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Keys to the Kingdom: Hearing and Obeying

To see God's power released in the Church of our nation, we need to be radically committed to obey whatever God says, even when it's hard and we don't understand.

I believe one of the major keys of the blessing for our journey in Canada over the last 11 years lies in a simple but powerful covenant made by the founding leadership team of Watchmen for the Nations: never to initiate for God, but to wait upon Him until He speaks. And when He speaks to be obedient no matter what the cost.

Hearing God speak

Hearing God is far deeper than just knowing His will through His Word. It's about the rhema, the Word of God spoken now, that carries within it a power to activate the spiritual and natural realms.

"By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth … For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm" (Psalm 33:6;9).

God establishes His will on earth by speaking it; that's why it is impossible for us to truly establish His kingdom on this earth without first hearing His voice.

Logos and rhema

Logos and rhema are Greek words for the "Word of God." Logos is God's written Word, preserved in the Scriptures. Rhema is the word spoken to you by God in the here and now. It may be a Scripture, a prophetic word or that still small voice in your spirit, but when you hear it your faith is activated to lay hold of God's purposes (see Romans 10:17).

It was a rhema word "come" in Matthew 14 that caused Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water as if it was a solid ground. It was a rhema word to Joshua to march around Jericho and shout that brought the walls down. And rhema was what Jesus was talking about when He said: "Man cannot live by bread along but by every word (rhema) that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

One major area of misunderstanding in the church today is when we try to take rhema words God has given someone else and act on them as logos instruction for us today. We know that all Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, correcting, rebuking and training in righteousness (see 2 Timothy 3:16). But that doesn't mean that I can take the rhema word God gave Peter and start walking out on the Pacific Ocean!

Yet this is what often happens in the church. We turn what was rhema for someone into programs or formulas. We hear someone got a breakthrough when God told them to do something, and we try to repeat it to see if it will work for us. We see a church is successful through cell groups, so every church starts cell groups. And then we wonder why we lack power and we don't see results. It's because we have robbed ourselves and God by not activating the supernatural law of waiting on God for Him to speak and obeying what He says.

Absolute obedience

To obey is better than sacrifice (see I Samuel 15:22).

God is sovereign and He has the power to do whatever He wants. Yet He has chosen to partner with us, His church, to see His will established on earth. He could have sent a company of angels, but instead He chose to rely on imperfect human beings who struggle, who question Him, who disobey Him. Why?

"His intent was that now, through the Church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:10-12).

God's eternal purpose is redemption: Jesus' sacrifice is the ultimate demonstration of the power of God's love. And we display the power of that redemption every time that we, as human beings with free will, choose to submit ourselves to hear God and obey Him, whether we understand or not.

The ability to reason, to understand, is what separates us from the rest of creation; what makes us uniquely human. So when we choose not to limit our obedience to God to our own understanding, we exalt and enthrone God by demonstrating to the spiritual realm that we hold His word is the highest authority: "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9).

And this is how we walk in the fullness of our inheritance as the true children of God. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). You can be a son without walking in the privileges or authority of sonship. That authority comes when we walk as Jesus did: speaking only what He heard the Father speaking and doing only what He saw the Father doing.

Why we are tested

So hearing God is crucial to our Christian walk because every decision we make has spiritual consequences. There is a constant battle waging in the heavenlies between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. And that's in part why the Lord allows us to go through tests. God is omniscient (all knowing) and He knows what we will choose. But there is a power of obedience that opens the door for the kingdom of heaven to be established on earth. This is why God tested Abraham; because He knew that Abraham's obedience would allow Him to take the right, before all the principalities and powers, to bless not only Abraham but all nations of the earth through Him.

We as human beings are given the choice which kingdom we will establish.

In the story of Job, the enemy accused God that Job's obedience was based only on God's great blessing on his life. So God allowed the enemy to test Job, to strip Him of everything. And when, in the midst of the confusion, the pain, the suffering, the bad advice of his wife to curse God and die, Job chose instead to declare "though He slay me, yet will I serve Him," it was an amazing display to the spiritual darkness of the power of God's love.

We as human beings are given the choice which kingdom we will establish. So when the Lord removes His grace from your life for a season and allows you to go through the hard tests, it is an opportunity to display the power of redemption! It's a chance for you to give God the pleasure of saying to the principalities and powers: Look at My power to redeem, look at how in their weakness I am strong. And that's why when we don't hear or don't obey, we rob the Lord of this pleasure and in fact, bring a mockery to His name, exalting our own thoughts above His.

Our journey

We have seen the power of hearing God and obeying Him in the miraculous journey we have walked the last 11 years in Canada. And that is why for the Consumed Gathering this summer we are asking every person coming to ask God if they are to attend. We know it's our collective obedience (whether we attend or not) that is crucial to releasing the power of God in another dimension in the Church of our nation.

If the cry in our hearts truly echoes the cry of Jesus: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," we need to become a desperate people who walk knowing we cannot live without hearing His voice. We need to be radically committed to obey whatever He says, even when it's hard and we don't understand. When we do this, as a church, then we will truly begin to see Him as He is: the glorious and awesome God who is well able to turn back His enemies with one breath of His mouth.

Consumed Gathering will take place August 24-26, 2006 in Edmonton.

David Demian is the director for Watchmen for the Nations. He can be reached at

Originally published on the website From My Heart, June 6, 2006.




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