Hearing God’s Voice
A believer heard God’s voice and became His loved child, thereafter the more we rejoice in His love by drawing closer to Him, the clearer is the voice leading us to continually receive His best.

Hearing God’s Voice

           The famous Rabbi Manis Friedman was once called to a hospital to counsel a Jewish boy, who had attempted suicide and survived. The moment the Rabbi entered the room, the boy who was busy playing a game on his phone, without even looking up asked the Rabbi to leave and not to waste his time in telling him that God loves him. The Rabbi, taken aback for a moment, told him, ‘May be that the LORD does not love you’. The boy immediately asked him the reason for saying such a thing without even knowing him. The Rabbi then told him that despite there being millions of people already living on the earth, yet God sent him also to be born for there is something specific that he is to do and that only he can. Wouldn’t he like to find out and complete that rather than missing the opportunity to do something for God.

            The boy then wanted to know what this specific task could be and how to find out that. This provided the Rabbi to counsel him to develop a close relationship with God. In like manner everyone born on the earth is loved by God and provided with all resources necessary for him/her to make a change in the place where God has put them. This could be not only about our doing good deeds but also testing and strengthening of the faith of someone through our sinful deeds and repentance. One who tries to hear the voice of God to find out his role succeeds in his life and brings about changes in others’ lives.           

        The voices that we hear and their identification – God created man and breathed into him ‘the breath of life, and man became a living being’ with a soul and a spirit (Genesis 2:7). The spirit of man provided him the ability to communicate with God as well as with himself, as his conscience or his inner voice guiding him about right or wrong.The effect of sin on man caused his purity to be affected for ‘to the pure all things are pure but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled’ (Titus 1:15). The inner voice of man was thus rendered unable to fully identify and follow the truth.Adam and Eve listened to the voice of the serpent, the devil, and when ‘they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day’ that they attempted to hide from the All-knowing God ‘among the trees of the garden’ (Genesis 3:1-8). As a result mankind started hearing the voice of the devil more than the voice of God and sin prevailed.

          God appeared to the Israelites on Mount Sinai as per Jewish legend, to give them the Torah, the first five books of the Holy Bible. With God’s presence, ‘Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire, its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly’ (Exodus 19:18). When the people saw all that and heard the sound of the trumpet ‘they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us lest we die’ (Exodus 20:18-19). A sinful man fears the justice of God and tries to avoid hearing His voice but God does speak to man through various ways.

         The third voice is of the devil who ‘does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it’ (John 8:43-44). Lord Jesus further told the people, ‘because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me’. Thus the lie dominates the mind of the sinful man and hinders his proper understanding of the truth. The LORD God warned Cain, ‘sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it’ (Genesis 4:7). The very fact God said this, there is inherent capacity in man, even in his fallen nature, to rule and prevail over sin, heed the voice of God and live right. An example of this is Noah, who ‘was a just man, perfect in his generation. Noah walked with God’ (Genesis 6:9). After the flood, the point in the history of mankind when the devil set up his kingdom fully on the earth was with Nimrod, who was ‘the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar’ (Genesis 10:9-10). As per Jewish legend, Nimrod led people away from God and to construct the tower of Babel. Babel is the Babylon, the center of devil’s kingdom that will finally be destroyed by the Lord (Revelation 18:2).

            The voice of conscience of man, God and the devil is heard from within man but the voices of other created beings are heard from without. The first are heard by the soul, the life center of man while the other is heard by the ears. The very fact that God visited Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and in their holy state,  they had the ability to speak and listen to God and even see Him for God would come to them. But when Moses prayed to God to show him His glory, he was told by God, ‘You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live’ (Exodus 33:20). Nadab and Abihu, the two sons of Aaron, are said to have offered ‘profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them’ (Leviticus 10:1). Fire from God devoured the two and they died. But Aaron being Moses’ brother, his family was well aware of all restrictions and guidelines from God to violate such a basic command. It is believed that the two sons of Aaron approached God and were so drawn by the beauty of His holiness and purity that they just could not stop themselves from drawing close. Man’s inherent nature of God’s image and likeness, though hidden under sinful nature, urges him to turn to and get close to God.

          The voices are heard but one must seek the gift of discernment of spirits from God to be able to fully distinguish each one and follow the right and ignore the wrong call.

             Recognizing the source of God’s voice in our lives – As per Jewish mystic theory of Kabaalah, which expands on the Scripture, God is in His perfection and nothing else can be added to His glorious presence. When He decided to create the heavens and the earth, God created a vast empty space by compacting His glory and withdrawing Himself and surrounded this emptiness. He then released a beam of light of His glory into that empty space and executed the process of creation through that and His Holy Spirit, both working in conjunction with each other. This beam of light was and is the Son of God and ‘He was in the beginning with god. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made, In Him was life and the life was the light of men’ (John 1:2-4). Apostle Paul further elaborates on this, ‘He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him’ (Colossians 1:15-17).

         Lord Jesus identified Himself as this beam of light that emanated from God to create and control all of creation. Before going to face the cross, His only recorded prayer illustrates this, ‘And now, O Father, glorify Me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was’ (John 17:5). Since as per Scripture the whole process of creation is carried out through the spoken commands or word, Lord Jesus has been identified as the Living Word or the Creator.

          What is the importance of listening to God’s voice? The most important prayer that every Jew recites daily at least two times is ‘Shema’ which means ‘to listen, to allow the words to sink in, provide understanding, and generate a response’ and is about action (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). In Hebrew, hearing and doling are correlated and one must follow the other. Since God cannot be seen by man, He must be heard when He reveals Himself through His spoken or written word. Even during the Transfiguration of Lord Jesus, the voice of God from within the cloud, first identified Him to those present and then gave the directions  ‘ This is My  beloved Son, hear Him’ (Luke 9:35). Anyone desiring to know God and be in a close relationship has to meet the one who has known Him. Apostle John, the disciple who enjoyed the love and closeness with Lord Jesus has declared, ‘No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known’ (John 1:18).  Thus no mortal in this life has ever had a perfect union and enjoyment of God, nor perfectly comprehended His infinite greatness, except the only-begotten Divine Son who is from and with the Father. 

         Thus we see that there are two channels of communication that God used to speak to mankind, first were the prophets starting with Noah to Malachi and in the beginning and now through His Son, Lord Jesus Christ. The Word elucidates the same, ‘but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe’ (Hebrews 1:2). Thus the revelation of God in Lord Jesus Christ is absolutely complete, final and definite and nothing else is neither needed nor can be added to that.  Also, since He is the heir of all things, He is able to fulfill every promise of the Scripture. Lord Jesus, after His resurrection from the dead, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God ‘far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come’ (Ephesians 1:20-21). The only voice that one needs to hear with full attention is that of the Son of God and anyone who ignores Him does so at his risk and cost.                                                                                                 How can we hear and heed God’s voice properly? Lord Jesus has taught clearly, ‘where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’ and that becomes important to us to follow (Matthew 6:21 & 24). He further said, ‘No one can serve two masters…. You cannot serve God and mammon’. When we love someone or something our mind is focused on that and even the slightest change is noticed. Who are we surrendered to, for his voice becomes important to us. God has spoken to us through His Word and when we start actively seeking Him in that and call out to Him for fulfillment of that promise, He answers. Can we develop a close relationship with someone by meeting or speaking to him rarely or in a hi and bye dialogue?

          Most of us are interested in speaking to God through our prayers and that too in a telegraphic manner. If someone asks me to do something for him, I would like to know the reason and purpose of that. We rarely open our hearts to God to share our feelings with Him. Apostle John received the revelation about Lord Jesus saying, ‘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’ (Revelation 3:20). The Greek word ‘deipnon’ translated dine is for the evening meal or dinner, a leisurely meal, and the intent is ‘to make him to share in my most intimate and blissful contact’. The Lord of this universe is not seeking a free meal but a desire to open His heart to us and for us to open our hearts to Him in an intimate and loving submission. Unless we are willing to do that He is also unlikely to do that.   

          The sequence of creation is that God first appointed Lord Jesus heir of all things and then through Him He also made all things. He is the decreed owner first before He created and His Word is the last and decisive word, the Word of God. With my complaint of His not speaking to me or my not hearing His Word in the ways that I desire, I am declaring that His written word has so much part of me that it has totally shaped my life already. Have I treated the Word lightly, like we read a newspaper, discarding after a while and seeking something more interesting? The call of God is to hear, meditate on, study, memorize and get fully saturated by His Word. Then it becomes living Word to me and starts revealing its secrets to me. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is committed to this only. The Helper’s role is to ‘teach you all things, and remind you all things that I (Lord Jesus) said to you’ (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit teaches what the Lord has already said and this spoken message of salvation was confirmed by God through various signs and wonders and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 2:3-4).

          Apostle Peter had declared the true identity of Lord Jesus as ‘Christ, the Son of the living God’ and be called him Petros’, Peter the rock. But when the Lord told about His suffering and crucifiction, he tried to dissuade the Lord from that. Lord Jesus then said to him, Get behind Me Satan! You are an offense to Me’. We must be sober and vigilant, for the devil, our adversary ‘prowls like a roaring lion, seeking whom to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). Satan entered Judas’ and led him to betray the same Lord who had been His Teacher for three years (Luke 22:3). The moment we are not vigilant, the devil will start putting thoughts into our minds, many times disguised as the will of God by distorting and misquoting the Word of God.

          How do we recognize the voice of God? The LORD God says, ‘Call to Me and I will answer you’ (Jeremiah 33:3). Are we seeking and eagerly expecting an answer from God? If we are, then we will hear from Him and follow His commands to unexpected victory. For such a person, the diligent seeker who spends time in His Word is ‘one spirit with Him’ and knows His voice (1 Corinthians 6:17). Second, Lord Jesus has chosen us in His mercy and His sheep not only follow Him but ‘they know His voice (John 10:4). Most often we seek to know great things and miss out the ‘still small voice’ of God. Prophet Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal and fled from the threat of queen Jezebel. He did not find God in the storm, the earthquake or the fire but the Almighty God spoke in a whisper to soothe his troubled soul (1 Kings 19:11-13). Lord Jesus wants us to be like little children, full of faith and total dependence on Him to hear and obey Him (Matthew 18:3).

         Third, learn to discern for God the Father has commanded, ‘This is My beloved Son…. Listen to Him’ (Matthew 17:5).  When someone very dear to us calls on the phone, we immediately recognize his voice. When we love the Lord as much then we will also clearly hear His voice like His sheep for then our mind is renewed by the Word of God (John 10:27). Out of the 70 members of the Jewish Council, Sanhedrin, only two, Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus heard His call from the cross, took His body and arranged His burial.

         Four, compare what you hear with the Word of God. God will never contradict His Word and if it is not in line with that it is a lie. God has put His name on every page of Scripture for ‘You have magnified Your Word above all Your name’ (Psalm 138:2).  Apostle Paul told Timothy, ‘All Scripture is God breathed’ and is living (2 Timothy 3:16). To live in confidence of hearing from God I must have good knowledge of God’s Word and make space for God in my heart by diligently seeking Him. The Holy Spirit is ever ready to fill the space thus given to God by His power and glory. The revelation knowledge of God thus given, raises us to ‘be head and not the tail’ and our part is to keenly turn to Him.

         King David prayed to God that every day of his life was already recorded in His book before even one was, or before his conception and birth.God has a wonderful plan for each of His children but how can a loving Father expect His children to reach their destination without showing them the way. Invariably we lose the way not for want of direction but due to our own waywardness. He is ready to answer our call the moment we turn to Him and seek Him!!

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