ears are plugged and we don’t hear so well. I pray that God puts his fingers in our ears, as Jesus did with the deaf man, and that our ears would be opened up so we can hear God’s beautiful voice speaking to us.
We can’t know what he has called us to do or be unless we can hear. We can’t hear unless we go to the Message and read it. We can’t understand what it’s saying to us unless we have someone teach it.
Friends, there are so many who give the excuse that they’re too busy to do daily devotions. We have time to do other things like watch movies on TV or go to ball games or go to music concerts but we don’t have time for God. And we wonder why the world is in the mess that it’s in.
God is calling us. He calls to us every day. Do we have ears to hear his call? Are we listening for his voice? Pick up the word, read it with a friend, discuss its message. Meditate, pray, and live the word and you will hear God’s voice loud and clear calling you to the particular ministry he has prepared just for you. Who knows maybe you’ll be calling fire down from heaven like Elijah. God wants you to answer his call. May you be blessed by God this evening.
Thanks be to God for his gracious Message for us through his son, Jesus. Amen.