Online Bible Study: Week Eight (Chapter 15)

Ladies, we have made it to the end of our study of Priscilla Shirer’s Discerning the Voice of God and I’m so thankful for the chance to walk with you for this summer.  I urge you to take the time to comment to this post some time this week and talk about your overarching thoughts of this book or study and what God has been doing in your heart and mind these last few weeks.

For those of you catching up, these pages will remain open and available for you to go back and comment as you read each section.  We don’t want to miss what you have to say.

My small group will be starting a new book in September called Stumbling Into Grace: Confessions of a Spiritually Clumsy Woman by Lisa Harper.  In it, she discusses topics like fear, forgiveness, the importance of community, resting, being less critical and yet more honest, contentment and dependence on God.

I won’t be formalizing that into an official Online Bible Study format, but I will be following along the topics of the book with posts of my own here in this space.  So, I hope if you can’t join in my small group, you can grab a copy of the book wherever you are and read along with us.  I think you’ll enjoy it!

And, for those of you going to Women of Faith this coming weekend, you’ll get to see Lisa Harper on stage at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC!  I can’t wait!

My Thoughts

We have a well problem at my house.

Also a but problem.  And yes, I spelled that right.

I say, “Girls, it’s time to clean up.  Victoria, you put away the dolls.  Lauren, you put away the books.”

And I hear:

Well . . . she was the last one playing with them so she has to clean it up.

But playing with that wasn’t my idea; it was hers.”
Well . . . this is too much for me to clean up all by myself!”

But I’m not ready to stop playing.  I want to play some more later.”

It’s a well and but problem if ever I’ve heard one.

I’ll admit it.  God could likely say the same about me.  Maybe about you also?  God speaks to my heart through His Word, through others, through the heavy urging and impression of the Holy Spirit and I say:

But, I don’t want to stop doing this.  I’ve been doing it for years.  I enjoy it.  I’m good at it.  I’m used to it.  I’m comfortable and (this is the ringer), who else is going to do it if I stop?”

or

Well . . . you may want me to do that, but I’m scared and I don’t know how it’s all going to work out.  I’m not experienced enough.  I don’t see how doing this is going to matter in the long run.  What if I fail and mess it up?  What if I heard You wrong and I wasn’t supposed to do it after all?”

We say we want to hear the voice of God.  We long to know what He sounds like and desire spiritual discernment.

That’s what we say.  Yet sometimes we’re desperately pleading from God to hear His voice and then when He speaks, we argue with Him.  So, perhaps this waiting time, this sitting silent before a currently silent God, is more about our willingness to obey than our ability to hear.

Maybe He’s not speaking because He knows we’re not ready to obeyMaybe He’s waiting for our hearts to stop “well-ing” and “but-ing” and instead say to Him, “I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands” (Psalm 119:60).

Like Abraham, we should obey “immediately,” “the very same day,” and “early the next morning”  (Genesis 15:10, 17:23, 22:3).

Are you an early riser when it comes to obeying God’s voice?  Or are you more of a lingerer, a wait until it’s comfortable and makes sense, wait until the provision comes, wait until You can’t bear the heaviness of the Spirit any longer kind of child?

Choose to obey in advance of the command.  Set your heart on obedience.  It is the most precious worship to our God, more precious than any sacrifice you could lay at His feet.  “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).

Chapter Outline:

Chapter Fifteen: The Obedient Response

  • On p. 174, she notes that “God does not speak simply to be heard.  He speaks to be obeyed.”  She goes on to say that if we’re not willing to commit to obedience, He may very well choose not to speak to us.
  • She notes that people who always have an “escape plan” are called “double-minded” in James 4:8.  On p. 177, she encourages you to check your heart for double-mindedness if you aren’t hearing from God.

Your Thoughts:

  • Do you have an example of a time you obeyed God even when it didn’t make sense or seemed silly or confusing, and He rewarded your obedience?
  • How quickly do you tend to obey God’s voice?  Has a delay in obedience ever been costly for you?
  • Do you have any quotes, verses or passages that were your favorite in the conclusion of the book?
  • Have you changed anything in your spiritual walk as a result of this study?
  • What’s the most important concept or thought that you’ll take away from this book?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

7 thoughts on “Online Bible Study: Week Eight (Chapter 15)

  1. Michelle Girard says:

    Wow this is it. The end. The study is over. I really am not ready for it to be over. I don’t feel like I got everything out of it that was there for the taking. I believe God meets us all where we are. I have never been able to trust that what I hear is God’s voice and not me. I can’t say that I am any farther along in this area than I was before the study. What it has done for me though was help me to understand why that is the case.

    I feel like I am still stuck back in Chapter 7.

    “Had knowing His will taken precedent over just knowing Him?”

    “We tend to seek God’s direction more than we seek Him.”

    “Seek a Person instead of a plan. Seek a relationship instead of a road map.”

    I think I have been doing this for a long long time and changing this isn’t going to happen overnight. I think I will be able to come back to the rest of the study at a later time but for right now for me it is about relationship building. The chapters about following God’s direction were good but I will have to come back to them later.

    • Heather C. King says:

      I think you make such a good point, that so often we are so focused on hearing God’s voice and discerning His will that it sucks up our focus and attention. Whereas if we just seek relationship with Him, we’ll know His voice by spending time with Him in prayer and study. When He speaks then, we’ll know it without effort.

  2. Janis Hedgepeth says:

    This final chapter really made an impression on me. Obedience, obedience, obedience! I really need to work on this one. I’m not sure I’m at the place where Abraham was. The total obedience he displayed has always left an indelible mark on me ever since I was a child and heard the story. I’m not sure I would have been as dedicated to obeying as Abraham was. Please pray that obedience to God’s calling will happen in my life and I will hear God’s voice.

  3. Heather K. Pantano says:

    Whew! Okay, I really lagged behind there at the end. First, I just want to say “Thank you” Heather for being such a faithful leader in this study.

    I agree & disagree when Priscilla said that discerning the voice of God is actually easy. I agree that it is easy that when God speaks we listen: through his Word & prayer. So simple it is difficult. For me, I still am unsure when it’s me talking or God. Obviously there are certain decisions we face where it is crystal clear that a certain choice is not Biblically based but what about the choices that seem good but may not be the right one? I still am lost on that one. The issue is not that I don’t trust God, I don’t have faith in myself to know. And maybe that is the point….maybe I should just focus on my faith in God and let Him take care of my doubts. Yes, that’s it. Still, easier said than done. If this study has done nothing else it has really opened my eyes to some hard questions. It has provoked deep thinking that I may not have gotten to on my own. The book was a great guide but hearing from other ladies was a true blessing and I am grateful.

    God Bless.

    • Heather C. King says:

      Heather, Thanks for posting your final thoughts on the study! Sometimes I think we just need to give ourselves the grace to make mistakes sometimes and allow that to be part of the learning process on how to discern God’s voice. I mean, if you believe you’ve heard from God, if it completely lines up with Scripture, if you’ve prayed about it, if you’ve sought counsel or prayer support from others and they are in agreement . . . then prayerfully step out in faith and obedience, asking God to redirect you at any time if you’re in error. God is so gracious. He will “make your paths straight” if your heart is set on obeying Him. If you really didn’t hear God and just heard your own ideas and thoughts, then He will likely stop you. Plus you’ll have learned a little more about what God’s voice DOES NOT sound like. Sometimes that’s just as important as what He does sound like.

  4. Marie Auker says:

    Sorry to be so long before my last post. I was trucking along just fine until “Irene.” I did finish my chapter, but was without electricity. When it came back on, I had a lot to catch up on. So, I just forgot to come back to this.

    I really enjoyed her book. Of course, there are things I gleaned from it. I think the biggest thing that sticks out to me is, obedience; especially whether or not I’m “hearing” anything right now or not. My next memory verse comes from p. 178. “I will hurry, without lingering, to obey your commands.” Psalm 119:60 There are times I’ve obeyed quickly, and times I’ve lingered in the obedience department.

    Thanks, Heather, for doing this online study. I have enjoyed hearing everyone’s comments along the way.

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