Luke 2:25-32, 36-38 Additional Resources Sermon Summary Video Full Service Video Video Download Audio Download Group Discussion Guide Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on email Related Messages
To humble ourselves and obey is the nature of God: “Being in very nature God . . . he made himself nothing and took the very nature of a servant . . . (then) he humbled himself, and became obedient,” (Phil. 2:6-8). This is not only Jesus’ humanity; it’s ours at its best. It’s who we are and who we want to be.
Sometimes a single act of obedience can take the rest of our lives to complete. Like Joseph and Mary, we are summoned into a story that has already begun and is larger than us, and to give our consent requires us to spend the rest of our lives doing what is hard and beyond us.
Obedience takes time. Sometimes it cannot be done in day, not even in the day we are told. Like Zechariah, we must wait for another day when the opportunity presents itself, then we must be true and faithful to that moment before God will open new possibilities.
Sometimes obedience means believing the impossible, saying the absurd, holding onto he improbable simply because we’ve heard God’s Voice. It means being the minority report. Sometimes the certainty of it is unclear, even to us, so it is only by looking back that we know what the will of God was.
Discerning the voice of God lies at the heart of our desire to shift from asking to listening. But what if God’s leading seems unclear or leaves open a number of options for us in terms of next steps? What do we do when what we discern lies in direct contrast with what another brother or sister is hearing from the Lord?
But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance… The Lord does not look at the things man looks at… the Lord looks at the heart.” On discernment as the single most important practice for dealing with complexity in our contemporary lives.
I will send a famine through the land–not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” On yearning to hear the voice of God, only to find we’ve lost our hearing.
Look I have put my words in your mouth. Get up and prepare for action.” On the importance of Biblical imagination.
The voice said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what I am giving you – eat this scroll – (and) let my words sink deep into your own heart first; then go to the people in exile.” On the importance of putting ourselves before the Word and obeying it, whether anyone else does or not.
“He read aloud from daybreak until noon… and all the people listened attentively to the Book.” On getting reacquainted with Scripture as the Speaking Voice of God.
“After the fire came a gentle whisper . . . and Elijah went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” On the importance of hearing the still small voice (meditation).
“Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth and she spoke to Balaam… so Balaam bowed low and fell facedown.” On the importance of hearing God in a multiplicity of ways.
“One night, Eli was lying down in his usual place… and Samuel was lying down in the Temple, where the ark of God was.” On the importance of rhythms and regiment for hearing the word of the Lord.