If you think about it, God is always speaking to us — always in communication with us, always reaching out to us. And He does so whether we listen to him or not.
As we saw this Sunday in Genesis 8 and 9, Noah most definitely was a listener to God. He walked with God. One of the interesting things about their relationship was that God did a whole lot of speaking to Noah when he was building the ark — but not a whole lot after he and his family and all the animals were riding out the storm.
But even though God wasn’t saying much after the rains ended and the waters receded, Noah didn’t sit around assuming the Lord would miraculously move his limbs in the correct direction, like a marionette does with a puppet. No, instead Noah acted — but it was action influenced and shaped by everything already at work in him spiritually. All the wisdom he obtained from the Lord over the 120 years he spent heeding God’s instructions while building the ark, all the encouragement from the Lord as others wrote him off as crazy — all of that was operating when Noah made the decision to let birds fly free so they might give him clues about the condition of the ground. In other words, Noah put himself in the best position possible to hear from God when the Lord finally did instruct him to leave the ark.
We have to do the same thing. And it’s deeper than merely listening to what God is saying and then doing what he tells us to do. Noah did both of those things, of course, but Scripture tells us Noah also was righteous and blameless in God’s sight. And that goes a long way toward putting oneself in a great position to hear from God. So, ask yourself: Is God pointing out sin in your life? If so, he wants you to get rid of it so there’s nothing hindering you from hearing what God has to say. If you want to see God work in your life, you need to deal with the issues God is pointing out to you — and once you do, you become more clearly in tune with what God wants and how to navigate all sorts of situations you’ll encounter. God wants to empower all of us with his guidance — but that becomes impossible when sin blocks and hinders what otherwise could be a clear pathway to hear from the Lord.
Psalm 66:16-19 reads, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.”
We also learned a second principle on Sunday: That when we start over in our lives, we must build an altar. What does that mean, exactly? Well, Noah did that very thing after he and his family and the animals exited from the ark and stood on dry land again. And the Lord was pleased with the altar Noah built and the aromas emanating from it — and God responded with promises to Noah. Of course, the principle isn’t about building literal altars in our back yards — but it is about recognizing and acknowledging God and declaring that he comes first in our lives.
And what about those promises God made? We know about the sign of the rainbow — a reminder that the Lord has promised he’ll never again cover the earth with a flood. But the reality is that God has made many more promises to us. Pastor Scott noted that a researcher who studied the matter found that God made 7,487 promises to us in the Bible! That’s a tremendous number — and should offer us comfort that the Lord loves us and cares for us. Indeed, a big part of having a vibrant relationship with God is remembering and relying on the promises he’s made to us.
Putting ourselves in the best position to hear from the Lord by eliminating sin and doing what he’s telling us to do; declaring with our whole hearts every day that God comes first in our lives; remembering and leaning on the Lord’s promises. Let’s get busy doing these things so we can all strengthen our relationships with God!