Today if you will listen to his voice

We will look tomorrow at what it means to listen. But today we need to pause and think about the clearest and most profound truth which underlies these words: the presumption on which they are based.

The LORD speaks.

The creator of heaven and earth, who made the sea and all that is in, whose hands shaped the dry land, who redeemed Israel, this God speaks.

The LORD desires to communicate with us, with part of his creation.  The LORD desires to speak with us not simply so that we might hear his commands or even understand his ways.  The LORD desires to communicate with us so that we might know him and be known by him.

Listening to the LORD is not like listening to our commanding officer, or listening to a wise teacher.  Listening to the LORD, at its best, is a conversation with a friend:

“Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses as one speaks to a friend” (Exodus 33.11.

There are moments in life when God speaks to us directly. There is a place in the Christian life for the guidance of God in our daily living.  The next verses of Psalm 95 are an oracle: words from God spoken in the midst of the worship of God’s people.

But the foundation of listening to the voice of God is the discipline of attending to what God is saying to the Church and to us through the Scriptures, and especially to the Scriptures as they speak to us about God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

It is vital for the health of the Church that we attend to the scriptures both privately and publicly.  They are the means by which we listen to God.  From earliest times, one of the distinctive acts of the Church has been to read the scriptures aloud and reflect on their message. This is the place where we attend to what God is saying.  In our own daily walk with God, reading the scriptures needs to find a place: this is where we listen and ponder the grace of God, and find life and guidance in every situation.  This is the place where we put down deep roots to enable us to flourish even in a dry and barren land (Psalm 1).

But for today, try and catch again the wonder of this thought:  God speaks.

This post is one of a series of daily reflections on Psalm 95 in January, at the start of the Diocese of Sheffield Centenary Year

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