02/16/16 Does He Hear?

READING: Numbers 11-13

Does God hear everything we say, regardless of whether we’re speaking directly to Him? Does He hear when we’re complaining about something, including about Him? Does He hear when we’re conniving behind somebody’s back?  If you’ve been a believer for any length of time, I trust you know the answers to all these questions. In fact, most non-believers I know who believe there’s a God even believe that He sees and hears all things.  

What’s striking to me is that we sometimes live like He doesn’t hear. 

Today’s reading is a dramatic reminder that God does indeed hear. The Hebrews were complaining about God’s provisions for them in the wilderness, and the text describes the situation with these intriguing words (ESV): “And the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes. . .” (Num 11:1). It’s the phrase “in the hearing of the Lord” that captures my attention, simply because there is no place that is not in His hearing. The Lord heard the Hebrews, and He warned them decisively about their attitudes by sending fire in the outskirts of the camp. They were not hiding their complaints from the One who is omnipresent.  

Later, Miriam and Aaron complained about Moses’ Cushite wife — likely a diversionary complaint to cover up their real complaint that God was seemingly speaking only through Moses. Again, the text is simple and clear: “And the LORD heard it” (Num 12:2). The Lord not only heard it, but He also brought judgment again, this time on Miriam by striking her with a skin disease. The complainers did not get away with their complaints. 

Do I, too, live as if God doesn’t hear? How much do I say that I later wish God had not heard? Based on these questions, here are some commitments I am making — and I encourage you to make:

  1. If I am frustrated with God’s leadership, I will speak first to Him — not to others. 
  2. I will not speak negatively about others, even when I disagree with them.  
  3. I will recognize that I will answer for every one of my words (Matt 12:36-37), knowing nothing I say is outside the ears of God. It's the enemy who convinces me that God isn't listening. 
  4. I will speak in such a way that should anyone else hear me (knowing that God already hears), I will not be embarrassed or ashamed. 

ACTION STEPS: Consider these steps today:

  • Where necessary, adopt the commitments listed above.  
  • Confess any recent words that you wish God had not heard.      

PRAYER: “Lord, may every word You hear from my lips today be pleasing to Your ears. Stop me before I cross any lines.” 

TOMORROW’S READING:  Numbers 14-15