Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
Psalms 55: 16, 17
“Hear” - To listen to attentively.
If you were to cry out to God in distress at this very moment, what would you want Him to hear you say?
“O Lord, my heart is all a prayer,
But it is silent unto Thee;
I am too tired to look for words,
I rest upon Thy sympathy
To understand when I am dumb,
And well I know Thou hearest me.”
“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.”
Psalms 40: 1
Many years ago, when I was a young student nurse, we were privileged to be able to visit one of the finest auditory institutes in the United States staffed by some of the most respected “Ear” specialists in the world. While technology has made giant leaps since my school days, even at the time of my training, I’ll never forget how fascinated I was learning more about “how” we hear. Hearing is one of our five traditional senses, yet it has more in common with the sense of touch than any of the other senses. The reason is that like touch, our sense of hearing relies on the movement of molecules in the world outside. In humans, hearing takes place by a very (and I emphasize very) complex mechanism which involves the transformation of sound waves into nerve impulses. In everyday language this means inside our ears, sound gets transformed so our brains are able to comprehend the information that is being sent, thus we are able to respond appropriately.
About this time you may be thinking, “Why is Dorothy diverting to give us an anatomy lesson?” I’m not really! I needed to get a better understanding myself of what God means when He says, “I hear you!” What boggles my little “pea-sized” brain is that God assures me, that with the universe under His watchful eye, He takes time every moment of every day to “hear” me. It’s not enough that He listens for my voice, which He does. What’s more, He comprehends everything I say. He understands. He knows. He “gets it!”
He doesn’t just listen for the sound of my voice coming to His ear, He also takes what I say and processes it as if I were the only person on whom He needed to shower His attention. WOW!
But this isn’t all. There’s more good news about God’s hearing capability. Many years ago, I used to suffer from excruciating migraine headaches. Two days into one particularly severe episode, I hadn’t eaten, I couldn’t stand to have a light on and I felt as though I should crawl into a hole. I will tell you honestly, praying was the last thing on my mind. When I felt better, a dear elderly Christian friend gave me a quote that said that when we are sick and depressed and feel that words cannot be spoken, don’t worry, because God hears our hearts. I have to tell you, the idea that God can hear the pain in my heart makes me have tears just to think God cares that much for me and for you. Maybe the burdens you are carrying are so great, you don’t have the words to speak right now. Remember, God doesn’t just hear your voice, He hears your heart, too!
There’s one more thing that for many years I heard people say whenever the discussion came up about God hearing our prayers. This is how it would go. “Well, remember, God hears you only if you are “good.” The Bible says if you regard iniquity in your heart, God won’t hear you. So you’d better shape up and not do anything wrong or God won’t listen to your prayers.”
I bet you have heard somebody say this. I’ve actually had friends who stopped praying because they thought they would never be good enough for God to hear them. What a false impression is being conveyed about our loving Heavenly Father when we are told He won’t hear the cry of sinners! It’s just the opposite. It’s a sinner like me that needs God to hear them most.
So let’s debunk this false notion by looking at two things:
1.) Context of the text:
Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” However, I want to go to the texts before and after.
Here’s how this reads now, “I cried unto God with my mouth, and He was extolled (praised) with my tongue. If I regard (enjoy, approve of) iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: but verily God hath heard me; He hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me: (Psalm 66: 17-20 K.J.V.).
Remember, who wrote these words. David the adulterer who had his girlfriend,
Bathsheba’s husband murdered when he found out she was expecting his child.
This act ranks rather high on the “bad guy” meter. But did God turn away from
David? No! Why? Check number two.
2.) Meaning of the text:
The word “regard” in this context is the Hebrew word for approve of or enjoy.
David didn’t approve of his evil behavior. To recognize this fact read Psalm 51. He was sorry for his major mistake. I have to say, I have not personally met too many people on planet earth whom I thought enjoyed being evil. Maybe the man who was on T.V. the other night. He was a convict at the state penitentiary who was being interviewed before his execution and he screamed out, “I love to kill. You let me out; I’ll kill again and again and again.” His words sent chills up my spine. Thankfully, there aren’t too many people like this. Most individuals when given the opportunity to live a different type of life would tell you, “I don’t enjoy the evil I’m doing.” If you don’t enjoy and approve of sin you NEVER have to worry if God hears you. Period! What a relief to all of us who mess up every day and like David, praise God for His wonderful mercy to us.
Do you still have any question whether or not God hears you? Here is a little more assurance: “Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me” (Micah 7: 7, K.J.V.) And just one more, straight from God’s mouth and I’m not going to argue with my Heavenly Father:
“(She) shall call on my name, and I will hear (her).
I will say: (she) is my (daughter) and (she) will say,
the Lord is my God.”
Zechariah 13: 9, K.J.V.
Directly from our lips to God’s ear – He hears! How thankful I am!
How Do I Pray?
Very carefully…irrationally…and in thanksgiving; in pain and in sorrow…in the pure joy of living and laughing. Asking for magic…begging for a miracle. I am seeking, searching, forgiving, repentant; looking for answers for the sick, the lonely, the hungry; looking for direction, asking for mercy; seeking silence and trying to listen, listen, listen. On my knees, in the dark of night; while peeling onions; on my walk, with the Psalms and to the Father.
Those are my Alleluias and my Amen’s.
Mrs. Jean M. Hicks
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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