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What Stops Us from Hearing God? (Y1.T1.D50)

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

Pexels; "Eva Elijas"


In our previous post, we read how vital it is to hear (Mark 4:23), understand (Matthew 13:13), and do (Luke 8:21) what God tells us.

Given the importance of hearing from God, this post provides a couple of items to help us understand spiritual instructions as well as a list of comprehension obstacles.

You might be familiar with the well-known parable of the farmer (or sower). Our passages also include an additional parable captured only in Mark’s Gospel. The popularity of the first parable compared to the second has to do with Jesus’ detailed explanation of what he meant.

Before we dive into the barriers, it’s worth noting that a good way to hear and understand God is to ask him to explain.

As a corporate trainer, I regularly tell students, "The only stupid question is the one we are afraid to ask." Because the disciples asked, we are blessed with a list from Jesus of three things that prevent God’s word from taking root:

  • Satan (Mark 4:15). Not only is he real, but he’s also singularly focused on blocking our ability to know God—and for those of us who know God, to prevent us from maturing. Like a swarm of locusts, the enemy wants to wipe our hearts clean of God’s message. John 10:10 reminds us, "The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy."

  • Oppression or persecution (Matthew 13:21). This earthly life will never be problem-free. And those who come to God seeking only good can’t hear him when trouble comes. But James 1:2–4 reminds us, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

  • Life's cares, deceitful riches, and the lust of other things (Luke 8:19). Trouble might be an obvious deterrent to hearing God’s voice, but so is luxury. First Timothy 6:9 reminds us “But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation, a snare, and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction."

The more aware we are of obstacles, the better chance we have at overcoming them.

Now, as promised, I’d like to close out this post with what Jesus said would help the seed not only take root but sprout fruit (Matthew 13:23). In fact, Luke's Gospel says it best. He describes the “good ground" as those with "an honest and good heart" (Luke 8:15).

When I approach God’s word with honest motives and selfless desires, I prep my ears, eyes, and hands to perform.

Till the Soil of My Heart

1 When a great multitude came together, and people from every city were coming to him, he spoke by a parable. (Luke 8:4)

Matthew 13:3b–9, Mark 4:2b–9, Luke 8:5–8

9 Then his disciples asked him, “What does this parable mean?” (Luke 8:9)

13 He said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How will you understand all of the parables? (Mark 4:13)

Matthew 13:18–23, Mark 4:14–20, Luke 8:1115

26 He said, “God’s Kingdom is as if a man should cast seed on the earth, 27 and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, though he doesn’t know how. 28 For the earth bears fruit by itself: first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the fruit is ripe, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26–29)

Meditation Moment

Dear God,

Help me be subject to You while I resist the devil (James 4:7). Help me be anxious in nothing but thankfully bring my troubles to You (Philippians 4:6). Help me be free from the love of money and content with such things as You have given me (Hebrews 13:5). I come to You asking, seeking, and knocking, and I'm trusting you to provide (Matthew 7:8).


Meditation Music Link


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