You’ve all seen the bespectacled, geekish man with cell phone firmly pressed against his ear moving about the country asking the anonymous person on the other end of the line again and again, “Can you hear me now?” It has been one of the most successful promotional gimmicks in recent years and that ingenious tagline has become a catchword for a modern generation, much like “where’s the beef?” was in the 1980s.
The point was, of course, to show that Verizon had more coverage than any other competitor and one would have to be, say, underwater so as to not be able to complete a connection.
I know of One whose coverage is so Sprint-pin-drop-clear and Verizon-wide (times eternity) that the sharpness and clarity of the “Let there be Light!” that thundered into time and space many millennia ago is still explicitly articulate today. Same Voice. Ageless. Commanding. Clear.
I recall sitting in my junior high school speech class in 1973 and hearing my teacher say that every word that has ever been spoken is still trapped in our atmosphere-Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg, John Adams’ fervent appeals at the First Continental Congress, or the cry of warning from a sailor aboard the Titanic. Trouble is, we haven’t the tools to capture them.
Ah, but the One Voice that trumps them all, we can hear. James tells us we have the tools to hear God with amazing clarity. The same James who grew up with Jesus and knew His Voice quite distinctly tells us we can hear His Voice.
Are you listening?
I want to hear God, you say. You hear of others speaking so freely about “God told me this…” “God spoke to me last night…” and your frustration level rises. Why can’t that be me? Why can’t I hear Him like that?
“Camel Knees” (a.k.a. James, because he spent so much time on his knees listening for his Elder Brother’s Voice) gives us a clue as subtle as a sledgehammer: “putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted…” (James 1:21). The word translated “filthiness” is closely related to a word meaning ‘ear wax’! He is telling us that many cannot hear because of the ghastly buildup and the passageway is blocked. Let me illustrate.
I am in a wheelchair at present (duh). Through my 27 years of disability I have been asked to come over to people’s homes countless times, and, many of those times have been hindered from going too far inside because of steps, rooms crowded with furniture, narrow doorways, what have you. I believe we come to the Word in much the same way. “Come in, Lord. Speak to me.” Yet there is so much clutter, off-limits rooms, and, excuse me, wax buildup, that our Lord can get no further than the foyer of our hearts.
He’s always speaking. Am I listening? Can I hear?
In the same verse James tells us to “receive the Word with humility.” Guess what else hinders my hearing God? Selective hearing. When my agenda will overrule His Word to me, I will not hear. When I am already prejudiced against and deaf to Truth, He won’t waste words on me. But doers of the Word (v22) will have the blessing of a streaming dialogue with the Almighty!
When the LORD called Abraham, He only had to say His name once and he said, “Here, LORD.” Such was the condition of the old patriarch’s heart. God knew His man had an abiding “yes” within and the two could share an ongoing conversation all his days. Guess they had Q-Tips back then, too.
Clean ears. Open hearts. Obedient lives. Want to hear God? Now you’re on the right frequency.