Staff Corner – Greg Spires - Teaching Pastor
If you watch a weather forecast on the local news, you might notice a reference to the Doppler Radar used to determine the types of precipitation in the area. Doppler Radar relies on the Doppler effect to be able to gather data about the weather.
Christian Doppler first described the Doppler effect in 1842. What Doppler noticed was that sound changed when sound was coming from a moving object. You have probably noticed this too when standing near a roadway. If you hear a car approaching, the sound will be faint and the pitch low when you first notice it. However, as the car gets closer, the sound gets louder, and the pitch raises. The sound the car is making on the road never changes. But we hear the sound differently as the car approaches because of the Doppler effect.
We know intuitively what the Doppler effect tells us: the further you are from something, the harder it is to hear it.
The Doppler effect illustrates something true about knowing God as well. In 1 Samuel 28, King Saul found himself faced with an enormous enemy army. The Philistines gathered to fight a war with Israel, and when King Saul saw their forces, the Bible tells us “…he was afraid and trembled greatly.”
Saul did what any of us might do in that situation: seek God’s help. 1 Samuel 28:6 says, “And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets.” When Saul prayed to God, he wanted a specific answer as to what he should do. He expected this because of his role as King of Israel. It was customary for God to give guidance through dreams, prophets, or the Urim to the leaders of His people, Israel. In the case of the Urim, the High Priest would be told by God what to say to the King. But, as we read in the verse above, Saul did not hear from God.
The Doppler effect.
Saul had spent his entire time as King running away from God and His ways. Saul was only interested in the Lord when the King perceived that God would provide some immediate benefit to him. But if King Saul saw no direct use to seeking the Lord, he didn’t. His reign as King was defined by disobedience, rebellion, and running from God.
And, as we see in the Doppler effect, Saul had run so far from God he could no longer hear his voice.
All illustrations, when pressed too far, break down at a certain point. We need to remember that in Christ, God is always near! Hebrews 13:5-6 reminds us that God “‘…will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”
However, how often is it that when our experience is one where it feels as though God is distant, we have entertained sinful habits, neglected the Word of God, and prayer has been sparse? God isn’t distant; He is always near. However, the world around us is always at full volume. To hear from God, we must tune our ear to Him and seek out His voice.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in 1 Samuel 28.
Praying with you,