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Time to Listen

I am God, the one and only. I don’t just talk to myself or mumble under my breath. I never told Jacob, ‘Seek me in emptiness, in dark nothingness.’ I am God. I work out in the open, saying what’s right, setting things right. So gather around, come on in, all you refugees and castoffs. They don’t seem to know much, do they—those who carry around their no-god blocks of wood, praying for help to a dead stick? So tell me what you think. Look at the evidence. Put your heads together. Make your case. Who told you, and a long time ago, what’s going on here? Who made sense of things for you? Wasn’t I the one? God? It had to be me. I’m the only God there is—the only God who does things right and knows how to help. So turn to me and be helped—saved!—everyone, whoever and wherever you are. (Isaiah 45:18-22)

In these words, God opens dialogue with his people - God, Creator of the heavens—he is, we need to remember, first and foremost God. Maker of earth—he put it on its foundations, built it from scratch. He didn’t go to all that trouble to just leave it empty, nothing in it. He made it to be lived in. These words speak of the "creative" potential in the Word of God. As we "remember" he is God, we are to never forget he has a purpose in all he creates - all he brings together is for his specific purpose. Nothing stands void or desolate before him - for he creates NOTHING for the purpose of leaving it empty and desolate - and that includes each of us! If we are to understand the personal potential in God's Word, we have to allow it to have its way within us. 

Hear what God says next: I don't talk to myself or mumble under my breath! Now, this may not seem like much to you at first, but read it again. God doesn't speak to himself, but to us. He doesn't mince his words, or conceal them so only a few will be able to hear - he speaks plainly and in directness to our hearts. His words are powerful - filled with meaning and creative power. It behooves us to take time to listen when he speaks. I have heard it said, "God gets right to the point." It is so true! He doesn't need a whole lot of "fluff" in order to lure us in so we might actually come to a place of listening to him - he gets at it directly! We would do well to listen as "directly" as he speaks!

* He never asks us to seek in emptiness or stumble around in dark nothingness. Instead, he invites us into the richness of his presence - through the revelation of his word. There, we find the light that brings everything into openness - nothing hidden from the penetration of his light. God works out in the open, but he is always seeking the hidden places. The "operation" of God in our lives is definitely not COVERT. They are not disguised as one thing in order to accomplish something else - he is direct. Perhaps this is why we struggle so much with his work in our lives. No place the Word is allowed to touch ever remains the same - it is like a key unlocking the toughest locked places.

* His Word sets things right. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. (Genesis 1:1) Out of what others see as "nothingness" - he sees vast possibility. Out of what some have marked out as bottomless emptiness - God saw the potential of his power filling to overflowing. Out of what has been cast into the utter darkness of despair and hopelessness - he breaks through with light. Yep, his Word sets things right! God has a special affinity for the refugee and cast off in this world. The one fleeing from dangers real or perceived finds no better resting place than in his arms. The one who has been rejected by all others finds no other place of acceptance more perfect than in his arms. His Word is filled with stories of refugee and cast offs being embraced. His Word is the starting point for all who would see a place of asylum - an inviolable refuge.

* He challenges us to consider ALL the evidence. God never asks us to make decisions based on only scraps of evidence - he gives us the whole deal in his Word. In examining the entirety of its contents, the revelation we receive becomes convincing evidence of the "rightness" of our God and the "soundness" of his purposes in our lives. God's purpose in giving us his Word is not to confuse us more, or keep us from enjoying him fully. If we stumble upon some portion we cannot comprehend fully, there is only one way to come into understanding - ask him to open it to us. He is the one to make sense of even the hardest stuff we are challenged with in our understanding - both in his Word, and in life. It is in turning to him we are helped. It is in acknowledging the vastness of the nothingness we have been consumed by that we begin to see the possibility of God creating newness and purpose. It is in expressing just how empty our heart and mind is without him that we come into a place of being filled. It is in welcoming light that darkness is dispelled. All this is possible, not in seeking any amount of self-help or religious pursuit - for all of these are nothing more than "wooden-gods" we might seek. All this is possible only when the Word gets into us and we into it. Just sayin!

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