Part 4 - Lesson 13

Listen to the Voice

The prophet Elijah was in trouble. Wicked Queen Jezebel was trying to kill him. Elijah felt that he was all alone, and he was not sure that even God could help him.

God came to him in the cave where Elijah was hiding from the queen. He told Elijah to go stand on the mountain.

As the Lord passed by, a strong windstorm tore into the mountains. The wind blew so hard, it even broke up rocks. But God was not in the wind. Then came an earthquake so big it shook the mountains, But God was not in the earthquake. Next, a wild fire raged over the land as far as Elijah could see. But God was not in the fire, either.

Finally, there came a still, small voice. And God was in that voice. Elijah knew he was not alone. The God who had the power to shake mountains was with Elijah. The voice of God guided Elijah all his life.

God sends the small voice to each one of us. too. He will guide us with that voice. We call it our conscience.

It is a funny thing that although you cannot touch your conscience, you can feel it. And although no technician can detect a sound wave from it, you still can hear its voice clearly. The prophet Isaiah called the conscience “a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ ”

Our conscience tells us whether we have done right or wrong. We all are tempted to do what we know is wrong. How do you feel when you resist that temptation and say no to Satan? You feel good, don’t you? You feel light and free, That is your conscience letting you know you did the right thing. Nothing feels better than a clear conscience.

But when you do something you know is wrong, how do you feel? You have a sick feeling inside, don’t you? That is your conscience again. The Bible calls this sick feeling “godly sorrow.” The apostle Paul said godly sorrow is good, because it leads us to repent and ask forgiveness.

When we do that, God will gladly forgive our sin, and we can be happy again. He will help us to say no to sin.

Sometimes we go on worrying and making ourselves feel bad over a sin that has been forgiven. Paul calls this “the sorrow of the world.” This sorrow is not good for us, and can even ruin our health.

God promises to forget our sins, and He wants us to forget them, too. Instead of thinking about our sins, we should think about God’s grace and salvation.

A conscience not only tells us we have done wrong; it tells us to make it right.

One time, there was a riot in a big city. Many people were caught up in the anger of the mob spirit. They began to break windows and loot the stores. They took TVs, radios, stereos and other expensive items.

But their consciences would not let them enjoy their free TVs and stereos. The next morning, they began to take things back to the stores. Within a few days, a great many of the stolen items had been returned. Only then could the people be free from the pricking of their consciences.

Sometimes a conscience will bother a person for years until the wrong is made right.

Once, a boy sneaked a ride on the city bus without paying his fare. He tried to ignore the voice of his conscience, because it was so small. Sometimes he would forget for years. But the voice would always poke through again. Finally, after 45 years, he could stand it no longer. He sent the transit company enough stamps to pay for his ride. At last he had peace.

A strong, tender conscience like that draws us closer to God. But a conscience can also be weak. This may seem good right now. Nobody likes the bad feeling a conscience can cause. But if we refuse to listen to our conscience, and let it keep getting weaker, one day we will not be able to hear it at all.

Paul said anyone who does this has a conscience that is “seared with a hot iron.” Skin that has been burned very badly forms scar tissue. There are no nerve endings in the scar tissue, so there is no feeling. A conscience that has been “seared” cannot tell you anything.

This can be dangerous. The Bible says the only way we can repent is by God working inside us to make us sorry for our sins. We cannot repent on our own. If we drive out the Holy Spirit by refusing to listen to Him, we cannot repent. There is no other voice to call us to God. This is one sin God cannot forgive.

Feed your conscience with prayer and the word of God. Obey it when it speaks to you. Then your conscience will stay strong. Jesus wants to take you home with Him when He comes again. He loves you very much. He came to this sinful earth, where He lived a life of poverty, hardship and loneliness. Then He died a terrible death on the cross. No one made Him do it. He did it because He loves you.

Won’t you invite Him into your heart right now? Ask Him to send the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with the love of God. Ask Him to help you exercise your conscience and listen to it so that it will remain strong and will keep you walking on the path of right.

God says the plans He has for His children are so wonderful that the very best we can imagine does not even come close.

Why don’t you ask God right now to help you be ready to go home with Him?

On The Bible Trail

You may read the story of Elijah and the voice in 1 Kings 19:9-13. What will God do with the sins we confess? Read Isaiah 38:17, Matthew 1:21, Hebrews 10:17. How wonderful are the things God plans for us? See   
1 Corinthians 2:9, Revelation 2:7, 3:21.

Treasure Chest Verse

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ ” Isaiah 30:21

If we listen to this voice and follow its direction, our lives will be happy and successful.