Luke 5:1-11 How to hear God’s voice with clarity and conviction?
1 Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; 2 and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. 4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9 For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” 11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
Jesus went into Simon’s boat and lifted him out of poverty and into eternal glory. What Jesus had done for Simon, He desires to do for you as well. In today’s devotion, we see the attributes present in Simon that enabled him to hear the words of Jesus and obey them. Jesus broke the curse of poverty over Simon and ordained him for a glorious ministry.
And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land.
As was the custom of Jesus, He went among the people teaching them the ways of the kingdom. Jesus saw two boats idling and some fishermen washing their nets. Their demeanor projected untold dejection and poverty among the people. He got into one of the boats and continued teaching from there. Perhaps, Jesus had intended to demonstrate the power of His words, when obeyed could break the bondage of poverty and free men to prosper and fulfill their calling.
When Jesus had finished teaching, He asked Simon to once more put out into the deep water for a catch. Jesus’ instructions were counter intuitive to these experienced fishermen who had laboured in vain through the night. Nevertheless, Simon answered, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.”
When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break.
Simon’s experience and expertise in fishery did not stop him from following Jesus’ instructions and he was handsomely rewarded. The size of the catch was unprecedented, it filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. It did not take long for Simon to realise who Jesus was as he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” Simon’s response revealed his honesty concerning his moral and spiritual condition and he felt unworthy of Jesus’ kindness and personal attention.
Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.
What followed indicated Jesus’ ultimate intention; to cause them to move beyond the call of catching fish towards the call of catching men. Did Simon and his partners truly understand the magnitude of the call? What Simon heard in essence was not earthly, but a heavenly edict to save the world that was sliding into everlasting condemnation. In responding to the call of Jesus, Simon and his friends became a blessing, a glimmer of hope in this dying world.
Fish is meant to be caught, and wealth is meant to be earned.
Like Simon, many people worked doubly hard but were being held captive by the curses of poverty and barely getting by. God in his original design has made the world for humanity, if not for Adam’s disobedience, all kinds of curses (poverty, sicknesses and hatred) came upon his descendants. Jesus came to take the curses and punishment upon Himself so that humanity may be reconciled with God. 1 Peter 3:18 says,
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.
Therefore, those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and King will receive for themselves the adoption as sons of God. Jesus was cursed so that man may be freed from curses to live abundantly. Jesus entered into Simon’s boat and broke the curses that kept the fish away. The covenant with Jesus breaks the curses of poverty, sickness and bondage of sin and never again would they be plagued by fruitless toil and hardship.
Proper execution of Jesus’ words brings bountiful blessings.
Many churchgoers who having immersed themselves into the Christian culture have never had a personal encounter with God or heard His voice. They suppose by being baptised in water and attending worship services would entitle them to the blessings of God. Even though many of them had a legitimate covenant with Christ, did not enjoy the abundant life as promised in the bible. This is attributed to the fact that their minds are fleshly, and in the things of the spirit, like a fish out of water. Hence, they could not hear the spiritual truth that is able to bless them.
Simon heard Jesus and obeyed His instruction to relaunch the boat and let down the nets. As a result, Simon was bountifully rewarded by two boats full of fish. Therefore, proper execution of God’s instructions is the key to abundant living. Until and unless we hear God’s voice and execute His instructions, we cannot experience the manifold blessings that God has promised.
Covenant with Jesus + Obedience to Jesus’ words = Bountiful blessings
Honesty, a good heart and steadfastness are keys to receiving divine guidance.
Having established the importance of hearing God’s words and obeying Him, it remains that many are still unable to receive divine guidance with clarity. Hence, they continue to make decisions apart from God. Some churchgoers is raised up in an environment where God’s Word is preached but His presence and intimate involvement is not emphasized. Hence, people (who come from such traditions) become very skeptical to the idea of personal divine guidance.
Jesus came into Simon’s boat and commanded him to launch out once more into the deep. Simon, being moved in his spirit attributed Jesus’ words as divine guidance. Jesus did it for Simon, He will do it for you today; He will speak to all who are willing to hear and direct them towards the path of abundance.
Is hearing God’s voice a matter of technique? But rather, it is a matter of the heart. Drawing from Jesus’ teachings in Luke 8. Jesus showcased four different kinds of soil that play host to the seed which is the Word. The fourth kind of soil, one that is most conducive to the life of the seed is the good soil. Jesus taught,
But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. Luke 8:15
Jesus described the seed in the good soil as having three characteristics: honest and good heart and hold it fast. Honest means humble and being transparent with one’s weaknesses. Simon upon witnessing the miracle spontaneously exclaimed, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” Simon was very aware of his darkness and did not attempt to cover up his sinful past. His demeanor also revealed his fear of God as he came face to face with Jesus.
Good heart means possessing an affinity towards truth and righteousness. In other words, a person with a good heart delights in the truth, and he endeavors to do what is right. However, most people depending on the circumstances attribute differing weight to different truths or commandments. However, the truth is one as God is one: the Word was God (John 1:1). Simon’s immediate response towards Jesus’ call to bring righteousness and salvation to humanity revealed the goodness of Simon’s heart. The moment we blur the lines between good and evil, we lose clarity of God.
Hold it fast means steadfast conviction regardless of circumstances. One who vacillates between two minds cannot hear God’s voice. But one who is steadfast concerning God’s commands will hear Him with a thunderous conviction. Simon and his friends displayed steadfastness for when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
Do not let temporal blessings hold you from things of eternal significance.
Even as God is calling you to come out of poverty, He is in the same breath calling you to become the voice of salvation to the world. Fish is not the inheritance that God had in mind for Simon, but heavenly riches and glory. If Jesus did not call Simon to catch men, He would have done Simon a grave injustice by leaving him to pursue the things that do not last. Many churchgoers are mesmerized by earthly blessings, being choked by the cares of life and the riches of this world. What was meant to be a blessing, became a curse to them as they fall prey to the love of money.
- Are you accustomed to obeying the truth selectively? Do you attribute greater weight to certain truths while compromising on the others? The truth is one as God is one. Make a decision today to be uncompromising regardless of circumstances. In doing so, you will hear God’s voice in clarity and conviction.
- Do you let earthly wealth and the cares of life choke your desire and passion towards God’s kingdom? The cares of life and desire for riches run counter to the truth of God. Renew your commitment towards God by seeking His instructions on a daily basis.
Dear Lord, I thank you for coming into my boat. I desire to hear your voice and obey your truth. I recognize my weaknesses. Create in me a clean and good heart. Disciple me and make me a disciple maker to others. Speak to me and imbue my heart with steadfastness and faith. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.