A few years ago, Verizon Wireless mounted one of the most memorable cell-phone marketing campaigns of recent memory. Our televisions were littered with the “Test Man,” walking through random situations with his trusty cell phone to his ear, every so often speaking to the unknown listener on the other end. “Can you hear me now?” he would ask, and then move on. At the end of the commercial, the voice over guy came on and said, “Verizon Wireless – covering the most people in the most places.”
For the most part, I must agree with the “test guy.” As long as I drive fast enough through Madras, I rarely lose contact with the folks on the other end of the phone. I’ve been able to talk from Mexico, send emails from Jamaica, text message in Alberta, and even update Facebook on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean thanks to “the network.” If I asked the question, “Can you hear me now?” an overwhelming majority of the time, the answer would have to be “Loud and clear.”
We certainly live in interesting days. It wasn’t too long ago that making a phone call while away from home required some lose change and a payphone at a gas station. Now, technology is making it possible for people in distant lands to sit in front of their computer and have a video chat with us for free. We literally have the means to hear from anybody anytime anyplace (except for Madras). Can you hear me now?
Though Verizon has recently decided to do away with the “Can you hear me now?” campaign, someone is still asking that question. Over the beeps of our text messages, the catchiness of our ringtones, and the buzz of our vibrating cell phones, there is someone who speaks without the aid of technology. His voice is usually no louder than a whisper, but if needed, it can be as loud as the thunder. If God were to ask today, “Can you hear me now?” what would your answer be?
In 1 Samuel 23, God speaks to David in a clear and precise manner. David did not have the luxury of the fully revealed Scriptures to guide him. What he did have was the ephod, which was the endorsed means of divine communication. David turned to the ephod to speak to God and listen to God’s reply. David could hear from God because he knew the place to go listen.
God has not changed since David’s time, but his means of communication have. With the completion of Scripture, God has given to us the accepted means of hearing the divine will. That is not to say that God does not speak through other means – prophecy, dreams & visions, even an audible voice – but all of those means must align with the revealed Word of God.
Our problem is not so much that we do not know where to find the voice of God, but that we are often unwilling to take the time necessary to listen to it. We are easily distracted by the trappings of modern life. Just when we might be close to hearing the Lord, someone beeps in. The truth is that God has sent us a text message. It wouldn’t fit into 160 characters, however – more like 3.5 million. If we want to hear the Lord’s voice, we might need to take a minute to put down our text messages and pick up God’s. We might open it and find that God has been quietly asking for a long time, “Can you hear Me now?” Perhaps we can answer Him, “Loud and clear!”