Thursday, October 10, 2013

More To Be Desired Than...

I recalled an incidence which occurred last summer as I prepared today's blog post. It was at a time when I was going through a rather rough time with my health and I had lost my appetite. At such times, I looked for sweets, chocolates and cakes to pep up my appetite. I have a favourite cake shop.

I could not immediately find someone to take me to this shop (my husband and the boys had to travel at that time), and there was no way I would send someone to get the cakes for me. I had to do the selection. So I decided to go myself. Accompanied by a friend staying with me and I took the risk to drive just to satisfy my craving for the Cartier Cakes.

Recently, I had reasons to evaluate my personal Bible Study time and for all the reasons that I may proffer, some genuine and some not tenable, I found that I lacked consistency.

Spending quality time in praise and in prayer was non-negotiable for me, and against all odds, I will make every effort to keep that time. I found it exhilarating just praising and worshiping God. However, over the past few months, I had not given the same attention to my personal Bible study nor had I made the same effort to spend time in God's presence, just listening to Him and hear Him speak into my heart. It has been sporadic and I know I have been drawing on the stores laid up much earlier.

"Speak to my heart," I have cried many times.

"Open my ears that I may hear Your voice," I prayed.

But how I could I hear, if I will not take time to listen?

How would I not miss the call in the midst of many distractions if I am not attentive to His voice?

Yet I know I need to have clarity. I need His guidance, leading and most importantly, I need to hear His instructions as He leads me in this new phase of my life and as His plans unfolds.

During the past week, I have been hit from different directions by messages declaring that it is not only important to speak to God through praise and prayer BUT it is equally important to spend quality time listening to God speak back to us. It is also important to make every effort to seek God's Word.

The guest preacher in church last Sunday said;

"God wants our attention."
"It must be the top priority in a believer's daily life to hear the voice of God."
"A disciple trains and disciplines himself to hear, know and recognize God's voice."

Solomon said, "O Lord, give me a heart that listens so I can judge Your people and tell the difference between good and evil …" (1Kings 3:9 God's Word Translation). Another translation says, give your servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart that I may judge your people and discern between good and bad.

For us to discern aright, to make the right decision, and to walk in God's purpose and fulfil our assignment, we need to have listening hearts and ears that knows and hears His voice.

God speaks to us in many ways, through His written Word, in still small voice into our hearts and through the counsel of godly people He surrounds us with. It is important for us to know and to hear His voice for ourselves. A greater ability to recognize the voice of God is given when we spend quality time in His presence. The question is, are we spending enough time alone in God's presence to know and recognize His voice?

A few days ago, shared the verse below and it latched itself to my heart:

When I discovered Your Words,
I devoured them.
They are my joy and my heart's delight,
For by Your name, O Lord God of Heaven's Armies.
Jeremiah 15:16

Discover - to find by searching. Received by divine revelation. Requires diligent seeking, a desire for it and a devotion of time and resources to find it.

Devour - to eat hungrily. Consumed with eagerness.

Delight - brings joy and rejoicing. Received cheerfully and treasured in the memory. Digested in our mind, mixed with faith and carefully retained.

As I meditated and pondered on this verse, I realized that this should be our attitude and approach to God's Word. Something we diligently seek and search for. "Truth is like 'treasures hid in the field;' he alone who seeks it with unprejudiced mind finds it" (Pulpit Commentary). When we find it we must consume it hungrily. Why? Because it brings joy and rejoicing, a delight to our hearts.

"Your Word filled my heart with joy and happiness because I belong to You"
(NET Bible).

Ps. 19:10 says "Your Word is more to be desired than gold, even more than fine gold. They are sweeter than honey and the drippings from the honeycomb." Job said, "…I have treasured Your Word more than my necessary food." God's Word is food for our soul. It is wholesome, nourishing and strengthening.

Then came the questions:

Can I truthfully say with all boldness that I have treasured God's Word more than my necessary food?

Am I paying enough attention to listen to what God is saying to me through His written Word?

It was at this time that I remembered how I made a definite decision and the effort to go after Cartier Cakes against all the odds, and this gave me only a momentary satisfaction. It sometimes require a sacrifice of time to dwell in intimate and close fellowship with God to hear Him speaking to us. It take time to meditate on the Word and to lay it up in our heart but God's Word gives long-lasting satisfaction and it is of eternal value.

What is it that you diligently seek after each day?

God's Word is more to be desired than ___________ (fill in the gap as it applies to you).

Craving for you
Craving for you
was like a stubborn itch
upon my heart.
It won't go away.
Getting to you
was a risk I should not take
Yet no one could get you for me.

Against the odds
On this bright summer day
Heat soaring
Sun high in the sky
I climbed the hill
I crossed the river
In search of you
who my heart craves for.

With utmost patience I waited
to get close enough to you.
The final stretch was tortuous
At last, I made it through the woods
And there laid before me
An array of sweet temptations
A delight to the eyes
And satisfaction for a craving
Who could have selected you for me?
None but I.

Were I to desire You
more than I crave the sweet tempter
Were I to seek after You
with the same zeal
Then would I discover Your Word
And make haste to devour them
As one who hungers after Him
Who is an everlasting delight
to my soul.

© Irene Olumese (2013)

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