I’m obsessed with words. Because of this, I recognize strange correlations. For example, there’s an interesting relationship between the words “here” and “hear.” You see, in order to truly comprehend what someone has to say, you must be present.
In order to hear, you must be here. The same is often true when it comes to God. If you want to hear from God, you should probably be close to Him.
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world” (James 4:8 NLT).
Most of us don’t come close to God because we’re unwilling to cut ties with other people, places, or things. As James writes, our loyalty is often divided between God and the world.
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do” (James 1:5-8 NLT).
When you live life at a distance, you miss so much. Let me show you a couple of examples.
“When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal” (2 Kings 2:1 NLT).
The prophet Elijah was preparing to leave his ministry in the hands of Elisha. Here in this passage, Elijah and Elisha were together. But Elisha had plenty of opportunities to leave.
Three different times, Elijah told Elisha to “‘Stay here …’” (V. 2, 4, 6 NLT). You see, Elijah was traveling to different places under the direction of God. And three different times, Elijah encouraged Elisha to stay in the current city as the prophet continued traveling.
But each time, Elisha responded, “‘As surely as the LORD lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you’” (V. 2, 4, 6 NLT).
“When they came to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away’” (V. 9 NLT).
Elisha asked Elijah for a double share of his blessing and the opportunity to become his successor. Elijah promised Elisha that if he saw the prophet enter Heaven, then Elisha’s request was granted.
“As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha saw it and cried out, ‘My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!’ And as they disappeared from sight, Elisha tore his clothes in distress” (V. 11-12 NLT).
You see, because Elisha refused to distance himself from Elijah, he received an enormous blessing. He caught a glimpse of Heaven and took Elijah’s place.
In a similar way, God blesses His people when they refuse to leave Him.
In Genesis 32, there’s an interesting account of God wrestling with Jacob.
“This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!’
But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me’” (V. 24-26 NLT).
Jacob was unrelenting. He would not leave this man. He demanded a blessing.
“‘Please tell me your name,’ Jacob said.
‘Why do you want to know my name?’ the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.
Jacob named the place Peniel (which means ‘face of God’), for he said, ‘I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared’” (V. 29-30 NLT).
Be loyal to God and stay close to Him. Don’t let Him go until He blesses you. Keep praying until He answers (Matt. 7:7-11).
Open your heart and say, “God, I’m here to hear from You.”
Isaiah Pauley is a 2018 graduate of Wahama High School. He can be followed at www.isaiahpauley.com, or on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page.