..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hearing the Voice of God: "Some Say it Thundered"

Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I
say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But
for this purpose I came to this hour.
Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice
came from heaven, saying, “I have both
glorified it and will glorify it again.”
Therefore the people who stood by and
heard it said that it had thundered. Others
said, “An angel has spoken to Him
(John 12:27-29)

Was that thunder or the Voice of God?

What is the difference between those who
clearly and accurately hear the voice of
God and those who can't quite make it out?

Are you one of those who hears God like thunder
in the distance or one who hears His Voice

Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice" (John
10:27). If we are born of God and belong to Christ
then He promises us that we will be able
to hear Him. Throughout the Scriptures
we are enjoined to "hear the Word of the
Lord" (Deut. 4:10. 6:4). Does this mean just
to actually be able to hear it with our ears?
No, it means to hear and receive, to hear with
the sense of obeying, to hear and give
heart to.

There are many cliches in our society with
regard to hearing: "We hear what we want to
hear" is indeed true. We hear what is of
interest to us. Our ears "perk up" when
we hear something we want to hear. Anyone
who has a dog knows that they know certain
words that have great interest to them:
"walk" "ball" "biscuit" and, the word
of words, "Greenie". They may appear asleep
and yet their ears will "perk up" when
they hear them. All other words may be
indistinguishable but those words that
they want to hear are clearly

There is the childish way of putting your
fingers in your ears and saying loudly,"
Lalalala, I can't hear you." Listening
to God starts with loving His voice.
Those who hear God really want to hear God.
Those who hear God are of the same Spirit
as He is.

In John's gospel, chapter 12, Jesus predicts
his death. He pledges obedience to God and
says, "Father, glorify Thy Name" (John 12:28).
A Voice replies from heaven saying, "I have
both glorified it and will glorify it." The
people who stood nearby heard it and said,
"it thundered." Others said an angel spoke
to Him. Jesus tells the crowd that the
voice that spoke was not for His sake
for He already heard God speaking quietly
in His heart. The voice was given so that
others might know what God's point of view
was. Notice some heard it, and some heard
just the loud rumbling of thunder.

How is it that some are able to hear God's
voice and others only hear the indistinct
rumble of thunder?

The days ahead, even now, demand that we
hear our Lord's Voice clearly and take head
to His Words. What will help us listen?
What will help us hear?

We must be people who seek after God in
Spirit and in truth (John 4:23). We must be people
of the Word so that we are able to discern
His voice from the voice of all others.

The trouble with thunder is that it gives
an indistinct sound. If we do not take
care and cultivate our ability to listen
to God, we will hear the voice of God as
thunder. The trouble with that is that it
is easy to project a translation of what
that thunder is saying. We can hear that
God is saying something, but we can't quite
hear what it is. So we speculate or guess,
or put words in God's mouth. "It sounds
like He's saying...." This can quickly
degenerate in hearing what we want to hear
and not what He is saying. This quickly
brings us to delusion and a strong lie.

When Elijah encountered God it is written
that a strong wind tore into the mountains,
and then an earthquake, and then a fire, but
the Lord was not in any of these but in a
still, small Voice (I Kings 19:11-12).

But even hearing the God as a still, small
voice is not proof that we are hearing God.
Many voices have gone out into the world.
We must know God's character. We must know
who the Spirit of Truth is like. The more
we live and walk in the truth the more our
spirit will resonate with God's Spirit, and
the clearer His voice will be to us.

Jesus told us that he hid the wisdom of
God from the wise but revealed it to babes
(John 11:25)-those who would simply trust Him
and walk in what was revealed. He said that
he shares what will happen with His friends
(John 15:15).

This is a simple but profound truth. We can
hear God the minute we are born of God, but
that hearing is refined over a lifetime of
listening. And it is not just a passive
listening, or a listening out of idle
curiosity, but a listening that has the intent
to obey and to come into submission to.

God does not favor some with His voice and
let thunder speak to the rest. It is we that
must fine tune our listening. It is we that
must immerse ourselves in His word. It is we
that must cast aside every hindrance and
tear down everything that blocks our hearing.
Hearing is much more an attitude of the
heart than it is a physical ability.

We must cultivate our delight in hearing
God for his words are sweet and bring life.
We can see God as harsh and speaking difficult
words, and if we do, we do not know Him and
our ignorance will soon block our desire
to be with Him, assuming Him to be Someone
He is not. Jeremiah speaks to deafened
Israel: "To whom shall I speak, and give warning,
that they may hear? behold, their ear is
uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken:
behold, the word of the LORD is unto them
a reproach; they have no delight in it
(Jeremiah 6:9-11)

Delight yourself in hearing God and you will
come to hear Him clearly. He is Love itself.
He is Mercy and Goodness, and Life.
Hear, O Israel.

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