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Sermon 3/28/10
Genesis 4:13-15 - He Listens

Audio Sermon

He Listens

"Cain said to the Lord, 'My punishment is too great to bear! Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.' So the Lord said to him, 'Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold' and the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him" (Genesis 4:13-15)

The “Daily Bread” recently quoted a “Washington Post” article, in which “a 15-year old girl… sent and received 6,473 cell phone text messages in a single month. She said about her constant communication with friends, ‘I would die without it.’ And she is not alone. Researchers say that U.S. teens with cell phones average more than 2,200 text messages a month.” The “Daily Bread” article, written by David McCasland, used Colossians 1:9 as the basis for their “take” on the article, which includes the words, “we… do not cease to pray for you.” The point was that we should be as effective and diligent in prayer as that teen aged girl was with her text messaging. The article by Mr. McCasland concluded, “Pray without ceasing. Perhaps what Paul urged us to do CAN be done… Prayer should become as natural as breathing.

Today's sermon is part of our continuing series on the Person, the Character of God, and we come to one of the strangest aspects of all: He listens to us. The Great God of heaven and earth encourages us to speak to Him in what we call “prayer.” An ongoing concern of many people is whether He, Almighty God, Maker of heaven and of earth, LISTENS to what we say. Does He listen, does He care? The answer is that He DOES hear our every word and what we THINK also, but that’s another sermon presented earlier this year. In the context of discussing whether God listens, I want you to ponder for a moment our Scripture for today. The Verses in Genesis 4:13-15 reveal a conversation between the second man on earth who was named Cain and God Himself. This was the Cain who had recently murdered his younger brother, Abel, in a moment of violence. Today’s Scripture reveals what prayer is all about – We speak to God, who incredibly hears us, He amazingly answers, and we are to keep on praying “without ceasing” as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Note that if God would hear, answer and respond to the need of the murderous Cain, He will hear us all. He really is LISTENING – to you and me.

If you feel you cannot “hear” His answers, don’t think you’re the only one who is defective in that area, because a problem with humanity is that we are ALL born with what might be called, “spiritual deafness.” As Jesus asked His disciples, “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?” (Matthew 8:18). They had heard His words with their ears, but did not understand with their hearts. God speaks through His Word, the Bible, directly into us by His Spirit, through the circumstances of our lives, through our conscience, through Creation and more. If we “do not hear,” a very important prayer for us to start with is: “Help me, Lord, that I may hear.” Then open up His Word, prayerfully begin to read and begin to notice that certain verses will grip your heart. Let it all sink in, for He is speaking to your need; not only our present needs, but often needs in the future from that moment.

The “Daily Bread” article, which carried the title, “Texting God,” continued with a description of “Missionary Frank Laubach (who) described his habit of ‘shooting’ prayers at people as he encountered them during the course of each day. In a sense, he was ‘texting’ God on their behalf, staying in constant communication with the Father. Laubach believed that prayer is the mightiest force in the world, and said: ‘My part is to live in this hour in continuous inner conversation with God and in perfect responsiveness to His will.’” The article concluded, “Pray without ceasing. Perhaps what Paul urged us to do CAN be done… Prayer should become as natural as breathing.” It should and it is possible for you and me.

But note that the whole point of prayer is not something that we merely DO, like exercise which improves the body. Exercise only makes us healthier and better-looking, whereas prayer is a reaching out to God, who hears what we say and responds to our need. Exercise is something I do. Prayer is something that God does for me.

The Bible is simply filled with examples of God LISTENING to the needs of people, mostly in the form of historical glimpses into the lives of those He responded to. But there are also many individual Scriptures in which God simply TELLS us He listens to our prayers. Here are a few of them:

  • "You will make your prayer to Him, and He will hear you..." (Job 22:27)

  • "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him" (Psalm 91:15)

  • "It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer, and while they are speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24)

  • "You will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:12)

  • "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:18-19)

  • "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it" (John 14:13-14)

  • "...whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you"( John 16:23)

  • "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16)

  • "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14)

But perhaps the most important one of all is our Scripture for today because the person involved was not a "holy" individual who was right with God in every way and somehow DESERVED answers, but instead it was Cain, son of Adam, who murdered his brother. Almost everybody would regard him as BAD in the sight of God, which is very important because a lot of people think they’ve sinned too much for the Lord to acknowledge them, feeling they are inadequate to pray. We don’t know if Cain ever gave his heart to the Lord or not; probably not, but the point is that God LISTENED to him anyway. And He will listen to you, no matter what your condition is.

If you feel that you are like Cain; if you think too much has happened in the past for God to accept you, think about Jesus Christ. Isaiah 53 is sort of like a “Preview of Coming Attractions” drawing you to the main event. Jesus Christ would not be born for seven hundred years in the future, yet His work on the Cross in dying for our sins was previewed in Isaiah Chapter 53. The words were written as though the events had already occurred, and in relation to eternity’s perspective, they already had. Isaiah the prophet reported:

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus died for Cain, He died for the world and He died for you.

Lord, thank You for paying the price for me. I confess my sins and I trust in You now. Thank You for LISTENING and for responding to my need. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

www.FirstChurchOnTheNet.org
www.FridayStudy.org
Write to: Letters@FridayStudy.org

"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
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