Philip was directed by the angel of the Lord to go on a desert path even though the angel did not give him a specific reason. Philip’s obedience led to an Ethiopian Eunuch encountering Jesus. When God leads us in a certain direction, it won’t always be understood with the natural mind, but He has a purpose for it. …
Hearing God’s Voice
Hearing God’s voice is not easy but it is a necessity for us as God’s children as we navigate through life. How do we know if we heard the Lord instead of hearing ourselves or the enemy? The scriptures give us direction on this important issue.
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38
When the word of the Lord (through the angel) came to Mary, she was not expecting it. The message given to her was not something that she would have conjured up or thought of. The message was God’s idea, and it would have cost Mary something. When we live our lives in simplicity of faith and walk with God, the Lord has access to speak to us and to download what He desires in our lives. The voice of the Lord does not boost our ego, but it settles our identity in God. It allows us to remain dependent on the Lord and look to Him as He takes us through the journey. Mary and Joseph had to continue to look to the Lord in this process and be led by Him in order to protect the baby and raise Jesus for the purpose God had for Him.
Therefore David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah.” 1 Samuel 23:2
Seek God and Remain Neutral
King David inquired of the Lord frequently, especially, as it related to going to wars with other nations. The beauty of David’s inquiry is that David did not allow his emotions to justify going to battle. His ego was not involved in trying to prove his might and his strength. He didn’t presume because Israel is God’s special people that it meant God was going to give them success in every battle. Instead, David put himself in a neutral position and allowed the Lord to speak to him. In some instances, the Lord told him to go to war and in other situations, He told him not to. David followed the Lord’s instructions and God gave Him success!
Sometimes, we are so focused on reaching our goals that hearing God takes a backseat to our agenda. The truth is that any path we take, we may experience some bumps on the road. If we have arrived there by our the strength of our will, then the difficulties along the way will challenge our decision. On the other hand, if we have heard the Lord before moving in a certain direction, then we know that this is God’s will and we can fight the spiritual battle with God’s strength.
God’s Answer in His Timing
One of the important things in hearing the voice of God is that we cannot make it happen in our timing. If we strive in the flesh to hear God’s voice, we will eventually hear something, but it won’t be the voice of God. We may end up hearing our own desires or the enemy’s deception. We can’t force God to speak to us when we expect to hear from Him. We need to be willing to wait and yield our will. God is going to speak when He knows it’s the right time to speak. Our job is to abide in Him, look to Him, and wait on Him.
Do you hear the voice of the Lord unexpectedly? When you need an answer, can you place aside your emotions and opinions and remain in a neutral position? Are you able to wait to hear Him speak?
In the last two devotionals, I have shared about the importance of hearing God’s voice. As believers, we need to have the word of God as our sword and the voice of God as our compass to navigate through life. We see even Jesus, the Son of God, had to depend on the voice of God to function successfully through life and His calling!
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:1-4
Definition of Word (according to Strong’s dictionary) comes from Greek word [Rhema]: that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, things spoken, word, utterance.
Jesus’ first temptation was directed at his physical hunger. After having fasted forty days and nights, the devil tempted Him to turn the stones into bread. Just as Jesus turned water into wine, He could have turned the stones into bread. However, He refrained from doing it because He was not led by the Spirit of God!
One of the marks of following the voice of God is that it will not appeal to our flesh, and neither will it compel us to prove our identity or gifting. This is something that we all have to be aware of. We cannot allow the demands of others to push us to do something in the name of God or ministry. Those with prophetic ministry are even in greater danger of trying to prove that they can hear God or prophecy words not sanctioned by the Lord!
The devil was trying to challenge Jesus’ identity in God by prodding Him to prove that He is the son of God! However, Jesus had the self-control not to get baited by the devil. He did not need to prove anything to anyone even though it would have been tempting to do so. He could have reasoned that He needs to prove He is the son of God, so people can believe Him or take Him seriously. Furthermore, Jesus could have easily made the excuse that God would not wanted to Him suffer hunger and could have provided bread for Himself, but He chose to leave the matters in God’s hands.
I love Jesus’ response to the devil! He told Him that while food is important but hearing God’s voice is more important than eating bread! Jesus was speaking about God’s spoken word. Jesus needed to hear the voice of God, and He depended on it regularly more than eating bread. When was the last time this was our attitude in seeking God!?
In the Middle Eastern cultures, bread is an important part of every meal. Therefore, the comparison of the need for bread versus the word of God is very significant! The Middle Eastern people eat bread with every meal regardless of other starches such as rice, pasta, or potatoes. This means that people not only eat it regularly, but also they consume it at least three times a day! Basically, Jesus was stating that it is more important to hear God’s voice and be in communication with Him than to depend on the basic sustenance three times a day!
How hungry are you to hear the word of the Lord for your life? On the sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled. It is God’s desire for us to be led by His Spirit. Do you make time for Him regularly? Do you see it as a necessity of life to be led by the Spirit of the Lord?
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14
The above scripture is important in what it states and also in what it does not state! This Bible verse does not tell us that those who read the Bible are the sons of God. The truth is that we have theologians who know the Bible but don’ know the Lord! Reading the Bible without a revelation of God is like reading any good literature or history book. It is the spirit of God that quickens the word of God and allows us to see something in it that we have not seen before. The word of God, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, speaks to us, and it convicts, corrects, and exhorts us in the way we should go. This allows our relationship with our heavenly Father to develop and we grow as sons and daughters of God.
The above scripture also does not state that those who go to church are the sons of God. When the New Testament church began, people were meeting in each others’ homes to have fellowship and learn the doctrines of Christ. The church as we know it today was not formed and neither were people aiming to just show up to a building once a week to hear a good sermon. They were focused on learning about their newfound faith and what Jesus came to do for them even at the cost of their lives. While there is nothing wrong with having a nice building, but we have to be careful that buildings (nowadays campuses), their cost, and the number of people attending does not take away the focus of the church. Otherwise, it will lead a church to a corporate mentality, and it will focus on maintaining a certain stream of revenue. This would make it difficult to listen to the voice of God or be led by Him! Jesus had much to say to the seven churches in the book of Revelation.
Also, the scripture does not state those who are pastor’s kids or grandkids are the sons of God. As a matter of fact, Jesus rebuked the religious people because they were comfortable and confident with their status in their community but missing the work of Christ among them. Sometimes being part of a religious system, blinds people to their lack of relationship with Jesus. People around them prop them up and shelter them from the work of God in their lives. In addition, some people within a religious system can assume that the voice or the opinion of their leadership is the voice of God, and they rely on it more than they rely on the spirit of the Lord!
One of the marks of any good relationship is communication. If we profess to have a personal relationship with Jesus, then it means that we are in two-way communication to Him. This relationship causes us to want to know Him and hear what He has to say concerning all areas of our lives. The Lord is looking for those who sincerely want to be in relationship with Him and desire to communicate with Him. How good is your communication with the Lord!? In the above scripture, the Lord tells us that those who are in tune with hearing God’s voice and His leading are His children. His children remain in relationship to their heavenly Father. They are not running ahead of Him nor lagging behind Him. They don’t come to God only when they want something from Him but remain in continual relationship with Him.
Hearing God’s voice and being led by His Spirit is evidence of a personal relationship with God. It shows that we have learned to abide in Christ, and Jesus has full access to us to direct us a certain way. We have learned to remain in tune with Him, and, on a regular basis, we surrender our plans into His hands for His leading and direction.
Are you led by the Spirit of God? If not, what hinders you? Do you make time to seek Him on a daily basis? Are you able to surrender your plans and allow the Lord to direct your steps? Do you consider any other person’s voice to be the voice of God in your life?
In the last series of devotionals, I shared about the benefits and the necessity of studying the word of God and learning God’s ways through His word. The word of God gives us tangible guard rails that help us to stay within God’s prescribed boundaries and protects us from the world, our old nature, and the attacks of the enemy. However, we need more in life to live a successful Christian life. We need to be able to hear God’s voice and sense His guidance every step of the way to ensure we are in step with His purpose!
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27
In the book of John, Jesus declared Himself as the good shepherd! He then continued by telling the disciples that His sheep hear His voice! In the natural, the sheep follow their shepherd by listening to his voice. Can you imagine if sheep decided to go their own way and not follow the voice of the shepherd!? First of all, it would be chaotic and the shepherd would not be able to lead them or protect them. Secondly, the sheep can get lost or fall prey to various predators. It is critical for the sheep to hear and recognize the voice of their shepherd to stay protected from harm and get their needs met.
Similarly, we are in need of hearing Jesus’ voice clearly. Obviously, we need to read our Bibles, but we are still in need of hearing His voice to determine how to navigate the forks in the road. For example, if we are seeking an employment, we should have a sense if a position is the right job for us. If we just concentrate on the salary or the title, we may miss God’s direction. If we plan to move out of the area, we should give it time until we have a sense of direction from the Lord. We shouldn’t just move because we don’t like our surroundings or are looking for an excitement. The Lord has the answers, and He knows what is best for us.
Hearing God is not always easy. Sometimes, the Lord is silent because He wants to do something in us before He answers our questions. Consequently, He calls us to just follow Him for a while without giving us an answer. The best thing to do in those times is to follow the Lord joyfully and thanking the Lord for being the good shepherd. The Lord will not let us get derailed if we are following Him wholeheartedly.
How well do you hear God’s voice? What do you do when you don’t hear God’s voice right away?
told His disciples that His sheep know His voice. The sheep have learned to hear the voice