Through the years, I've conversed with a number of people who have hearing loss. One of the things I've learned in those experiences is that it's often not the volume of the speaker that's the problem. It's the number of people speaking. Sometimes, just the sheer number of speakers creates so much noise, the listener can't really focus on the one voice they need to hear.
In a way, our society is like that. We are surrounded by so many sources of information. We go to news sites and get the day's headlines. We hear a number of voices on social media offer their takes on those headlines. We have friends tell us their opinions through email and texts. Then, when evening rolls around, we see the entertainment industry try to shape our thoughts on those subjects through television and movies. Reporters, bloggers, news anchors, pundits, politicians, friends, neighbors, actors and comedians all have something to say to us about what's happening. So many voices. So many opinions. So many, in fact, that we can't really hear what we need to.
In an age of information overload, where do we find the real answers we need? To whom do we listen? Which voice is saying what we really need to hear?
In the Old Testament, King Ahaziah injured himself and sent messengers to a neighboring country to inquire about his future. On the way, the messengers encountered the prophet Elijah who told them, "‘Go back to the king who sent you, and say to him, Thus says the Lord, Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron" (2 Kings 1:6, ESV)? In essence, God asks, "why are you looking for revelation and insight from someone other than me?" We could almost paraphrase that question today by asking, "Why are you listening to the wrong voices when I have spoken?"
In our world today, the temptation we face is to look for answers somewhere other than God's revelation to us. Rather than seek out the wisdom of Scripture, we look for insight in so many other places. Sometimes, pastors and teacher succumb to this temptation thinking that something “more entertaining” or “cutting edge” will touch our people’s lives in some new dynamic way. But, all those other voices are just noise. They really don't have the words that change lives. Their advice can't really heal a broken home, and their platitudes can't really offer lasting hope.
As believers, we need to know that God has revealed Himself to us. He has something to say to us personally. He speaks to us through the Scripture. Through it, God feeds our faith and helps grow us in grace. As pastors and teachers, we need to trust that His Word has what our people need to hear. God has given to us the message we need to convey to our people. As churches, we must expect that when we live out this Word, our communities will be changed. That's the power of the Bible. That's the power of gospel. That's the power of Jesus. And, His is the voice we need to hear.