HEARING GOD SPEAK
compiled by Michael Jeshurun
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me!” [John 10:27]
To have a functional fellowship with a living God we must develop the habit of stillness. We can’t hear God speak when there is a din of noise inside us. He doesn’t speak to our flesh and our emotions. We must learn to be still and know He is God. Jesus said, enter into your closet and shut the door. There is a closet inside of you where you can shut the door while life goes on around you. And so often, when you shut that door, you get direction about how to proceed in the midst of what’s going on. You must practice being present to God. It is very little comfort to know that God is present everywhere if you are not present to Him where you are. That’s stillness. We are to wait on Him, worship Him, recognize it is Him we want, not His blessings. It is Him we want, not the experience of Him speaking.
How do we discern the difference between our own thoughts and His Voice? When we are quiet there are many thoughts that come; but our task is to hear Him in the midst of those thoughts. It’s like tuning in a radio to a particular frequency, you have to ignore the whole mass of static and strange voices coming in, and zero in on the one you are searching for. He’s speaking, we’re just not always listening. At work, you puzzle over a problem and then He comes and you know the answer to it. You only know it because He told you. He gives you wisdom beyond your own. There are times when you are wallowing in depression, there seems no way out, but He’s there. Just as He was with Paul. And He speaks a word and suddenly a peace that passes all understanding comes over you. Nothing in your circumstances has changed, but you now have His perspective on them, you are learning like Paul to be content in whatsoever state you are in.
If God is going to be heard clearly, we must live in a habitation of mediation upon His word. We must immerse ourselves in the Scriptures, basing our thinking upon His Word, filling ourselves with it; letting His Living Water wash our minds clean of the world’s distortions of reality. Then, when through His Word He speaks to us, we are in the right state of mind to receive what He says.
“For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart!” [Heb 4:12]
Those words describe Jesus dealings with us as the Word of God. The first test of whether I’ve really heard God speak to me is to check what was said against the written Word. The first two screening questions must be: does this add to the written Word of God? Does this contradict what He has already said? If it disagrees with the Scriptures, it is not of Him.
Paul wrote some harsh words to the Galatians. Galatians 1:8-9 Even if we or an angel from heaven should speak to you a gospel that is contrary to that which we have preached, let him be accursed. In verse 9 he repeats the same thing. Twice over in two verses. When angels come to visit, we aren’t to drop the Bible and receive them without question. Rather, we should say, “sit down, angel, let me check what you say with the scripture.” Gods Word is the last word.
If what were hearing doesnt line up with the Word of God, its not His Word. There’s more out there than the Holy Spirit; we dare not walk in this world except in the Spirit. Without His protection we can get really weird; we can commit gross sin. Every confused and amateur Christian is in that condition due to ignorance or disregard of Gods written Word. Listening to God never means seeking extra-Biblical revelations. If what we hear really is God speaking in our hearts, it will be encompassed in a principle already written in the Word of God. He will be showing us a Biblical principle to apply to our lives today. Jesus was saturated in the Scripture; he quoted it continually. In this, as in all things, He is our model.
“Let the peace of God rule in your heart.” [Col 3:15]
Finally, there is the confirmation of His Peace. Whenever God speaks, even if what He is saying to us is corrective, there will always be His peace with it. The peace of God acts as an umpire in your heart. This is how we know what we are hearing is from Him; there is a peace that accompanies it. Maybe there comes a time when an opportunity opens for you, but you don’t feel right about taking it. Just stop. Your peace is disturbed. Wait for His peace to tell you it is OK to go ahead; if you don’t receive it; don’t go. In walking with Him, in making decisions, keep consulting His umpiring peace.
May the Peace of God umpire your heart and mind as you continue to learn how to listen to Him. God bless you with a full knowledge of who you are in Christ.” [ A.G. Veal]
Though the Lord does manifest Himself and speak to His people today in many ways, the first and foremost is always the WORD OF GOD!
There is the printed Word of God and the audible Word when one reads it . . . but then there is the VOICE of His Word which we need to tune in to. It is a ‘still small voice’!
“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord ; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a STILL SMALL VOICE.” (1Kings 19:11,12)
Keep your spiritual ears open for that ‘still small voice’ my dear daughter. Even the angels do His bidding, not just by hearing His Word, but by hearing the ‘voice of His Word’! “Bless the Lord , ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the VOICE OF HIS WORD.” (Psalm 103:20)
Read Psalm 119 and notice the importance and priority David places on God’s Word. He uses many synonyms like ‘Thy testimonies’, ‘Thy law’, ‘Thy precepts’, ‘Thy comforts’, ‘Thy statutes’, ‘Thy judgments’, ‘Thy commandments’ etc . . . But they all mean one and the same thing – The Word of God!
The more acquainted you are with the Word, the more closer you will be to Jesus, for the Lord Jesus is that Word made flesh who dwelt among us. It is the SPIRIT that quikeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing! The Words that He spoke unto us THEY are Spirit and they are LIFE! (John 6:63) So spend time in the Word and always ask – “Dear Lord, WHAT will Thou have me to do in this situation?” And trust me, God is ever faithful to guide the soul that seeks Him! As it is written – “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In ALL thy ways acknowledge HIM, and HE shall direct thy paths.” [Prov 3:5,6]
Most of the time our fallen nature gets in the way and we think WE know what to do! This is a grave mistake. When we are involved in a spiritual war like we are, even the most logical thing to do might not be the ‘will of the Lord for us!’ So we must imitate Jehoshaphat and say – “O our God . . . we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; NEITHER KNOW WE WHAT TO DO: but OUR EYES ARE UPON THEE!” [2Chron 20:12]
Amen – M.J.