The Voice of the Lord
Scripture: Psalm 29
1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy splendor.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!
Whose voice are you listening to? We need to listen to the voice of the Lord. But, how do we do that?
Tune in to Jesus.
Make Jesus Lord of your life.
Follow Jesus with your lives.
Whose voice are you listening to?
There are SO MANY voices swirling around in our heads and our lives. Telling us what we need, competing voices telling us what we should believe, and peddling easy answers and quick fixes to our every desire. Y’all know by now, I think of things first in song. Three come to mind. First, Casting Crown’s “Voice of Truth”
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
The voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
And that Voice of Truth is named Jesus. Second, Lauren Daigle’s “You Say”
I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low
Remind me once again just who I am because I need to know
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And you say I am held when I am falling short
And when I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe
What You say of me
Jesus says you are LOVED. The world wants to turn you inside out and wants to make you doubt yourself. And lastly, an oldie but a goody, particularly this week, “When the storms of life are raging, Stand By Me.”
When the storms of life are raging,
stand by me; (stand by me)
when the storms of life are raging,
stand by me. (stand by me)
When the world is tossing me
like a ship upon the sea,
thou who rulest wind and water,
stand by me. (stand by me)
When the storms of life are raging, we need to listen to the word of the Lord.
We need to tune in to the voice of Jesus. Erle Stanley Gardner, the famous mystery writer and creator of Perry Mason, was a lawyer himself. In his trial work, he had a partner with a rather remarkable skill. This lawyer could detect critical information in cross examination simply by listening to a person’s voice. This was information that went unnoticed by virtually everyone else. In an article in Vogue magazine, Gardner noted that in the years that this man was his partner, when they were in court together, this lawyer made it a point not to look at the witness on the stand. Instead he kept his eyes fixed on a piece of paper, sometimes taking down what the witness was saying in shorthand, sometimes simply doodling, but always listening to the voice of the witness.
At some stage in the examination, said Gardner, his partner would nudge him with his elbow. Invariably that meant that the witness was either lying at that point in the testimony, or was trying to cover up something. Gardner said his own untrained ears were never able to detect these subtle changes of voice and tempo, but his partner could spot them with a startling accuracy.
We need to tune into that Voice of Truth. As was illustrated with the songs, there’s all these voices going on in stereo inside our heads. We don’t want to give in to the lies of the Enemy. We need the wisdom and discernment to tune in to the voice of our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Remember Elijah in the wilderness. Fleeing from Queen Jezebel. Despondent, certain that God had forsaken him, hiding in a cave. Then suddenly there is a mighty wind, so mighty that it splits mountains and breaks rocks in pieces, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still, small voice. (1 Kings 19:12) But that voice found Elijah out there in the wilderness, turned his life around and made him a mighty voice for God.
There’s a story of a young man who lost his job and didn’t know which way to turn. So he went to see his pastor. Pacing about the preacher’s study, the young man ranted about his problem. Finally he clenched his fist and shouted, “I’ve begged God to say something to help me. Tell me, pastor, why doesn’t God answer?”
The older man, who sat across the room, spoke something in reply–something so hushed it was indistinguishable.
The young man stepped across the room. “What did you say?” he asked.
The pastor repeated himself, but again in a tone as soft as a whisper. So the young man moved closer until he was leaning on the pastor’s chair. “Sorry,” he said. “I still didn’t hear you.”
With their heads bent together, the old minister spoke once more: “God sometimes whispers,” he said, “so we will move closer to hear Him.”
This time the young man heard and he understood.
Draw near to God. Hear God speak to your deepest need. Hear God affirm your life. God’s voice. Is there any deeper need in our lives right now than to hear God speak words of healing and hope? Listen quietly. Listen closely. Hear Jesus speak your name today.
We need to tune in to the voice of Jesus, no matter the noise of the crowd, no matter the situation. We need to block out the noise and FOCUS on the voice of truth.
If we are going to tune in to Jesus, then what follows or precedes is to make him Lord of our lives. Remember Saul of Tarsus. He was known to persecute people of The Way until he was struck blind on the Road to Damascus. Then he heard a voice, in Acts 9:4-5, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
And Saul asks, “Who are you, Lord?”
And the voice said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
Saul who was transformed into Paul because he made Jesus the Lord of his life. Paul was transformed from a man of violence to one who wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing . . .” He underwent imprisonment, torture, shipwreck and he writes in Romans 14:8-9, “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” Paul had been transformed and he understood that we are the Lord’s.
Everyone that wants to become a pastor in the United Methodist Church is asked in our provisional paperwork, how do we interpret the statement Jesus Christ as Lord? Jesus is the Lord of our lives. We kneel and swear fealty to him as the knights of old to the King. We are loyal, acting not in our best interest, but in the Lord’s who created heaven and earth and all that is within it. We are not our own; we’ve been bought with a price. And that’s not restrictive, it’s freeing.
Thomas Merton, monk and theologian, writes in “The Road Ahead,” “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” I want the Lord of the heavens and the earth, to be my Lord like that. The Lord over every inch of my heart and my life.
If we tune into Jesus and make him the Lord of our lives, what naturally flows is following Jesus with our lives.
Our modern day example in walking the walk and talking the talk is Billy Graham. Joseph Stowell, author of the book “Simply Jesus” once asked Billy Graham what had been the best experience of his entire ministry. It seems like a difficult question for the world’s most famous evangelist. Graham has preached in front of millions of people, traveled around the world many times, counseled presidents and kings. But Graham didn’t have to hesitate in his answer. He replied, “By far the greatest joy of my life has been my fellowship with Jesus. Hearing Him speak to me, having Him guide me, sensing His presence with me and His power through me. This has been the highest pleasure of my life!”
Hearing Jesus speak to me.
Having Jesus guide me.
Sensing Jesus’ presence with me and Jesus’ power through me.
It’s not about our own power; it’s about the power of the Holy Spirit within us, igniting in us a passion that is not squelched by mere circumstance and situation, but it is a solid ever-present flame that the world is drawn to. If we tune in to Jesus and make him Lord of our lives then he will never leave nor forsake us and he will be an ever-present help in times of trouble.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders . . . The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness . . . The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl. . . But hear what’s at the end: 11May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!”
I know this has been a difficult week and I know this has been a difficult year, but our Lord promises strength to his people and the Psalmist asks for the Lord to bless his people with peace. If we stay rooted in Christ, we’ll have that peace that the Psalmist’s asking for. We will have Jesus’s peace that transcends all understanding. As it says in John 14:17, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” If we tune into Jesus, make him Lord of our lives, and follow him we will be accepting his call of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” His calling and his promise is clear. We just have to listen to the voice of the Lord.