As women who seek to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, hearing the still small voice of God through the written pages of His Word is something we crave. There comes a time in life when hearing anything other than His voice is no longer enough, a time when we long to be in His presence, when we need to come close and listen to His voice above all the distractions and chaos of life. In those moments, God calls us from where we are, to where we will be. For me, that moment was in the winter of 2011.
We had recently moved into a new house and I was trying to establish a new routine. I know many of us have been there. Boxes, boxes and more boxes were piled up crying out to be emptied while at the same time my family was crying out for food, laundry and some normalcy in life! So many things were calling out for my attention, my focus. The chaos in life was loud. I was feeling stressed, overwhelmed and just plain exhausted.
For years, I have had the habit of spending time with God first thing, early in the morning. It has been a priority in my life that I treasure. Time set apart with Him before I have time with anyone else, including Facebook, texts and email, has been critical for direction for the day and developing a deeper relationship with Him. I remember those first few days after our move. I would wake up early and sit down in our family room with my Bible but every day, regardless of the hour, somehow family always ended up joining me in the family room! Commotion around me created situations that called out for my attention, taking my focus off the Word and eventually back onto the boxes! These things were calling out and their voice distracted me from hearing the voice I needed to hear. My time with God was getting shorter, my ability to hear His voice was becoming less.
During one of these early morning times in the family room, I remember opening my Bible to Joshua 3. I started reading about the Israelites on the verge of their Promised Land. God had told them it was time to advance to what was next. All that He had promised them was being fulfilled, but standing between God’s people and their promise stood a challenge. The challenge was the Jordan River, and it was not just the Jordan River on any given day. It was the Jordan River at harvest (Joshua 3:15), the time when the river was at its highest, its wildest,atits loudest.
Verses 1-2 tell us that God had Israel sit at the river for three days. They were camped at the Jordan, watching the raging river, seeing only the challenge in front of them. For three days all the people could see was the river, all the people could hear was the river, and the raging river was loud.
On the third day, God had something to say to His people to bring them through their challenge so He instructed Joshua to speak on His behalf. As I read the words of Joshua 3, the Holy Spirit brought verse 9 off of the page and right into my heart. God had something to say to His people. The river they stood before was violent and loud. It called out for their attention. In order to hear what God had to say over what the river was saying, God’s people were going to
have to be repositioned, to a quieter place, to a set apart place, to a place away from the noise. Joshua called out to the people of God…
“Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” Joshua 3:9
God was calling His people to step away from the noise of the raging river, to leave ‘there’ so they could come ‘here’ to clearly hear from Him.
Challenges speak to us with a loud voice. They try to drown out the still small voice God often uses when speaking to our hearts. God wanted His people to hear only His voice, to not be distracted by any other noise so He called them to come hereand listen to Him.
This verse spoke to me there in the family room that day. God had something to speak to me, there was a change coming, but it was going to require a change of position, a ‘coming here’. For me, it was a change of physical position. The Lord directed me to our attic, the upper floor in our home where no one else goes. It has become for me a quiet place to study and pray, a place to come here and listen. What God has spoken to my heart in that quiet place put me in positioned me for my next. Making that move has led to far more than I could have ever imagined. Changing my physical position to a quiet, remote place has put me in position to hear only His Words. Maybe there is a physical repositioning for you as well as you hear the words ‘come here and listen.’ Go where He tells you to go. God will meet you ‘here’.
Or maybe your challenge is different. The challenges we face are much bigger than the boxes in my family room and work to be done.
They are fears, worries and anxieties.
They are financial pressures and health concerns.
They are broken relationships and prodigal children.
They are a lack of trust and faith for the task ahead that God wants to accomplish through you.
Each challenge has a very loud voice. Sometimes as we sit at the banks of what God has for us next, the challenge is all we can see, its voice is all we can hear. Sometimes we are in need of a spiritual repositioning so we can tune our spiritual ears to hear from Him and Him alone.
So God calls us away. Come away from there. Come here and listen.
In the place where the river speaks fear, worry or anxiety, God speaks words of peace. Step away from there, the river of fear and come here, come to Him. Let Him guide you to the other side. Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.
If you are facing a river of financial lack, trust Him with your resources. Hear Him say to your heart that He is your source and He will supply all of Your needs. For those with health concerns, He wants to speak to your heart words of trust as well. He has something for you as you step away from there, the concern, and come here. Step closer to Him. Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.
In the place where the river screams that a relationship will never be healed, God speaks words of restoration. Step away from there. Stop listening to the voice of what is broken and come hereto the only One Who can make it whole. Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.
For those with prodigal children, come here and listen to what He has to say to you. Step away from what you can see with your eyes and the raging voice of the river. Step away from there. You cannot part or quiet the waters, but He can! Come hereand listen to the word He has for you in the quiet places. Remember, God has had prodigal children, too. He understands your hurting heart. He has a word for you in those quiet places. Step away from the river of unbelief. Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.
And for those of us who have a river so big in front of us that it keeps us from stepping into the promise that He has next for us, step away from there. Trust Him with the timing, the path, the means and the method. He willpart the river. Leave doubt thereand come here. God has a place uniquely designed for you in your Promised Land. Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.
Joshua goes on to speak what God had given him to say. It was a word of faith for people who would once again go back to the river. They would face their challenge and they would cross to the other side. They never would have heard His Words if they had not left there, if they had not left the river. A brand new adventure would begin, an adventure with giants and promises, struggles and victory, but God’s people would know that He was among them and He would drive out the enemy before them…
…because He had told them it was so when they stepped away from the river. He reassured them in the quiet place, away from the challenge, when it was just them and God, on the day that God’s people stepped away from the river, when they came away and listened to the words of the Lord their God, He had a message for them…
‘This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hives, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.’ Joshua 3:10
God wants to speak to your heart. He has a plan and a purpose for you. Take a step out, tune your ear to Him. Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.