Tuesday, June 30, 2009
His Voice Only
I had opted not to go to the Friday night house church that evening. Had made some snap judgments on the guest speaker which proved to be very wrong. Hilary was eager for the outing and came home with a CD which I neglected to audit for about another week.
Eventually on an extended drive I "gave in" and listened to the message, getting a significant surprise. It was entitled "The Temptations of Christ" and it packed a real punch. The teacher was a Maurice Barratt from Manchester, England.(http://barrattministries.org.uk/)
Looking at the first temptation of turning stones into bread after Christ's fast (Matthew 4:3), he suggested that there was nothing obviously wicked about the Devil's request. At a later time Jesus did create food supernaturally in the feeding of the 5000. Jesus had just come off the fast so there was nothing wrong with the suggestion to eat.
But during the fast Jesus had been in deep communion with the Father, learning to hear His voice more readily. This suggestion WAS SOMEONE ELSE'S VOICE. However innocent in appearance, it was the enemy's urging and the trap might only be recognized down the road.
The speaker went on to say that this is the greatest exercise in our growth in holiness...learning to hear the Father's voice only and heeding it without hesitation.
The decision faced by Adam and Eve was whether to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life or of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Holiness and wisdom are in the first choice; God's voice is in the first choice, whereas hazard and spiritual pride are in the second.
Take a look at Psalm 119, or more readily at Psalm 19, and see the prospect of success in heeding the word of the Lord. This takes much time, silent and alone with Him. An inner sensitivity led by the arbitrator of peace (or lack of it) will be the result, and will lead to many sanctified decisions and actions only partially understood in the natural.
This, the speaker suggested, is how the Lord wants us to grow in lasting wisdom. Quite different from the empirical approach of the lab or classroom.
In one of Oswald Chamber's exceptional books entitled, "Shade of His Hand" (on the book of Ecclesiastes) the writer made the distinction between the fundamental mind-set of the Jew and of the Greek. For the former all knowledge began with the given fact of God, His sovereignty, His love and His creation. For the latter nothing was a given and all had to be proved through investigation and debate. Obviously, we are to follow the former route. Think about it.