Listening to the Lord Speak-Psalm 85:8 (Study Notes)


Summary: Having laid out his prayer reciting the past mercies of the Lord (vv. 1-3) and the present situation (vv. 4-7), the psalmist does what all followers of Christ need to do, he sits back and waits, listening for the voice of the Lord (v. 8). In this fast-paced, hectic world that we live in, stopping to listen to the Lord as He speaks to us in His Word through the Spirit is a difficult task. This lesson will seek to give practical ways in which we listen to the voice of the Lord from His Word, the Bible.


Stop and listen to the Lord (v. 8a; Ps 119:98-99)

  • Rom 12:2 – We need to be changed and renewed.
  • 1Kings 19:11-13 –We must stop and listen. The problem is not His speaking, but our listening. He will not normally force us to listen to him, but comes quietly and waits for us to listen.
  • “The reason we come away so cold from reading the Word is, because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation.”[i]

Remove distractions

  • Environmental—Elijah (1Kings 19:1-13); Jesus (Matt 4:1-2, 12; 14:13, 23)
  • Business/busyness—Martha (Luke 10:38-41); Unnamed men (Luke 9:57-62)
  • Amusements—Time wasters (Eph 5:15-16; Matt 16:26)

Prepare your heart

  • Thankfulness and praise (Ps 95:2; 100:4)
  • Dependence (Ps 119:18; Jn 14:26)

Read small portions of Scripture slowly and methodically.

  • Slower is better.
  • Ps 1:2-3—Drawing up water and producing fruit is a slow and steady process.
  • Meditate on those passages. Meditation is rumination on truth. Illust. Cows chewing; tea bags steeping.
  • “Our age has been sadly deficient in what may be termed spiritual greatness. At the root of this is the modern disease of shallowness. We are all too impatient to meditate on the faith we profess….It is not the busy skimming over religious books or the careless hastening through religious duties which makes for a strong Christian faith. Rather, it is unhurried meditation on gospel truths and the exposing of our minds to these truths that yields the fruit of sanctified character.”[ii]
  • Read seeking to understand God’s message as it was intended for the original audience. You cannot understand what it means for you, until you understand what it means for “them.”
  • Having understood what God’s Word means, apply the meaning to your life with a heart of humble obedience (Josh 1:8; Jam 1:22-25; Heb 4:12-13).
  • “Take every word as spoken to yourselves. When the word thunders against sin, think thus: “God means my sins;” when it presseth any duty, “God intends me in this.” Many put off Scripture from themselves, as if it only concerned those who lived in the time when it was written; but if you intend to profit by the word, bring it home to yourselves: a good medicine will do no good, unless it be applied.”[iii]

[i] Thomas Watson, “How We May Read the Scriptures with Most Spiritual Profit,” in Puritan Sermons (1674; reprint, Wheaton IL: Richard Owen Roberts, 1981), vol. 2, 62.

[ii] Maurice Roberts, “O the Depth!” The Banner of Truth, July 1990, 2.

[iii] Watson, 65.

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