THE GOD WHO LEADS AND LISTENS
The question was asked “What would you rather have, a God who listens or a God who speaks?” Should one answer that question with a desire to have the former, that is a God who listens, we can conclude that such an individual probably has a greater desire to be heard than to be taught. It could be argued that this person is self-centered, wanting a God who is going to do nothing more than sit back and allow them to express their self and do as they please. Answering that question with the latter, desiring a God who speaks, can reveal some information to us as well. It can show us that such a person just wants a God to tell them what to do and how to do it. This can be a good attitude, but it can be argued that such an individual wants nothing more than a law and justice to rule over everything. One that can be enforced on them, and one that they can enforce on others. Thankfully the God of the Bible is not, nor has He ever been one or the other, a God who only listens or a God who only speaks. He is a God who does both.
And what is a relationship if both listening and speaking are not present? Unless both listening and speaking are present, there is no proper communication. If one party only speaks and never listen, there is no opportunity for the other party to express feelings of gratitude or pain, and there is no growth in the relationship. Should one party only listen and never speak, there is no opportunity for guidance, and again no growth in the relationship can be had. God does not have to listen to us, His creation. He easily could have treated humanity the way pharaoh treated Israel with a “Do what your told or be punished” type of attitude.
When Israel was brought out of the land of Egypt, Moses went up to the mountain to speak with the Lord and receive the 10 commandments. While on the mountain the people saw that “Moses delayed to come down from the mountain… (Exodus 32:1).” As a result, the people built a golden calf and claimed it was the calf that was their god who brought them out of the land of Egypt. How foolish they were and how quickly they forgot the God of Heaven who loved them, heard their cries, and rescued them from the persecution they faced at the hands of the Egyptians. It is a result of Israel’s poor decision that my point can be made. I want us to consider the CONVERSATION had between God and Moses.
9 And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. 10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”
God was ready to destroy the people and start over with Moses. But Moses intercedes for the people.
11 But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, “O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14 And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.
God spoke to Moses of His plan, Moses intercedes for the people, and v.14 records for us that the Lord relented. The God of Heaven and earth is a God who leads AND listens. And do we not see these same facts in the life of our Lord Jesus? That He is a God who cares enough about us to speaks words in effort to lead us to eternal life, but that He is also a God who listens to mankind? What conversation did Jesus refuse? Even among the religious leaders who brought forth questions only in attempts to trap Jesus, did our Lord not welcome those conversations no matter how deaf to His response they may have been? Yes, Jesus is the truth and He spoke that truth in order to lead the lost to salvation, in order to bring the sheep to the Shepherd, and in order to educate humanity about eternal life in Him. But He also listened to and heard man. Whether it was His disciples who were looking for clarity, the unwell looking to be healed, the self-righteous looking to trap, Jesus heard them silencing only the unclean demons as we see in Luke 4:35—“Be silent and come out of him!”
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
How quick are we to hear the God who want to lead us home and is willing to listen to us, His faithful?