Here’s a little glimpse into what I’m teaching on Wednesday nights at church. If you’d like to listen on line, you can click here, and go to 4/20/10 “Hearing God Speak in the Midst of Chaos.” Pay no attention to the fact that I sound like Yoda. Something was funky with my microphone. In real life, I sound much more like Darth Vader.
1. Thing One: You were created to hear God’s voice. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27) As much as you have eyes that see or nerves that feel pleasure or pain, you have a God-given ability to sense the voice of the One who created you. Even in your darkest hour, you still possess the ability to discern His voice, simply because you are His sheep.
2. Thing Two: God desires to communicate with you. The entire God-story in the Bible is this: God created man and God seeks relationship with man. He promised a day would come when every person would have the opportunity to know Him, from the least to the greatest. That includes you:
“Behold the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel…I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; I will be their God and they shall be My people…for they shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD.”
(Jeremiah 31:31-34 NIV)
“And also the Holy Spirit adds His testimony to us [in confirmation of this]. For having said, This is the agreement (testament, covenant) that I will set up and conclude with them after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their hearts, and I will inscribe them on their minds (on their inmost thoughts and understanding), (Hebrews 10:15-16 AMP)
3. Thing Three: God has been speaking in many different ways since the beginning of time. If you are wondering how God speaks, I’ve concluded He can pretty much speak to us any way He pleases. If you took my class last year or read my blog when I first started it, this should look familiar to you.
In the Old Testament
• He walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day (Genesis chapters 2 and 3)
• He spoke through an angel to Hagar (Genesis 6:13-21)
• He appeared to Abraham as three men (Genesis 18:1-15)
• He appeared to Jacob in a dream (Genesis 28:13-15, 31:3)
• He appeared in flames to Moses (Exodus 3:1-22)
• He spoke to Balaam through a donkey (Numbers 22:12-35)
• He spoke to Samuel in an audible voice (I Samuel 3:10-14)
• He answered Job out of the storm (Job 38:1-41)
• He spoke to Elijah in a whisper (I Kings 19:11-18)
• He spoke to Isaiah in a vision (Isaiah 6:1-13)
• And in hundreds of other places in the Old Testament, it simply says, “God said”, “the Lord said” and “God spoke.”
In the New Testament
• He spoke to Joseph through an angel in a dream (Matthew 1:20-23)
• He spoke to Mary through an angel in her house (Luke 1:28-38)
• He spoke to Saul in an audible voice through a bright light (Acts 9:1-9)
• He spoke to Cornelius in a vision (Acts 10:1-7)
• He spoke to Peter while in a trance (Acts 10:9-16)
• He spoke to Agabus through the Spirit (Acts 11:27-30; 21:10-14)
• And of course, most profoundly: live and in person through Jesus Christ, God in the flesh
4. Thing Four: The most common way God speaks to us is through His written word. If He speaks outside of His word (directly into our hearts or through another person, for example) it will always sound just like His word and will never, ever, ever (ever!)contradict His word.
The Bible is God’s language. His native tongue. In the Old Testament alone, the writers explicitly state 3,808 times that they are conveying God’s words. You will have a very, very difficult time ever hearing God’s voice if you don’t familiarize yourself with His language.
The more you read, hear, speak, write, memorize, study, seek to understand, teach and sing God’s word, the more you will discern His voice when He speaks to you.
5. Thing Five: The best way to learn to discern God’s voice is through a relationship with Him. There are no short cuts. No quick tips. Just like you cannot gain intimacy with your spouse, a child or a friend by sitting in a class, neither can you get closer to God by attending a Bible Study and taking copious notes. Building intimacy in human relationships takes time and effort. It’s intentional. Building an intimate relationship with God is no different. It’s a life-long process. That means you must spend time getting to know God. You must spend time reading and studying His word. You must spend time in prayer. You must spend time with the people of God, discussing the goodness of God and building up one another’s faith about the things of God.
So there you go.