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Singing Psalm 66 to clear listening for truth

What is the greatest need of the hour?

Two-way clear listening for earnest communication between you and your maker.

You hope for clear listening without static as when listening to beautiful music when he calls you.

Who are chosen?

The ones whose clear listening enable them to hear God’s true call and respond to it with understanding.

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” ~ Matthew 22:14

God speaks. You hear with clear listening.

What an honor that God would come to you in a way that you can perceive, in order to connect with you and speak to you in a way that you can hear. Isn’t it awestricking that the creator of all wants to come to you and speak to you?

“This he has fulfilled to us … by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,

‘You are my Son,    today I have begotten you.'” ~ Acts 13:33

Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.” ~ Romans 1:4

Before his descent as the very Word of God who became flesh so you and I could hear him, could follow him, he was God with the Father and the Holy Spirit in unseparated oneness and fellowship with fullness of creative power through whom all things were made. It takes clear listening for truth not to dismiss him as only a cute baby who grew up to be a mere man but instead to worship him as God. Jesus is God who became the Son of God, the God-man. He subtracted from himself to add on ‘man’ to who he is, to become a son. He humbled himself by breaking into history as a supernatural bridge between God and man to give his stiff-necked people hope to know and be accepted by God.

“All things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” ~ Colossians 1:16-17

The degree that Jesus humbled himself is beyond what can be imagined by finite minds and hearts. This matchless great one, now the eternal Son of God by his resurrection, and who has ascended to sit once again, but now and for the rest of eternity as the God-man, at the right hand of the Father, says:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30

What stands in the way of clear listening to Jesus, coming to him, learning from him, following him? What obstacle prevents it from happening?

Pride is the enemy of clear listening.

Adam and Eve knew it. Cain knew it. Jonah knew it. You and I know it.

Do you reject his call because you would rather go your own way? Does it hurt your pride to admit that you are called not because you are worthy but because he is merciful? Are you moved more by praise that comes from man or do you seek the praise that comes from God alone? Clear listening for God’s glory within Jesus’ humility is the cure for pride. The God-man subtracted from who he is, but Jesus is now glorified beyond comparison because of his sacrifice to connect with you and me.

Those who are chosen are chosen not because they are worthy but because they know their need for God’s mercy and accept it. Though they are not righteous in themselves, they hate their sin, and God counts their faith in his mercy as their righteousness. This is why none will boast except in the Lord. All are unworthy. All need his grace and mercy. It’s just that some accept it because with clear listening they perceive how much they need him. Jesus is mercy!

Those whose clear listening skills have not yet been honed by Jesus have a muddied perception of what is true. On our own, we believe we are better than we are and somehow don’t need the Lord for every breath and step we take. Then, we despise those whose clear listening move them to respond to the Lord’s call with dependence on him. In our sinfully natural selves, we consider the God-reliant to be weak since they aren’t self-sufficient, self-promoting. Our visceral hatred of weakness is the result of our blindness to our own weakness which renders us deaf to clear listening when the clarion call to repentance is within our earshot, resenting God’s grace for those who hear and respond to the call. Lack of faith in him is self-reliant wickedness.

As despicable as we have been, we can have repentance to look forward to because of what Jesus did:

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

     ‘In a favorable time, I listened to you,          and in a day of salvation, I have helped you.’

“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21-6:2

Clear listening happens in church not because those who attend are better than anyone else, but because they know their need for clear listening to God and to those who know their need for God. They used to worship and serve themselves but now desire to worship God and to serve him. Others reject it because they don’t think they need it. Why would anyone go to church only to plug up their ears? Though they don’t yet perceive their need for God or for people that see their need for God, this is where everyone who does attend church began. So there is hope.

Everything changes when you sing Psalm 66 from the heart:

“All earth to God raise joyful song;    All earth worships…He’s awesome in the things he does    Before the eyes of mankind.He turned the sea into dry land;    They through the river passed on foot;We’ll there rejoice before Him.” ~ Psalm 66:1,4-6

Who will rejoice before him there?

Who worships?

It is none other than God’s people from every nation and tribe in all the earth, the people who gather in Jesus’ name to worship him, the church. There he gives them the great gift of clear listening. There they perceive the wonders he has done and catch the hope of what he is doing and will do.

There you are warned to remove the logs from your own eyes before attempting to remove the specs from the eyes of your brothers and sisters.

There you learn the skill of reading your own conscience without neglecting the reality of God’s grace toward you in Christ. This clear listening gives you great joy in the midst of suffering in this fallen world and helps you to set your hope fully and only on the grace to be given you when Jesus is revealed.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope, without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” ~ Hebrews 10:23–25

That said, lest you think the devil gives up easily, it is possible that you go to church to try to show that you are somehow better and that you take stock in the fact that you chose to go to church. This is what he does. Satan takes the good thing God gives you and twists it using the pride of impression management as his vehicle.

And what does the devil give in return to those whose unwitting allegiance is to him? Eternal misery when they see what they gave their lives to that they cannot take with them—nothing but a bunch of useless things. 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:3

You ask for clear listening to Jesus’s voice. His sheep hear his voice and follow him.

Do you have ears to hear?

“Men rode o’er us;    We have gone through fire and waterBy Your doing.    Yet You brought us forth to freedom.” ~ Psalm 66:12

Reserve judgment when it seems that he does not hear you. God has perfectly clear listening. He who brings you into suffering will bring you out. Wait for his answer.

“Bless God, O peoples, sound His praise;    He who appoints our soul to live,And keeps our feet from slipping.” ~ Psalm 66:8-9

Can you bless him? Or must you take credit for all that you do? What do you have that you did not receive? Can you admit that it is the Lord Jesus who keeps your feet from slipping whenever they have not slipped? Can you accept the truth about the times when your feet have slipped? Can you thankfully, joyfully, accept his mercy? By his grace, we can!

Elihu brings to light the different ways that God speaks to you. Embrace clear listening for all the ways so you will avoid misunderstanding and rebellion.

“For God speaks in one way,    And in two, though man does not perceive it.In a dream, in a vision of the night,    when deep sleep falls on men,    while they slumber on their beds, then he opens the ears of men    and terrifies them with warnings,that he may turn man aside from his deed    and conceal pride from a man;he keeps back his soul from the pit,    his life from perishing by the sword.

Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed…If there be for him, an angel,    a mediator, one of the thousand,    to declare to man what is right for him,and he is merciful to him…then, man prays to God, and he accepts him;    he sees his face with a shout of joy,and he restores to man his righteousness,    He sings before men and says:‘I sinned and perverted what was right,    and it was not repaid to me.He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit,    and my life shall look upon the light.’

“Behold, God does all these things,    twice, three times, with a man,to bring back his soul from the pit,    that he may be lighted with the light of life.” ~ Job 33:14-30

“He rules ever    In his might;He sees the nations,    His eyes watching;Let none rise up in rebellion.” ~ Psalm 66:7

You speak. God hears with clear listening.

What a comfort that God would listen to you. Are you beside yourself with the fact that the creator of all things wants to hear you?

What will you say?

Singing Psalm 66 helps you with this.

“Tell God, ‘How awesome are Your deeds;Your great strength leads Your foes in haste    To show You their submission.” ~ Psalm 66:3

This is clear listening at its best. God listens to you all the way through to the depths of your heart. Give him nothing less than all the truth from your heart. He is the only one worthy of your complete trust. Entrust him with your whole heart— the good, the bad, the ugly—he can take every bit of it. His mercy is greater than all of your sin. Take him up on his clear listening to every bit of your heart by responding with trust, understanding how well he knows you.

Satan fools you two ways. He gets you coming and going. The first lie he tells you is that you are good enough on your own. Therefore, you do not need God’s mercy. You look down on all the sorry sinners you see because he has blinded you to your own sin. The second lie he tells you is the opposite. Your sins are so bad, so rotten, there’s no use going to God for forgiveness. The devil tells you the lie that God could never forgive your wickedness. The cross of Christ shatters these lies by tuning your ear to clear listening for the truth.

There at church you hear the truth shattering these lies each Lord’s Day. Then you study these truths on your own throughout the week. God’s Spirit leads you to the truth which sets you free. On your own, as crazy as it seems, you believe both lies though they contradict each other. This leaves you in confusion and chaos, bitterness and anger, worry and panic, each alternating to bounce you from misery to misery instead of from strength to strength—the antithesis of clear listening. And once you are his, the devil abandons you and laughs. The thief who poses as a shepherd comes to steal, kill, and destroy but will in the end show you his submission.

Show God your submission as you turn from being his enemy to becoming his friend. Defy the devil who would have you do anything but submit to God and love God and your neighbor. Know who your enemy is and who your enemy is not:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers, over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” ~ Ephesians 6:10–13

“Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. ‘They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more, you shall see the distinction between the righteous, and the wicked, between one who serves God, and one who does not serve him. 

‘For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so then it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.’” ~ Malachi 3:16-4:3

May it never be, but if you rebel against the Lord, you reject him on two levels. First, you reject the Lord’s mercy that he would have for you. Once you have done that, what is left? Here is the dreaded second level for those who reject clear listening to God’s call. Once his mercy is rejected, the merciful one must reject and condemn you only because you reject his mercy. With clear listening for his truth, this will never be.

If you listen when God speaks, when you speak, God listens.

“Come, listen, all who rev’rence God;    I’ll tell what He has done for me:I cried to Him and praised Him.    If in my heart I cherished sin,The Lord would not have heeded me;    But truly God has listened;He has heard me.    God be blessed because He has notScorned my praying,    Nor His faithful love turned from me.” ~ Psalm 66:16-20

August 31, 2023 – December 15, 2023


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