Hearing the Voice of God – Part Thirty

Let’s end this lengthy series of blogs with the fact that God invites us to join Him on an amazing adventure in life.

God walked with Adam and Eve in he Garden of Eden, and He has been walking and talking to His people ever since.

The Christian life is frequently called a walk, and believers are exhorted to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15). In fact, Jesus called Himself “the Way,” (John 14:6) thereby underlining the journeying nature of our relationship with Him.

To walk before Him is to lead a life of devotion to Him. We all know what it is for two friends to walk together, engaged in close and intimate conversation. Having a devoted relationship with someone is an adventure which is full of surprises.

The Bible singles out one of two men in particular by saying, “Enoch walked with God” (Genesis 5:24). (The only other man in the entire Bible to hold this distinction is Noah). What did Enoch do that placed him in this exclusive God-recognized Hall of Fame?

We know little about Enoch, other than the fact the he lived for 365 years, bore Methuselah and was then translated from life to heaven, thus passing over death. Apparently God honoured him because he walked pleasingly before the Lord. He was an individual who realized he was always under the seeing eye of God. His life was a life of communion with God. 

Most parents talk with their children all of the time or, at least, on a regular basis. Why wouldn’t our heavenly Father desire to talk to His children? The truth of the matter is that we would not expect our children to know what we wanted them to do if we did not talk to them. So then, why would God feel any different?

We have to be willing to trust God and have faith in Him even when we do not understand His ways. Sometimes we do not know the meaning of what God says until we look back later in life.

The way God thinks is far beyond the way we think. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). Even if God’s thoughts surpass ours, and we do not always understand His ways, God wants us to get to know His ways! That’s why we should intentionally listen for His voice.

We learn to hear the voice of the Lord through practice and obedience. Sometimes we may feel discouraged trying to discern between the Lord’s voice, the enemy’s voice, others’ voices, and our own voices. Sometimes it may seem like we are listening to a radio station with a weak signal, while a few other stations continue to fade in and out; but, as we continue to listen to the voice of our Shepherd, we will learn the difference between the voices.

When I read in Acts that Paul and Silas were trying to go into Bithynia and were being prevented by the Spirit, it was life-changing for me. Without knowing the full scope of God’s plan, they obeyed the Spirit’s voice and went in another direction. It turned out that the Holy Spirit had greater plans for Paul and Silas that they did not recognize at the time.

Taking this biblical example, I was no longer afraid to take steps of faith. I knew I could trust the Lord to keep me from going places that were not in His perfect plan for me. I could trust Him to lead me with His divine direction and in faith step out into God’s plan.

Some of God’s people spend their lives in so much fear of making a mistake that they never really do anything. There are times when it is much better to do something, rather than continue to do nothing. Without faith it is impossible to please God. We cannot trust in our own abilities but we can trust in His ability because Christ lives in us.

Jesus honoured whatever His Father said, no matter what the personal cost, and it cost Him His life. We will not hear the Lord’s voice clearly if we only listen to God when what He says is not going to cost us anything, or if we only listen when He tells us what we want to hear.

We must be willing to lay aside our own desires or we may miss a clear word from the Lord. Our natural inclination tends to manipulate things to work the way we want them to work. 

We need to be open to messages that God may send through people who love us and are praying for us. God wants us to stay humble and always be ready to hear from Him whichever way He chooses to speak.

We can learn some valuable insights on hearing from God from George Mueller, a man of faith from 19th-century England. Here are some of his suggestions:

I seek at the beginning to get my heart in such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter … Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will whatever it may be. … Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions. I will seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God … If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them … Next, I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s will in connection with His Word and Spirit. I ask God through prayer to reveal His will to me aright … Thus, through prayer to God, the study of His Word, and reflection, I come to deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after to or three petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters and in transactions involving more important issues, I find this method effective.

But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction, of if I preferred the counsel of my fellow man to the declaration of the Word of the living God, I make great mistakes.

Even after many years of practicing God’s presence, Mr. Muller admitted that he still made mistakes in hearing from God. There is no fool-proof method to hearing. 

So, we should live expectantly, and expect to hear from God! The psalmist directed his prayers to God expecting an answer, “O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch” (Psalm 5;3). God wants us to make our first petitions to Him each day as we live in expectancy of an answer. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” When we seek God, He promises to answer — of that we can be sure.

Loren Cunningham, the founder of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), says that has has found three simple steps that have helped him and thousands of others to hear God’s voice:

SUBMIT to His Lordship. Ask Him to help you silence your own thoughts, desires, and the opinions of others which may be filling your mind (2 Corinthians 10:5). Even though you have been given a good mind to use, you want to hear the thoughts of the Lord who has the best mind (Proverbs 3:5-6).

RESIST the enemy in case he is trying to deceive you. Use the authority that Jesus Christ has given you to silence the voice of the enemy (James 4:7; Ephesians 6:1-20).

EXPECT an answer. After asking the question that is on your mind, wait for Him to answer. Expect your loving heavenly Father to speak to you, and He will (John 10:27; Psalm 69:13; Exodus 33:11). 

Hearing from God is a journey. After many years of listening for His voice, I still sometimes make mistakes in hearing clearly. But I am still learning, and you will too! Just as a young baby quickly learns to know his daddy’s voice, you will learn to hear God’s voice as you love Him and obey Him. 

My prayer for you is that you will experience the Lord and hear His voice in a whole new dimension as you continue your life-long walk with Jesus. Let’s together fulfill the Lord’s purpose for our lives as we look forward to His return. May the Lord bless you richly as you listen to the Lord speak to you and experience the joy of obeying His voice.