Abraham Is Tested

As we continue the series, Thin Places, we focus on Scriptures and devotional reflections to help in developing a conversational relationship with God. The following reflections are taken from Dallas Willard’s Hearing God Through the Year, compiled and edited by Jan Johnson.

Monday – Deuteronomy 18.16. “Perhaps we do not hear the voice of God because subconsciously we know that we intend to run our lives on our own. The voice of God would then be an unwelcome intrusion into our plans. His word might be a disturbing element into our lives, just as the Israelites believed that to hear the voice of God would bring death. In truth, when we welcome God’s voice, we find ourselves in God’s loving companionship.”

Tuesday – Acts 17.27-28. “Ordinarily we must make use of some kind of connecting device to communicate across a distance. Phone lines, satellites, vocal chords are examples of ‘connecting devices’. What surprises us is that God does not need connecting devices to communicate with us (although at times He uses Scripture or other people). God has placed us in a material world that permits Him to be near to us − even nearer than our own eyes, ears, or brain. How do we live, move and have our being ‘In Him’ (Acts 17.28)?”

Wednesday – Isaiah 30.21. “What does it mean to you to be ‘in God’? (Also, see yesterday’s Scripture) Have you ‘spiritualized’ that away to mean some future position in heaven and not a here-and-now way of existing? How would a conscious reality of always ‘in God’ make you better able to hear Him?”

Thursday – John 12.32; John 10.14-15. “To lead people is not to manipulate, drive, or manage them. The sheepdog forcibly maneuvers the sheep, whereas the biblical shepherd calls as he calmly walks ahead of the sheep. This distinction between the sheepdog and shepherd is profoundly significant as we lead God’s people−and through our influence we all lead others, whether it be groups, friends, or children. When we lead as shepherds, our confidence is in only the word of the Great Shepherd coming to his sheep through us or otherwise. When they know His voice, they will not follow another. Ask God to show you how to be a shepherd, not a sheepdog!”

Friday – 1 Peter 4.11. “Servants of God count on those to whom they minister to also minister to them. Ministry is never a one-way street when it is functioning rightly in any group. When we lead as a shepherd leads, we do not rely only on human abilities and powers. We seek to serve and to speak ‘in the strength that God provides.’ Today, pray for someone you are currently helping, perhaps with doing chores, or teaching or welcoming into a group. Ask God for His strength to be yours as you serve and for grace to see how that person ministers to you.”

Saturday – 1 John 4.1. Quoting Joyce Huggett in her book, Listening to God, Willard writes: “If you believe God has told you to do something, ask Him to confirm it to you three times: through His word, through circumstances, and through other people who may know nothing of the situation.” Dallas Willard then adds this comment: “This principle of three witnesses is a good rule of thumb in an area where rules of thumb are badly needed. We use our good sense in hearing God, but we also ask others to use their good sense for our good.”