Hearing God's Voice
<<listening to the Master>>
A fundamental key to living ‘successfully for God’ is to hear and do His will
our hearts and reducing of the competing ‘noise’ and business to hear His voice, which to be of value must be outworked by doing, a walking in it (1 Kgs 19:12; Isa 30:21; Jas 4:8).
God is Spirit and communicates directly with our spirits with a strong impression; many times the Holy Spirit quickens a Scripture or convicts us through our conscience, so it is essential to develop unhurried, consistent habits of Bible reading, meditating and prayer to clearly receive divine guidance and instruction. A rephrasing of the Psalmist’s words, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” is ‘Open my ears that I may grasp what you want me to know, reveal it to me’ (Ps 119:18). Faith comes from hearing the Word of God and allowing it to change us from within (Rom 10:17).
We also ‘hear’ from God through books, sermons and other media besides life’s everyday situations and interactions with other people. Dreams, visions and visitation by angels were other means by which God has conveyed messages (Gen 37:5-10; Mt 1:20,24, 2:13,19; Act 16:10; 2 Cor 12:1). Whatever the means, it is important to both hear the voice of God and obey (Ex 15:26, 19:5,6; Deut 28:1,2,15; Jer 7:22-24). Thus in major decisions we need the input and counsel of wise, mature and independent people. In the parable of the wise and foolish builders, both heard the same words, but only the wise builder put them into practice with a good outcome while the ‘hearer only’ ignored them and met with disaster, hence “You are blessed if you hear and do” (Mt 7:24-27; Jas 1:22-26). We are challenged, “If you hear His voice do not harden your hearts and miss His blessing as the Israelites did” (Heb 3:15-19). There are only two options available obey, co-operate and be blessed or ignore, reject, rebel and turn away resulting in His judgment.
Hearing God ‘speak’ is a catalyst to action. Am I ‘listening’ for His orders?
“What message does my Lord have for His servant” (Josh 5:14). Our response should be like that of Samuel when the Lord spoke to him, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:4,6,8,10). Pray that you too will have sensitive ears, receptive to God’s voice so you clearly receive His instructions and a willing heart to say, ‘I’m here and available’ followed by obedience to act (Ps 95:7; Isa 6:8; Jn 14:15,23; Rev 3:20).
The Bible records some times when a divine audible voice was heard – at Christ’s baptism and transfiguration, at Paul’s conversion and prior to Peter’s crossing social boundaries (Lk 3:22, 9:35; Act 9:4,6, 10:13,15). Throughout the ages some believers have also thought they physically heard God speak but this must be treated with caution as such experiences can be counterfeited.
To distinguish between God’s voice and the suggestions of Satan we need to know the character of the Father’s heart – He will never tell us to do anything that is prohibited in the Bible or contrary to its principles besides it will ultimately be best for us, and others even it does cause some short-term pain. Daniel built a close relationship with God by meditating on His word day and night and exhorted others to follow his example. He could say “I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures…” (Dan 9:2). He studied, memorized and applied them to his circumstances. However, a word of caution needs to be given to those who state emphatically, ‘God told me…’ It is better to say ‘I believe God told me…’ as we are all fallible human beings with our carnal minds and desires influencing what we perceive the Lord is saying and Satan wants to lead us astray. Thus be cautious of those who regularly say, ‘the Lord told me’. These people try to impress others with their inflated super-spiritual relationship with God, whereas in fact we all should have an intimate connection whereby we hear from Him by various means.
Pray for spiritually hearing ears and a response heart
much time in prayer and was continually in communion with His Father, whilst the Holy Spirit ‘rested’ upon on Him. Because He heard clearly is it any wonder He could say, “I always do and say what the Father wants” (Jn 8:29, 12:49).
Hearing the voice of God is not necessarily dependent on a person’s righteousness as Adam and Eve heard the voice of God after they sinned, and Cain heard it both before and after he killed his brother (Gen 3:9, 4:6-16). However, if you aren’t hearing from God, revisit the last instruction He gave you as He may require obedience on that point before He gives more guidance. God hears and responds when people cry out to Him in faith for He says, “Call upon me…I will listen to you…and I will answer you” (1 Sam 1:27; Jer 29:13, 33:3; Dan 10:12; Lk 1:13; Act 10:31; Heb 11:6).