Short Meditations in Psalms: 3.4b …and listen and watch!
Psa 3:4 To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.
The second part of this verse is, I suggest, one of those verses of Scripture that we all read and pass over quickly without much thought, taking for granted what it says.
For the last year I have been teaching a small prayer group to listen to the Lord. I have formed a dictum that I have repeated to them again and again: “Focus on God; unfocus on answers.” Now the reason I have said that is that many years of sitting in prayer meetings convinces me that most of the time we want to tell the Lord the answers we want Him to give us: please heal me, please save Aunty Jean, please change these circumstances at work, please deal with our unpleasant neighbours, and so on.
When we do this two things follow: we do not make the Lord our first priority in life and we cease to be open to the variety of answers He might want to give. Going with this so often is unbelief that does not expect God to answer when we pray. Perhaps His difficulty in answering is that we keep on uttering more and more words and fail to stop and listen.
David cried out to the Lord and (the bit we take for granted) the Lord answered him. Now the things that follow in the psalm may be the way the Lord answered him, but how in general does the Lord ‘answer’ us when we cry out to Him?
Well we hinted at the first answer in the previous meditation, the peace of His presence comes over us. Sometimes this is accompanied with a sure sense that He knows, He understands and He has it all in hand.
Second, He may speak to us. How many of us dare take that step of faith and say, “The Lord said to me…” It is unbelief that says God cannot speak to you. The whole Bible testifies to the truth that God is a communicating God. If He communicated with hundreds of people in the Bible why shouldn’t He communicate with you? After all, you are His child aren’t you? Don’t parents speak with their children? How will He speak? A quiet whisper in your spirit that comes through your mind, words that make sense, perhaps a sentence or more, sometimes just a sense, sometimes words that stand out when you read the Bible or are praying. Listen for them.
Third, He may act and bring change. People may change, circumstances may change, and you may change. David wanted a change of circumstances but there was also a change in him as we shall shortly see.