More than 100 years ago, there was an interesting story of a man who inherited his deceased brother’s dog, along with a cylinder phonograph, an early form of recording device that allowed people to play back things they had previously recorded. The Englishman, Francis Barraud, inherited Nipper, his brother Mark’s dog, after Mark unexpectedly passed away. Francis noticed how the dog responded to hearing his deceased master’s voice whenever a recording was played. In fact, the dog would sit in front of the large horn on the front of the phonograph and cock his head to the side, obviously aware of Mark’s recorded voice coming through the machine.
This act of undivided attention touched Francis and he felt inspired to paint a picture of Nipper in front of the horn at the front of the machine, listening to the sound of his master’s voice. At the end of 1899, the painting had become somewhat well-known and it was purchased the the newly formed Gramophone Company that quickly registered a simplified variation of the painting as their logo on July 10, 1900, 116 years ago today. Shortly thereafter, the logo ended up purchased by the Victor Talking Machine Company, and eventually ended up being the logo of the RCA Victor Company. This is the famous logo that most of us have seen on items manufactured by RCA for many years.
It would take volumes to record all the sales and changes of the logo throughout the years. In fact, different companies owned pieces of the logo and it was not really able to be used globally as there were so many limitations geographically on where and how it could be used. Eventually, RCA ran into trouble and use of the famous logo was greatly diminished.
But enough about the logo – the fact that Nipper impacted Francis Barraud enough to paint the scene is the important part of this post tonight. The fact that a dog could recognize his master’s voice should be a wake up call to those of us who have difficulty recognizing the will of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. While we may not hear the actual voice of the Savior of the world, God has sent the Holy Spirit to indwell those of us who believe in Him.
The parts of the Trinity are markedly different. God the Father is a spirit – for all intents and purposes residing in heaven. By contrast, Jesus, God the Son, takes on human form and comes to earth as a model of behavior for us to try and emulate. Likewise, He lives among us and for the first time, the people see God manifest in a way that actually has God living among us, in the flesh. Then, after the resurrection and before the ascension, Jesus tells us that He is going to the Father but that the Father is sending another to be with us.
The apostles are told to wait for this new arrival and within several months, at the event we refer to as Pentecost, the Holy Spirit makes a grand entrance and thousands of people come to believe in Jesus with several weeks. The acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior results in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within each of us. And with this newfound eternal life, we should come to know the differences between right and wrong – as well as the desire to fulfill the great commission to spread the good news of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
But it all starts with a belief in Jesus and the resulting response we have to Him. Then, we are far better able to discern the “voice” of God and what His expectation is for each of us. Just like Nipper, when we hear the voice of God, or even have a inkling from Him, we also should pay special attention and stay focused on the what the ultimate Master is wanting us to hear.
The verse for this evening comes from the book of Revelation, when John actually heard the voice of God Himself. John tells us, in Revelation 21:3, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”
My encouragement for this evening is that God is always trying to communicate with his people and is hopeful that we are listening for Him. My prayer is that you will listen hard enough that you will, in fact, hear the voice of God and that you will follow His direction for your life. After all, He deserves our undivided attention. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…