Hearing the Voice of God by Ernest Abraham
Remember that one time we were praying for Pastor Abraham in India? Praying for the many Pastors in India who are ministering about Jesus and are being pulled into prison, beaten, and having their homes damaged by non-believers. Right now we have the privilege of having his son, Ernest Abraham with us. Ernest is going to graduate school so that he can go back home and minister. Our church is sponsoring him for his time here in the states. We were blessed to have him teach Bible study on Friday. What a powerful lesson he taught! What was interesting is, without Ernest’s knowledge, one of the members of our Friday Bible study had previously asked Pastor Don to teach about how we hear from God.
Ernest taught from the New Living translation of the Bible, so I will quote that.
Psalm 51:6-10 6 But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
I am also going to include the New King James version Psalm 51:6-10 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Ernest said he was touched by verse 6, that he trembles in the presence of God, God who is far deeper than what we can grasp most of the time. We can never hear from God unless we are honest on the inside. The Words of the Lord are the source of wisdom, and unless we hear the Word of God and it works in us, we can never be wise.
He said something very profound, “Until we are honest with ourselves, we can never hear from God THE WAY GOD WANTS ME TO.” Which is far different from us thinking we are hearing from God, but it isn’t God, it’s our imagination. We say we want God’s guidance, but often we have ulterior motives, wanting God to do what we want Him to do, not us doing what God is saying. We want to hear from God, but without His discipline. We try to change God’s word so we can forgive ourselves. God is merciful, but God requires honesty on the inside. He requires us to be in line with His word, and then he will forgive us.
The moment we hear from God, his wisdom and words work in us. Without putting His words in us, how can we believe? We need submission and honesty with God on a daily basis. This is not about our perfection, but about where we are. God looks at us, at how honest we are, and whether we are trying to do His Word or not.
Psalm 51:7 (see above) talks about purifying whiter than snow, whiter than the whitest white we can imagine. Ernest told us there is a process. That we move from Honesty to Wisdom to Cleansing. But, if we are not honest, we will not become wise, and if we do not become wise we will never ask Him to clean us up. Godly wisdom leads to cleansing.
When God cleanses me I have nothing to worry about because I am whiter than snow, but unless God cleanses me I am not pure white.
Verse 8 (see above) carries the process further. From honesty to wisdom to cleansing and then we can have joy inside of us. We desire Joy, but without being honest, wise and cleansed we cannot experience joy. We want to be the lord of ourselves, and make our own joy. But the truth is that we need God to work on us to attain real joy and honesty is the key.
Verse 9 (see above) When God gives us that joy we ask Him not to keep looking at our sins. We know who we were before we were cleansed, and where we’ve been – so does God. David desired that God would not keep looking at the past, as we do not want God to keep remembering our sins. (Heather’s note, He doesn’t but we keep thinking He does). David, in this Psalm asked God to remove the stain of his guilt. When we have sinned, there are stains left over from what we have done, and we want God to remove those stains. Little things that bother us, the thought, “I wish I had never done that…”, or thought about that, or when we try to give up something, we keep getting drawn back to it. When we do not do God’s will in our lives there is a stain, an aftermath.
After God cleans us, we sometimes miss doing what God cleaned us up from. We hold onto the past, or feel ourselves drawn to repeat the sins. (Heather’s note, Joy talks about praying for a crop failure from the seeds of sin we sowed in the past.)
Verse 10 (see above) This verse says to “Create in me a clean heart,” And “renew a loyal spirit in me.” Creation means newness, born anew, creating something that wasn’t there. It is not a renovation, but something new and right. God creates a clean heart. When God creates a clean heart that is clean right from the start, we want to keep our heart clean, and that requires honesty. But Ernest pointed out that this verse talks about “create” and “renew”. We ask God to renew a right spirit in us, and when He does that, we can’t go wrong.
Psalm 51:11-13 (New Living Translation) 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.
Psalm 51:11-13 (NKJ) 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.
Ernest told us that David prayed, and we need to pray to ask God to make us willing to obey Him. We need the renewal of the right Spirit in us so that God does not banish the Spirit from us. David knew how much he depended on the Holy Spirit. When David prayed this prayer it was before Jesus, before Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down in the Upper Room, and the Holy Spirit did not reside in believers, it rested on them. David did not want to lose the Holy Spirit. David was a man after God’s own heart. He pursued God, but messed up, much like we do. He understood that every time he messed up he had to get honest with God.
If he did not get honest with God, he would be king, but God’s Spirit would not be with him. He was appointed by God for a reason, a lone shepherd boy brought in from the field and anointed to be king. David knew where he came from He asks God to examine his heart.
We have the Holy Spirit within us, and we know how much we depend on the Holy Spirit. It is hard for us to ask God to examine our hearts, examine our motives. We can look good on the surface to other people, but not to God who examines our hearts. God knows what I think and what my real motives are.
Ernest shared a song that was appropriate, I can’t find it on the internet, but some of the lyrics are “God rip up those pages of my life uncomfortable to you.” He pointed out that those things that are uncomfortable to God, are often comfortable to us.
Verse 10 reminds us that we depend on His Holy Spirit, or else we wouldn’t be here. We have to realize we can’t care what other people think of us. Ernest said, “Most people think that I am a nice guy,” but don’t realize the areas in his life that he screwed up totally. Without God’s Spirit leading us, we can go haywire, go off and become a wreck. David prayed, “God I need you so much, if you don’t give your Spirit to me I will not make it.”
Verse 12 (see above) Talks AGAIN about are we really happy? Do we have the joy of being saved or are we just saved and comfortable with that? Make me willing to obey you.
We are back where we started with this Psalm, with God desiring honesty. Verse 12 says to make me willing to obey, submit, depend, never walk outside of your place, and be comfortable about it.
Verse 13 is very important to Ernest. He said that THEN we are to teach. We can talk about God and no one listens to us if we are talking from our head knowledge. That kind of teaching isn’t effective for there is a disconnection, and things don’t line up. If we share from our heart what God has done in our lives, then our speaking about God is effective.
The key to the whole passage is David’s understanding of what God desired: HONESTY. If we are desiring to be honest before God, God can work with us. We can be ZEALOUS, and not HONEST. God looks at the heart. Man looks outside. But God cares about our motives, and wants us to desire to hear and follow God day by day, moment by moment. Hearing the voice of God and walking according to it.
God wants us to be spontaneous. Most of us want a planned Christian life, blah, blah, blah. But God wants us listening and obeying. If we do that, our spiritual walk will not be boring.
It was an awesome and heartfelt Bible teaching. I sure was blessed as were all those who were at the Bible study.
You have a blessed Sunday.
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