HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD Part 3 (1) How and When God Speaks
by Ps. Jerry
Our focus today is on how and when God speaks.
2 Samuel 2:1 reads Then it came about afterwards David inquired of the Lord saying, “Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” So, David said, “Where shall I go up?” And He said, “To Hebron.”
Now the question is, does God speak when you do not inquire? Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” God is a gentleman. He does not force His will on you. You have to inquire of Him.
David was facing a major issue of life and death. He wanted to know whether the people would surrender him to King Saul who was out to destroy him and what he should do. Did you notice how God spoke to David on this occasion? Notice the interaction between God and David. The questions asked were brief and direct and the answers God gave were equally so. God is not long winded. His responses are very concise and precise. Proverbs 10:19 says, When words are many, transgression is not lacking. Therefore, it is important that you guard what comes out from mouth, do not simply say anything. In the Bible, Jesus compared the prayers of the Pharisee who spoke long about his achievements and a tax collector who just confessed, “Lord, I am unworthy.” Whose prayer did God listen to? It was the tax collector who went home justified. It is not the length of your prayer, but the condition of your heart which is important to God.
2 Kings 3:11 reads, But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord here that we may inquire of the Lord by him?” And one of the kings of Israel’s servant answered and said, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.” Notice here that the king was asking a prophet to speak to Israel regarding what God wanted to say. God speaks through His prophets, so pay attention to what the prophet says. But ensure he or she is a true prophet, not a false one. Check first with scripture or with the spiritual authority in your life, which in most cases would be your pastor.
In Judges 18, we read of five men sent from the tribe of Dan who were in search of a place to settle down. Along their journey they met a young Levite priest and said to him, “Inquire of God, please that we may know whether our way on which we are going will be prosperous.” The priest said to them, “Go in peace, your way in which you are going has the Lord’s approval.” (verses 5-6). Notice here that the Lord spoke through the priest. The priest’s blessing is very important because he speaks on behalf of God. He is God’s representative.
Exodus 28:30 reads, “Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.” It was like making a decision based on the outcome of casting lots. Is that how God speaks? Proverbs 16:33 says, The lot is cast into the lap but its every decision is from the Lord.
How did the people on the boat discover that Jonah was the cause of the storm? They cast lots and it fell on Jonah. How did Jesus’ apostles choose Matthias to replace Judas? By casting lots! Therefore, do not limit how God can speak. He may speak in many ways regarding an issue, but the results should all be in alignment. They cannot contradict each other, otherwise something is wrong. God is a God of order and design, not a God of chaos. He has a plan for your life. There is no randomness with God and neither are there accidents when you are serving God. You are deliberately made for a divine purpose which God is working out in you. He is working all things together for good to you who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
What must I do to hear the voice of God?
You must be born again. John 3:3-7 relates the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus where the latter was told that unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. When Nicodemus inquired further regarding how to be born again, he was told that it could only happen if one is born of water and the Spirit. When you are born again, your spirit comes alive and it is through the spirit that you communicate with God. According to Dr. Charles Stanley, the experience of listening to God begins with the work of the Holy Spirit indwelling us through our salvation experience. The Holy Spirit is God’s divine receiver which He has implanted within us so that we can hear God speak. Therefore, to hear the voice of God, you have to be born again.
Next, you must confess the sins in your life and plead the blood of Jesus daily. In Psalm 66:18, David wrote, “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear.” Not only does God not hear you, you also will not hear Him if you deliberately choose to sin. You can test whether it is deliberate by the amount of effort you put in to fight it. If you continue to fight it even though you repeatedly fail, it is not deliberate. King David, one of God’s favourite people, wrote in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” He who once heard God so clearly realized that something was wrong with his spirit and as a result he could not hear God. Had God taken His Holy Spirit away from him? He understood what he needed God to do – to create a clean heart and put a right spirit within him. Whenever David had a problem he ran towards God. It is better to run into the arms of your loving Father than into the arms of your accuser, the devil who will torture and torment you.
When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, part of it included asking for forgiveness of sin. This prayer is something that we need to pray daily because God knows that we are weak in our flesh. But take heart because He has promised in 1 John 1:9, that If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:21 further adds, He was made sin so that you might become the righteousness of God in Christ. Always remember that you have right standing with God as His child, otherwise you will end up like the prodigal son feeding pigs and living in famine. But if you run to God you will receive the robe of righteousness and ring of authority just like the prodigal son who returned to his father after repenting of his wrongdoings.