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Listening to God

(The following is the January 19 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Matthew 17​ and pay close attention to verses 1-8.)

When Jesus took Peter, James, and John up a mountain where they witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration, Jesus’ face shone like the sun, and his clothes were brilliant white as he talked with Moses and Elijah. Rather than remain quiet and in awe, Peter suggested setting up three shelters for them. Peter didn’t finish talking before God the Father spoke from above, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!” (v. 5). The disciples fell facedown, terrified. After Moses and Elijah left, Jesus came to the frightened disciples, touched them, and said, “Get up; don’t be afraid” (v. 7).

We shouldn’t be too hard on Peter for blurting out something that he thought was an expression of respect and honor for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. However, it appears that Peter fell into the trap of thinking, “We can’t just sit here. We have to do something.” God made it clear that the best thing Peter could do then was to be quiet and listen to the Son of God. Echoes of Psalm 46:10 are present: “Be still, and know that I am God” (KJV).

We may be inclined in times with God, especially in prayer, to do all the talking. We approach God with our requests, say all we plan to say, close with “Amen,” and go on our way. If that is our pattern, when do we expect to hear his answers? When and how do we listen to him speak? God communicates through his Word when we study, obey, and apply its teachings to daily life. The Holy Spirit guides us through the truths of his Word to the answers we seek. We can’t talk and listen well simultaneously.

Sometimes we should speak and act. Other times it’s best to listen.

Next Step:

Are you searching for answers to important matters? Set aside time for earnest prayer. Linger in his presence. Read and pray through his Word. Seek the wisdom of godly people and trust that God will not withhold any good thing from his children.

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