Robert Morris — Value His Voice
We're in a series called, "Frequency: Tune In, Hear God". So that's what we're talking about that God is speaking and we can tune in to the right frequency. 1 Samuel 3:1 says, "Now, the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli". This is when God called him, remember, and he spoke to him. Watch this verse though, "and the word of the Lord was rare in those days". "The word of the Lord was rare in those days". Now, we think of the word "rare" as in limited supply and that's one of the definitions. But in the Hebrew here that's not the definition or the primary definition of this word.
The primary definition from the Hebrew word here is, valuable. The word of the Lord was precious and valuable and it was rare. God wasn't speaking much during that time, but, it was valuable. The title of the message today is, "Value His Voice". We want to hear God but this is going to be the most practical in the series so far. But you have to understand if you want to hear God you're going to have to set a value on hearing God. You're going to have to value his voice.
So let me give you some, some practical ways to hear God, all right? Here's number one, set an appointment. Set an appointment. Now, in Exodus 19 where I ask you to turn, look at verses 10-11, "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow and let them wash their clothes and let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people'". And then, if you look down at verse 19 it says that, "When the blast of the trumpets sounded long and become louder and louder, Moses spoke —" watch, "— and God answered him by voice".
So God spoke. Moses spoke. God spoke to him and spoke to the people. But here's what you need to know, God set an appointment. He said, "Have the people get ready today and tomorrow and on the third day I will speak". So God set an appointment. I know this is practical but a missed appointment becomes a disappointment. And if you don't set an appointment you will miss it. Here's what's amazing, we set appointments to meet with people we don't even like. But we don't set an appointment to meet with the most important person there is.
When our church was smaller there was a man of the church that sold his company. He was going to give a tithe, a very large gift to the church. And at that time, I did a lot of the signing at the bank. I don't do that anymore but the church was so small, so, he called and said, "Hey, there will be some documents to sign for me to transfer these funds. Can you meet me in the morning"? And I said, no, I have an appointment with the Lord. I meet with the Lord every morning. And I remember when we went to the bank then; we met in the afternoon, he said, "You know, I heard you talk about meeting with God, but, I didn't think, I just didn't understand how important it was to you until this very large gift was coming in", that actually, helped us pay cash for the second phase of a building in the millions of dollars. But I said, "I can't do it because I have an appointment".
How important is it to you to meet with God? That's what I'm asking you. There are a lot of people that don't have an appointment with God. And yet, we want to hear God, but, you don't ever set an appointment with him. Set a date and a time. It's that simple. When you set an appointment in your smart phone you set a date and a time. You set a place, also. What day you're going to meet and what time you're going to meet and what place, where are you going to meet. God comes to a prepared atmosphere. The reason God came this weekend in all of our services is because we prepared. What would you think if you came to church some weekend and we weren't prepared? And by the way, there are a lot of churches that do that. They call it letting the Holy Spirit lead. But the Holy Spirit doesn't lead through disorder.
So you have to be prepared. What if you came and dropped your children off and there were no teachers? There were no greeters at the door, or, I came and I wasn't prepared. God comes to prepared atmosphere. I'm simply saying it's not unspiritual to set an appointment with God. It's very, very important to hearing God and set a time and set a place. I have a place where I met with God. Pastor Tom Lane, some of you know, at the Dallas campus. Hi, Pastor Tom. Pastor Tom, where does he meet with God? McDonald's. Pastor Tom has been customer of the month at McDonald's. I'm so proud. I am proud of him that he's been meeting with God for 40 years, every day.
So set an appointment. Here's number two, be still and worship. Be still and worship. Psalms 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God". Exodus 14:13, and Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord". This is where they cross the Red Sea. Same in Chronicles 20:17, "You will not need to fight in this battle". I want you to just look at that for a moment. Would you receive that word if you're in a battle? It's a pretty good word from God, isn't it? "You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord". This is the hardest thing for people to do to hear God is to be still and worship.
In 2 Chronicles 20, when God said, "Stand still". He instructed them to send the singers out first in the battle". So not the warriors. They sent a worship team out in front. The worship team started worshipping and the three armies that had encamped against Israel turned and killed each other and the warriors never even had to fight because God showed up and did it. Would that be all right? Whatever battle you're in? Okay. But here's the problem. We're going to talk about praying and reading the word. That's important, but, most people go straight to prayer and reading the word. The most important thing you can do if you're going to ever hear God or meet with God is to be still and worship. It's before you pray and read the word. It's before God speaks.
Just yesterday, I was telling some of the guys backstage. I haven't told you this but I've been having severe back problems since July last year, severe. I've had procedures, injections, I've gone to doctor after doctor. I've gone to a shoulder doctor because I fell years ago, you know, and hurt my shoulder. I thought, well, maybe that's what's doing it. I left the shoulder doctor's last Tuesday thinking, "Well, that's probably what's causing it". And he said, "It's not what's causing it". It has felt like a knife between my shoulder blades. I'm talking about all, constantly, constantly. And so, when I left the doctor Tuesday, I thought to myself, my only hope is God. My only hope if God.
And this Friday I was getting ready, I was going to go speak at Pink Friday night but I remember thinking, you know, I think I have time for an extended quiet time today. Not just a quiet time but an extended quiet time. And so, I wasn't thinking about my back. I was just thinking about meeting with God. And I just got into the presence of God. And during worship, I did like I've done many times, on some of the songs I sang my own words. I don't know if you've ever done that. But I was singing the melody and the tune and maybe the pitch, I don't know. But it was close, the best I could do.
But I just began to cry out to God. But I begin to cry out about some things that I've been dealing with. Some areas of weakness in my life. I'm repenting. Places where I've blown it and I messed up. I'm just crying out to God. And then, I began to just cry out to God to heal my back, because, I said, God you're it. You're the only — I can't do it without you. I'm telling you, God healed my back yesterday morning. In my quiet time. In my quiet time. And I know what I know, when you've had a knife in your back for nine months, eight or nine months, you know. But it happened because of God. But I was meeting with God. I, please, I want everyone here to have an intimate relationship with Jesus and this is part of it.
I know it sounds very practical, but, set an appointment. Be still and worship. Here's number three, pray and read. Pray and read the Bible. Mark 1:35, "In the morning, haven risen a long while before daylight, he —", that's Jesus, "...went out and departed to a solitary place —", notice a time and a place in the morning and a place. "— and there he prayed". Psalm 119:147, this is David speaking, "I rise before the dawning of the morning and cry for help". That's what I felt I did yesterday. "I hope in your word —", so cry for help is prayer. Hope in your word is read the word.
So I'm going to do something that's kind of strange, I'm going to tell you for what to pray and where to read. Okay? I said pray and read. I'm going to tell you how to pray. I'm going to tell you what to pray for, and, I'm going to tell you where to read in the Bible. All right? So first of all, what should you pray for? Whatever is on your heart. You can't imagine how much this will help you. If your family is on your heart, pray, because, if you don't, you're not going to be able to go on. You're not going to be able to hear God because you have something on your heart that's burdening you. If your finances are on your heart, pray. If your health is on your heart, pray. Meet with God, but, then when it comes to pray, pray about what you want to pray about. All right? And then, read the word.
Now, before I tell you where to read, get a version that's easy to understand for your quiet time. All right? I could go into all the different types of versions there are but something like NIV or something, it's called a Dynamic Translation. It's a thought for thought rather than a word for word translation. But I can tell you a version I've been reading in my quiet time for over a year now, The Message. I just like it. And I actually, when I'm reading it, I think to myself, I've read this somewhere before but it sounds different. I mean, it's that — it's just really a great version of the Bible. But read something that's easy to understand. Now, when you study, yes, go back to an exact equivalency translation. But when you're just reading, find something that's easy to read.
Okay? But you say, people have asked me this, "Pastor, where do I read in the Bible"? Okay. I'm going to tell you where. Everyone ready? On the inside. I've read the outside before and I've even got it memorized, Holy Bible. Anywhere on the inside. Anywhere. Read a Proverb, a chapter in Proverbs a day. Read a chapter in the Old Testament and a chapter in the New Testament a day, but, just read God's word somewhere. All right?
And here's number four, listen and write. Listen and write. Now, set an appointment. Be still and worship. Pray and read, but, listen and write. This is the most practical way I know to hear God. Is to quiet yourself, after you've worshipped, prayed, and read and, then write. Psalms 45:1, "My heart burst its banks spilling beauty and goodness. I pour it out in a poem to the King shaping the river into words". That's David. We have some of the poems that he wrote.
1 Chronicles 28:19, "All this, said David —", talking about the tabernacle, "— the Lord made me understand in writing. When I wrote it, I understood it. By his hand upon me all the works of these plans". And Habakkuk at 2:2, "Then the Lord answered me and said, 'Write the vision and make it plain on tablets that he may run who reads it'". This is the best way I know to hear God. This is the most practical way to hear God. Write your prayers. Write what you believe God is saying to you through that passage of scripture. Write it.
When you are praying about something, after you've prayed and you've read, write it. Here's what will happen, you will move from writing in the third person to writing in the first person. In other words, you'll say, write this, like, I believe God is speaking to me through this passage that I should trust him. I believe God is saying that I can hope in him. That he is faithful. That he is merciful. That he is loving. That he is kind. That he is gracious. Pretty soon you'll begin to write, I believe the Lord is saying to me, I am faithful. I am gracious. You can trust me. You can put your confidence in me. You'll begin writing in the first person and you'll understand, this is God speaking to me. God is speaking to me.
I told you a few weeks ago, my best memories after 35 years of being a Christian, are not what God has done for, even though, obviously, I'm grateful for salvation and all that God has given as far as a family and things like that. But what he's spoken to me. When I go back and think about my journey as a believer, I can go back to when God spoke. And when God said something to me. That is my desire, for every person, no matter what your business is, no matter what your vocation is, in this series, I am crying out to God. God, would you put a hunger in every person that attends Gateway Church to hear you, to her your voice?
This is one of the greatest joys of the Christian walk. Is to have a personal relationship with God. To hear God. So I want you, more than anything else, to hear God. I want you to have an intimate relationship with the one who loves you. And I want you to learn to hear his voice. And you can. You can. You just have to value it enough to make time for it.
You know a few years ago I had a dream and I had a dream about a Pastor friend of mine. And the dream was very encouraging. And all morning as I walked and prayed, I kept thinking about him and praying for him and praying that God would encourage him and comfort him on that day. And a few weeks later I thought, I need to call him and encourage him. And so, I called and I said, "I want to tell you about this dream that I had". And it so encouraged him. And, then I said to him, "What's going on in your life"? And he said, "Well, I don't know if you heard but a few a weeks ago my father passed away". And I said, "I'm so sorry. I didn't know that".
And we talked for a while. And then, I started thinking about the dream and about the morning that I prayed for him. And I said to him, "Hey, did your father pass away on this date, early in the morning"? And he said, "Yeah, that's the exact date that my father passed away". And I said to him, "That's the day that I had the dream". That's the day that as I walked that morning and as I prayed, I prayed that God would encourage you that day. And that God would comfort you. And I'll never forget how he said to me, "Robert, you can't imagine how encouraging that is to me. That on the day that my father passed away, God gave you a dream. God spoke to your heart and you prayed for me that day. And you prayed for strength and you prayed for encouragement".
I want to encourage you to value God's voice. To set a time and a place to meet with God. To spend time with God. I have another Pastor friend of mine that shared this with his congregation. And there was a man that said to him, "You know, I don't know if I even have time to do something like that". And my Pastor friend said to him, "You know, we're all busy but when we value something we make time for it". And so, this man took time. He said, "I bought a rocking chair and I would sit in that rocking chair every morning and I would read the Bible. And I would pray. And then, I would write down what God was saying to me. What I felt God was saying to me.
And he felt like that God spoke to him one day to actually leave business and come work at the church as an unpaid employee and help the church. And he did that for several years. And then, he said one day to this Pastor friend of mine, "You know, I just feel like God is speaking to me to go back into business and help a friend start another church in another state". And he did that as well. And then, a few years later he got a doctor's report about cancer and he sat in that same chair as he faced a very painful death. And there came a day when they had to move him out of that chair into a bed and he passed away. And they asked my friend to come and to speak at the service.
And afterward, he said to the man's wife, "What are you going to do with that rocking chair"? And she said, "We're going to keep that in the family because God changed his life in that chair". And she said, "We're going to pass that chair down and hopefully, the practice of setting an appointment, spending time with God and listening to him, spending time on his word and writing what God is speaking to our hearts. And I want to encourage you set a time and set a place. Set an appointment and don't miss that appointment. The most important thing that we as believers can do is to talk to God and listen to God.