the God who hears

Does God hear when I call on Him in prayer? If I don’t get an answer is God just hard of hearing? Somewhere we’ve acquired an illusion that God as a toothy grinned grandfatherly figure straining to hear through his old-fashion ear horn. This leaves us with an idol-god who is finite and rather creepy when you think about it.

Take a quick glance at Scripture and it will debunk any myth of a God who is decrepit or hard of hearing. Surely He is kind, slow to anger, full of all-consuming joy, spoils His children with indefeasible grace and generosity. But He does not have a cane or have need of hearing aides.

God hears.

Do you realize how important it is that God hears? The God of the universe hears the prayers of all His children (Ps. 65:2; 4:3; Jeremiah 29:12). The gods made with the hands of man cannot hear,[1] but human hands do not make God. He made man. And He made man with a mouth that are able to speak. With the psalmist, use your mouth to joyfully sing, “I love the Lord for He hears my voice” (Ps. 116:1)

Jesus after He raised Lazarus from the dead prayed and thanked God, “I knew that You always hear me” (John 11:41-42). Jesus prayed knowing that He was praying to His Father who listened.

“Because I have listened definitely to one thing from God, it does not follow that I will listen to everything He says. The way in which I show God that I neither love nor respect Him is by the obtuseness of my heart and mind towards what He says. If I love my friend, I intuitively detect what he wants, and Jesus says, “Ye are My friends.” Have I disobeyed some command of my Lord’s this week? If I had realized that it was a command of Jesus, I would not consciously have disobeyed it; but most of us show such disrespect to God that we do not even hear what He says, He might never have spoken.”[2] – Oswald Chambers

God hears more than words.

He knows the motivation behind my words. He sees my words straight through to my heart. He knows what I really want. Now God does meet wants, even needs. He demonstrates over and over His sensitive ears to the cry of the orphan and widow (Exodus 22:23); the plea of the poor (Exodus 22:27); the cry of the needy (Ps. 69:33). However, God does just give me whatever I want whenever I want it. Thankfully.

God has selective hearing.

God is not a passive dad that tunes out His children for no good reason. He hears the prayer of the righteous God-fearer,[3] and often He ignores the cries of the unrighteous sinner.[4] It is not that God is insensitive to the cries of sinners; it’s that sinners are not sensitive towards listening and obeying God. Their judgment is God replicating the treatment they are giving Him.

God has spoken many words, 774,746 to be exact.[5] Start by listening closely to those words. As Jesus said, to each of the believers in the seven churches of Turkey, “He who has ears let him hear.” (cf. Revelation 3-4)

My daughter Justus is 2-years old. She has good ears. Still she has a natural inclination to ignore the authority God has put over her like Charlie Brown listened to his teacher at school. For the most part, she hears the words of her parent’s say and eagerly listens. I want to have eager ears toward my authority, God, like my daughter.

A child’s attitude is “Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.” (cf. 1 Samuel 3:10) If you have not cultivated this devotion of hearing, you can only hear God’s voice at certain times; at other times you are taken up with things—things which you say you must do, and you become deaf to Him, you are not living the life of a child. Have you heard God’s voice today, moreover, have you listened to God’s voice today?

[1] Cf. 1 Kings 18:26-27; Psalm 115:6; 135:17; Isaiah 46:7

[2] Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest : Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1993).

[3] Cf. Prov. 15:29; Psalm 34:15; 145:19; John 9:31

[4] Cf. Isaiah 59:1-2; cf. Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 1:15; Jeremiah 11:11,14; Ezekiel 8:18; Amos 5:23; John 9:31

[5] This number is a guesstimation taking an average among English Bible translations.

the God who reveals (general & special revelation)

I am fan of games. My wife and I enjoy playing strategy games together and with friends. I suppose my love for games was bred into me from a young age. I got my first Nintendo when I was about 12 years old. But I think my love for games even goes back earlier to tag on the elementary school “playground” or peek-a-boo with my parents as a toe-headed toddler. Peek-a-boo is a fun game. My 19-month old daughter loves to play by covering her little eyes with her little hands.

Peek-a-boo is the first step towards playing Hide-and-seek. It is interesting that Hide-and-seek is a game that we love to play with our children, but God never plays with us. He is always with us and He has revealed Himself plainly to mankind. You can summarize the ways God reveals Himself to man in two ways: general revelation and special revelation. General revelation refers to the general truths that can be known about God through nature. Special revelation refers to the more specific truths that can be known about God through the supernatural.

The God who reveals Himself through nature (general revelation)

First, God is seen in creation. God’s existence and power can be seen throughout the vastness of the universe, in the order of the animal kingdom, in the rules of gravity or thermal dynamics, and in the details or structures of plants and cells. The wonder of creation declares it must be made and just did not happen by mere chance, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)

Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” God’s eternal power and divine nature are “clearly seen” and “understood” from what He has made, and there is no excuse for denying these facts. This is was I wrote about a few weeks ago, when I was on a hike with my family through the Muir Woods just north of San Francisco.

Second, God is seen in humanity. He is not only seen in your biological makeup, but also your psychological[1] makeup too. God has placed within every man a moral compass that that points us True North, a radar system that warns us of evil and harm, and a homing beacon that deep down gravitates us towards God (Jeremiah 31:33). How is it that sinful men still have a bearing of what is right and wrong? Did that just didn’t happen? No, it is imbedded within your DNA as a gift from God. It is divine proof that your Maker has marked you with His image (Genesis 1:28).

God reveals Himself through nature. He has put redemptive themes all throughout the universe, planet earth, and humanity, which point the creation back to its Creator. You do not have to look far or wide to find it, but most people choose to ignore it or redefine it.

The God who reveals Himself through supernatural (special revelation)

God doesn’t just reveal Himself through nature, but also through supernatural means. Special revelation is when God reveals Himself miraculously. He revealed Himself through physical appearances (Genesis 3:8, 18:1; Exodus 3:1-4, 34:5-7), dreams (Genesis 28:12, 37:5; 1 Kings 3:5; Daniel 2) , visions (Genesis 15:1; Ezekiel 8:3-4; Daniel 7; 2 Corinthians 12:1-7), the written Word of God, and most importantly—Jesus Christ.

One of the primary means God reveals Himself supernaturally to man is through the writing of His Word—the Bible. Think about it, God wrote a book. He did have to, but God decided to reveal everything that you need to know about Him, what He expects from you, and what He has done for you in the Bible. He spoke in a way that is clearly understood. He miraculously guided the original authors of Scripture to accurately record His redemptive message to mankind, but He still used their own styles and personalities. The Word of God is inspired, profitable, and sufficient (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12).

Where special revelation is seen in its ultimate form is in the Person of Jesus Christ. God became a human being (John 1:1, 14). He came as the Word within human skin, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son … The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” (Hebrews 1:1-3) God became a human being, in the Person of Jesus Christ, to become the atoning sacrifice for your sin on the cross (Philippians 2:6-8). Human sin needed a perfect human substitute for His sin, which is Jesus. He is the ultimate “special revelation” from God.

Why is general and special revelation so important?

First, God makes Himself known so that you can know Him. God wants to be known. He is not silent. He has given you a glimpse of His character, His purposes and plans, and has given you many avenues to know Him. Simply read the Bible and look to Jesus and you will get to know an amazing God.

Second, not only does God reveal Himself to you, but He also reveals who you are too. He makes Himself known because He knows that you need Him. He is Creator and you are His creation. He is perfect and you are imperfect due to sin (Romans 1-9). He is Savior and you need redeemed. He takes the initiative to reveal Himself to you so that you would respond and join in a relationship with Him.

God does not play peek-a-boo. He does not want you to be left in the dark as to who He is and His purposes for humanity. Instead He has revealed Himself to all people, at all times, and in all places that proves that God exists and that He is intelligent, powerful, and transcendent. You can know Him and have a relationship with Him today.

[1] And I mean the true sense of the word psychological, which means the study of the soul.

the God who writes

Unique among others religions of this world our God wrote a book. God is a writer. He is a prolific non-fiction writer who writes in various genres from narrative, poetry, song, proverbs, to letters. He loves to write. And He writes to be understood. He used many men, languages, and historical settings, over a long period of time to do it. He inspired some forty writers breathing His words into theirs.

God often wrote with His finger. The finger of God is a picturesque expression of God at work. His finger chiseled the Ten Commandments [Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 9:10],[1] created the heavens [Psalm 8:3; Isaiah 48:13; 64:8], sent miraculous plagues upon Egypt [Exodus 8:19], drew judgment on the wall [Daniel 5:5, 22-28], and empowered Jesus. And He said, “If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you” [Luke 11:20].

Jesus is endowed with the title “Author and Perfecter of our faith” [Hebrews 12:2]. In other words, He is the pioneer and perfect example of the faith we too are to express in our lives. He has the faith that endures, even to the cross with such shame and scorn. Jesus writes with His life a biblical definition of faith

God wrote the Bible through the Spirit and lived it out through the Word in the flesh, Jesus Christ. Jesus wrote too. There is really only one occasion and it occurs when an adulterous woman is condemned. [John 8:1-11] Jesus stoops to the ground and wrote something on it. I wonder what Jesus wrote on the ground? Maybe He wrote the crimes or judgments of the condemners, or maybe He simply did a divine doodle. We don’t know. It’s a wonder we do not have any other writings from pen of Jesus Himself, unlike Buddha, Muhammad. Jesus’ followers recorded what we do have. And more writings have been written about Jesus than any other man many in human history.

Although God has never won the Pulitzer Prize or a Gold Medallion has never been placed on the Bible, it has sold more copies that any book in history, even to this day. If God writes then your highest aim must be to read what He has said. You can still read His writings today through His Bible. It is a life-transforming Book. And it is still transforming lives through the power of Christ. The book that God wrote is timeless truth. Pick it up and expect to be changed.

2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

[1] Exodus 32:16—“The writing was the writing of God”, cf. Deuteronomy 10:2, 4; Exodus 24:12; 34:1