Response rates are usually associated with surveys. If I gave out 500 questionnaires and 100 came back, the response rate would be 20%. God isn’t in to surveys, but He does send out His Word. Interesting that the Bible says His response rate is 100% . . .
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10–11)
When a survey is given out, ‘no response’ could be considered a ‘rate’ of sorts. That is, we could say 80% ignored the survey, or 40% ignored it, or 40% didn’t have any answers. But with God’s Word, it is sent with a specific purpose and succeeds in that purpose. That means a 100% response rate.
In today’s devotional reading, Chambers discusses response rates when God speaks. He says many of us are “like men in a fog” and give no answer. However, according to Isaiah 55, no answer is a response. If God speaks and I do not answer, God could be testing me. He can do that to reveal whether I love Him or not, or to show me my sinfulness . . .
“Don’t listen to a false prophet or a dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:3)
“. . . with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts.” (Ecclesiastes 3:18)
Not every response is a non-response. God sent a message to Moses using a burning bush that was not consumed. Moses was intrigued and stopped for a closer look . . .
When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Exodus 3:4)
Like Chambers says, Moses’ reply revealed that he was ‘somewhere’ and he knew where he was. That is, he was not ignorant of his own place or condition, nor was he telling God where he wanted to be. He was a man ready to hear God and do His work. When God speaks, I should be like Moses. I don’t anticipate some sensational opportunity, but want to be ready to obey whatever God says, whether the task is obscure or otherwise.
I cannot do that unless my heart is right with God and ready to do whatever He says whenever He says it. It isn’t about choice or decisions, but alertness and unity with Him. This may sound restrictive but is not. Instead, it is an exciting way to live.
Chambers says that a ready person never needs to ‘get ready.’ When God calls me, I could waste time preparing instead of obeying. It seems I’m more ready for God’s sudden surprise visits than I used to be, probably because I’m more aware of the presence of God.
For Moses, the burning bush was a symbol ablaze with God’s presence. The more I realize He is right here with me, the more I burn with passion, alert to His voice and listening to His instructions for what comes next.