The book of Numbers tells the story of the prophet Balaam riding on his donkey to go to visit some men God specifically told him not to visit. Along the way, the donkey encounters an angel of God standing in the path ahead with a sword drawn, ready to kill Balaam.
The donkey tries three times to get Balaam to change his course, but Balaam would not change. When the donkey stopped, Balaam would strike the animal trying to keep him moving. Finally, God allowed the donkey to speak to Balaam, who then realized there was an angel ahead who would have killed him.
Sometimes, we are so fixed on doing what we want to do that we do not hear the Lord when He tells us what He wants us to do. The Lord cries out to us, “Now listen up! Hear what I’m trying to say to you.” But we do not listen, nor do we hear, because our hearts are set on what we want.
Now hear this! This is the Lord’s exclamation to introduce something or to make an announcement instructing us what He wants us to do. Often, we miss His instruction because we are tuned to our own channels. We hear only what we say to ourselves. We don’t have the sense to hear what is going on around us or ahead of us because we are set only to hear what is in us. We lack the discretion to hear what we should fear.
Proverbs 2:10-12 tells us this about who we should listen to. It says, “When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil.” How then do we get this sense of discretion and understanding?
Well, we must remember that if God tells us to do something specifically, we must not disregard it. Jonah spent a few days in the belly of a large fish because he tried to disregard what God told him to do. We must learn to listen up in all our circumstances. God doesn’t just come to speak to us when things are tough; He doesn’t just come to speak to us when we are in the deepest and darkest times of life.
God wants to speak to us when things are going well for us.
You can know if you are not listening up when you find yourself kicking against a goad. A goad is a pointed object the farmers of old would use to prod their livestock to get them to go in a particular direction. The goad was used to train the behavior of an animal to do what the master wanted. The animal didn’t want to be pricked by the pointed end of the goad.
In Acts 26, Paul recounts his conversion story. When his name was still Saul, he was on his way to Damascus to persecute followers of Jesus. As he approached the city, he was stunned by a bright light and a voice saying “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
It was Jesus, and He was telling Saul, “Now Listen Up! You are fighting for what I want you to fight against! You are pursuing what I don’t want you to catch. You are missing what I want you to catch because you are not listening for My voice in your life.”
I know that in my life when things have been tough, I looked for the Lord to show up in my circumstance only to find that He wanted to show up in my response to my circumstance. When things were great, I thanked and blessed the Lord only to find that I should have thanked Him and blessed Him in every circumstance.
I needed to learn to shut my mouth and to listen up for Him in every way and in everything so that I could learn to hear Him when He was ready to speak to me. Don’t wait till your circumstances scream at you to talk to Him. Learn to listen up for Him in everything. Then you will have discretion and understanding to guide you before you need to be goaded to change your course.
Live a Delivered Life. Love you.