Your perception of God affects what you think you are hearing Him say. Some of us impose upon the Lord a character of our own creation, and we project onto the Lord the deficiencies of our own losses. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Trying to Relate Through Deficient Expressions
Many of us have been raised by fathers that were not fathers at all. If your father was absent, very seldom in your life, chances are that your relationship with God finds Him to be distant and seldom there for you.
If you grew up under a very stern authoritative voice of discipline, chances are that you cower in time of prayer. Chances are that you’ve got this concept that God is up there just waiting for you to blow it.
It’s amazing how often we’ll take the failures of early models and project that onto God and try to relate to Him through the deficient expressions.
A person who feels that God is angry is never going to get a good word from God. Even though God is speaking good words. A person who is living under the unhealed conglomerate mess of hurt and wounds and bitterness and heartbreak is the kind of person that in a public forum would come out and say “O my people, I’m so sick of you I don’t know what I’m going to do! I’ve been listening to your songs and they’re noise to my ears. I’ve just about had it with you and like a mighty hand squashing a bug I’m going to come down and smite you unless you fall on your face and repent!”
I know of people who have had that kind of experience with others – it may even come after a wonderful time of worship, and you must know that comes from looking through a foggy lens.
Recognizing the Imposters
We’ve got to be pure in how we perceive God. When you know somebody, there are a couple of things that go along with that. You can recognize their voice even though you can’t see them. The phone rings, you answer and start talking – even though you can’t see them you know it’s them – and the reason you know it’s them is because you know their voice. It sounds like them.
Let’s say an impersonator called you. He’s doing a good job, sounds like the person you know, but then you determine it’s not the person because not only do you know the sound of their voice, but you know their character.
You not only know how they would say something, but also what they would say. You know what is coming from them. If it’s an imposter you get to the point of putting 2 and 2 together and wondering, “Who is this?” This isn’t the person I thought. It may sound like him, but they’re not saying what He would say. You see what I’m getting at? We must become pure in how we perceive the Lord.
Zechariah gives us an amazing perspective. In chapter 3 verses 15-17 he says, “The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save.” We may believe that although we seldom see it ourselves. Many of us think the Lord our God is against us. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.
That Word Rejoice
I want to show you what God wants us to know. God chose this verse; God gave this to Zechariah, and it reveals something to us about God.
In the Hebrew, this is a very descriptive word. It literally means “to jump up, spin around, and squeal.” Now just picture that in your mind.
How many of you have ever had your all-time favorite sports team win a major victory? See you rejoiced! I would dare say some of you were jumping up, spinning around and squealing. One of the reasons those goofy game shows are so popular is because we like what happens when people win. You know where we got that? We got it from the one who made us in His image. And He rejoices in us!
That’s how God is, and if you can get in touch with that part of the Lord, it will dramatically alter what you believe the Lord is saying to you. Because you’ll realize with what love and favor He views His children. Yes, He does rebuke, yes he does correct, but it’s always for the purpose of making us winners. It comes out of His great love. We’ve got to be pure in how we perceive God.
Psalm 139:17-18, “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you.”
He’s continually thinking about you with thoughts of love and victory, and watching everything that concerns us. Since He’s always thinking about us, that should set us free from always having to be thinking about ourselves. Because if He’s always thinking about us and watching everything that concerns us, then it frees us up to start always thinking about Him! When that happens, you start tuning in to what He’s telling you to be – As you look, listen, learn, and do, perceiving God as He really is.