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Hearing God’s Voice
One of the greatest hungers in the heart of mankind is to hear the voice of God. There is in every person a desire to commune with God, we are created that way. In these last days the Bible tells us that there will be many voices deceiving even the most faithful.Jesus tells us in John 10:27,28 that if we are His sheep we will hear His voice. That means God wants to speak to us. God enjoys communicating with His children as we see in Revelation 3:20 “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me.”
– Our responsibility is to be in a position to hear His voice.
This is simply a position of submission. There is no quicker way to harden the arteries of your spiritual heart than to walk in rebellion. The writer in Hebrews says in chapter 3:7,8; “Today, if you will hear my voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion…” Much like a radio receiver we must tune in to the signal of the Holy Spirit. Like the radio wave is constant and does not change, so God is constant and does not change.Hearing the voice of God is a highlight and delight to the believer. It can save you thousands of dollars; it can give divine guidance, protect you or encourage you to go on. I was travelling to India several years ago and was not familiar with how other countries handled foreign currency. As I departed the hotel in Chennai on my way to Visakhapatnam, the Lord spoke so clear to buy some Indian Rupees before going on. I paused to question God since I was sure that all was arranged at the other end and I would have no need for the Indian currency. Besides, I naively felt sure they would take American dollars. I arrived at the military airport only to find that the party had mistaken my arrival time and had come looking for me the day earlier, they had assumed I cancelled. Finally after several hours of waiting I went to make a phone call. Without the Indian Rupees in my pocket that day I would have been stranded. The Lord knew this, and He, like a good shepherd, wanted to lead me. He really cares and would like to communicate to us.
Hearing the voice of God is a highlight and delight to the believer.
– What does God’s voice sound like?
A story is told of a young boy whose parents had gone out to the nearby market to pick up groceries. During that time the apartment went up in flames. Standing on the balcony of his fourth floor apartment with the flames dangerously close, the boy cried for help. Stationed below, the firemen tried everything in their power to persuade the young boy to jump into the safety tarp below. He would not respond even when calling him by his name or promising him safety. Suddenly out of the crowd a man yelled out the boy’s name and told him to jump. Without question the boy jumped to safety, narrowly escaping death. The firemen were stunned and asked the man, “Why did he jump for you and not for us?” The father replied: “Because I am his dad and he knows my voice.”
– God’s voice is still and quiet.
In 1 King 9:12 Elijah is running from Queen Jezebel, after one of the greatest victories in his life. Here he had just finished acting as the agent between the prophets of Baal and his God, Jehovah. It was undoubtedly a highlight in his life as God moved mightily bringing fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice. Often after our mountain top experiences with God we are the most vulnerable. The anointing that he was flowing in on the mountain had lifted and the queen now had him on her most wanted list for killing her prophets. In fear he runs, wanting nothing more than to hear from his almighty God that had anointed him on Mount Carmel.
Now in the cave God clearly shows him that He would hear His voice as a still quiet voice. Elijah like so many of us was wanting some loud outside manifestation to show him that God was with him. But if he wanted to know his God, he would have to calm down and be still. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 46:10 to “be still and know you are God.” The trouble with many of us is we are running a hundred miles an hour trying to get everything the world says we need and to make sure we get everything crossed off our to-do list. But in doing so, we are not still long enough to hear our Father’s voice. Our prayer lives consist of a few thank you, a long list of requests, and then we are out the door to our next appointment. But to hear God’s voice we must take time to be still.
Often after our mountain top experiences with God we are the most vulnerable.
– God is not long-winded.
When God speaks to us He is not long winded, that is He does not ramble on. Rather God gives simple concise directions. He told Jonah (Jonah 1:2) simply to go preach in Nineveh. He did not tell him how to get there, the text of his speech, where to hold the meetings, how to finance the evangelistic campaign, but rather to just go. What stops us many times from going is that we are waiting for all the instructions, for every detail to come before we act. This would not be faith. God purposely gives you instructions as you go.
While Jonah is in the belly of the whale, he cries out to God. It is amazing that God speaks to the fish before speaking to Jonah (2:10). Then God speaks to Jonah, however it is the same brief instruction. God does not give you further instruction until you have accomplished the last thing He asked you to do. Further more the Lord cannot bless you past your last act of disobedience to Him. With the change in Jonah’s heart he is now in a position to hear God speak again. The instruction is the same and to the point. Most people that say they carry long conversations with the Lord every day, don’t. When the Lord spoke to Joseph to take the Christ child to Egypt, to Philip to go Samaria, to Paul not to go to certain areas of Asia to preach, when He spoke to Ananias to go minister to Saul, etc. we see it was always to the point. When God speaks to you, you can expect Him not to be long-winded but rather direct. God does not have to take several tries to make Himself clear, He is the master of communication and He knows His sheep and how to speak to them so they don’t miss the point.
God does not give you further instruction until you have accomplished the last thing He asked you to do.
– God sounds like the Bible.
My uncle at one time was a piano tuner. Even though he has an excellent ear for music he still carried a tuning fork to ensure that what he heard come from the piano was in tune. By comparing what he heard to the pitch of the tuning fork he could tell if the note was on or off. The Bible is like that tuning fork. We hear different voices, but even though we may have been saved for years we still must always compare what we hear to the tuning fork of the Bible to ensure we are not heeding the voice of the stranger. If we will study and meditate on the word of God we will know it is the Father’s voice, for the same Holy Spirit that inspired the Bible is the same Holy Spirit that lives with in us.Like the two disciples travelling on the road to Emmaus the Lord will reveal Himself through the scriptures. (Luke 24:27) Jesus tells us that if we search the scriptures we will find they testify or support what He says to be true. (John 5:39)
We hear different voices, but even though we may have been saved for years we still must always compare what we hear to the tuning fork of the Bible to ensure we are not heeding the voice of the stranger.
– God is the voice of the Spirit, not the five senses.
In order to hear God’s voice you must understand that He is a Spirit and those that worship Him (which would include have fellowship with Him) must do so in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We live in a world that is governed by the five senses, a world governed by reasoning. But God does not commune with man on this level. The Holy Spirit communes with our spirit. This is why so many people cannot hear the voice of God, they are so sense and reason driven they have no idea where to listen for the voice of God. They can have the Bible all figured out with their head and yet not even know the author. It is one thing to know the word of God, it is another to know the God of the word.Hearing God takes time! We, in our microwave generation, would much rather have some five-step program or three key solution, which we can apply while we drive down the freeway, or while we put on our makeup, and do our hair. But to actually get quiet, be still and wait on the Lord takes time. God wants to speak to us, He delights to see us slow down and listen to Him in our spirit. Romans 8:16 tells us: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit.” Just as a natural father is please to have a child that stops what he or she is doing to listen to their him, so is our heavenly Father pleased when we listen for His voice. Any confirming sign or even prophetic word you would get, must always confirm what the Holy Spirit has said to your spirit and line up with the word of God. If it does not line up or confirm with you spirit, ignore it.
– God’s voice is peaceful.
The voice of God always sounds peaceful. There are issues that come up in our everyday life that we ask the Lord for His leading on, that will, by principle, be in the Bible but not explicitly. For example if someone wants to buy a car he may ask the Lord; “Should I buy at the Mazda dealer of the Ford dealer.” The Bible is not going to have a verse that says; “Thou shalt buy thy car from the Ford dealer.” Is God interested in this small detail? Of course He is. The Bible will give you guiding principles on how to make a fair deal and show you that the Lord will provide for you. But as to which dealer, you must stop and let that peaceful voice lead you. Isaiah 55:12 tells us we are led forth by peace. If you are ever in a situation where you feel this driving pressure to make a decision, it’s not God. Every time God leads you, it will be peaceful. Notice He leads, not pushes. Whenever you feel pushed into something, take two steps back and wait on God. God is not in a turmoil, He is never anxious or in panic. Therefore you will never find Him speaking to you that way. His voice may be stern at times but it will always have a note of peace.Nor is God double minded. He does not speak something to you one day and next week changes His mind. People come to church and emphatically state: “The Lord told me to come to this church.” Two weeks later when they have their toes stepped on, or someone in the church offends them, they hear God tell them to go somewhere else. Who are they hearing? God is not the author of confusion. James 1:8 tells us, a double minded man is unstable in all his ways, and as you would expect, these unstable people are tossed to and from by every wind of doctrine. God is always stable, He changes not. Like Jonah, if He has spoken to you, you’ll find the message will not change until you have carried out your part. God is not in a turmoil, He is never anxious or in panic. Therefore you will never find Him speaking to you that way. His voice may be stern at times but it will always have a note of peace.
– God’s voice is personal.
The voice of the Father will sound very personal, for He is your heavenly Father. He will call you by name and relate to you on your level in conjunction with your interests. To a French man He speaks in French, to a fisherman He relates to him about fish, to a farmer He relates to him about farming, to computer whiz He relates to Him about computers. It does not have to be King James English! Jeremiah 29:11 makes it clear that you are very much in His thoughts and He is personally interested in your future.In John 10:27 Jesus said “My sheep hear My voice.” God call us personally and He also leads us that way. This is the headwater of our salvation, to have a personal relationship with our God where we can clearly hear His voice and have a time of intimate fellowship with Him. He stands at the door and knocks, let us keep our hearts pure and the door open to dine with Him.