I would consider this post a blessing and responsibility in the present kingdom for the Gospel of the Kingdom structure we have proposed (see post, part 6 March, 2022).
I have always been captivated by scripture that teaches us that we can hear God’s voice (see post August 21, 2021):
“And He said, Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make Myself known to him in a vision and speak to him in a dream. But not so with My servant Moses; he is entrusted and faithful in all My house. With him I speak mouth to mouth [directly], clearly and not in dark speeches; and he beholds the form of the Lord.” Numbers 12:6-8
- “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God” Exodus 15:26
- “For I did not speak to your fathers…” Jeremiah 7:22
- “The sheep follow Him (Jesus) for they know His voice” John 10:4
- “I have other sheep…..and they will hear My voice;” John 10:16
- “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” John 10:27
- “Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” Matthew 4:4
It appears to me that there is a weight of scriptural evidence clearly indicating that God wants to talk to us. If God is Spirit and we are flesh, I assume the usual communication methods humans use do not apply so how does this work?
- Hearing God’s voice is personal
- Hearing God’s voice is intangible
- Hearing God’s voice is present Derek Prince
Personal: no two voices are the same. Jesus said “[My sheep] will by no means follow a stranger…for they do not know the voice of a stranger” (John 10:5; Derek Prince). We are not relating to a historical figure but our relationship with God is individual and personal. Over time I have been able to recognise Jesus’ voice (see last section of this post; posts August 23, 2020 and August 21, 2021).
Intangible: we cannot apprehend the Lord’s voice with our natural senses. See section below (‘What is the difference between listening and hearing’). First God’s Spirit testifies to our spirit (Romans 8:16) and then we hear with our hearts which engages our soul (mind, emotions and reasoning), I believe.
Present: we are being led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14) and encountering the Holy Spirit is not a one-time experience when we are saved but it is an ongoing daily relationship (Ephesians 2:18-22). This suggests to me that we should hear God speak to us continually.
Why is it important to listen to and hear God’s voice?
- God is relational.
God wants us to hear and obey His voice. “It produces a distinctive lifestyle in believers as they cultivate the sensitivity and humility of a ‘hearing heart’” (Derek Prince).
“And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” Luke 9:35
2. Jesus said you can do nothing without me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
In this day and hour as the nations rage against God (Psalm 2) to drive the Word of God out of our culture and we see injustice increasing including the tyranny of Governments (developing policies that injure citizens), the malfeasance of bureaucracies (interfering with the doctor/patient relationship), redefining human value and the corruption of knowledge I want to follow Jesus. I want knowledge (the facts), understanding (painting a complete picture using all the facts) and this knowledge and understanding leads to the wisdom to make sound decisions under extreme pressure (Proverbs 3:19-20; Proverbs 24:3-4). I need Jesus’ leadership both from the Word of God and His voice. I want a hearing heart!
3. One of the endless expressions of the Father’s heart is to teach us through listening and hearing:
“He [the Father] wakens me morning by morning, wakens My ear to listen like one being taught” (Isaiah 50:4)
4. What did Jesus learn from listening and hearing the Father? Isaiah 50
- He had words of encouragement for others.
- He received personal direction for Himself.
- He achieved obedience.
- He received strength to go through all He had to endure.
- He received determination. Derek Prince
What is the difference between listening and hearing?
Listening: Jesus said on many occasions “he who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:9). Jesus was referring to physical ears and natural listening. One issue we have to deal with is the endless noise from the world that hinders our listening to God (Psalm 46:10).
Hearing: “Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” Matthew 13:14-16
We shall see in a moment that the position or condition of our heart hinders understanding. Therefore, we can conclude from these and other scriptures (1 Kings 3:9 Amp Bible; Proverbs 4:20-23; Matthew 13:15; Hebrews 4:12) that we listen with our ears and hear with our hearts. Surprisingly, when Solomon asked for wisdom the Hebrew says he asked for ‘a hearing heart’.
There is a warning in John 5: why did the Pharisees and Jewish people listen to Jesus but never hear? They had a preferred future that did not agree with Jesus’ teachings (the condition of their hearts). They had no interest in following a suffering Messiah (Matt Chandler IHOPKC; The Return). Are we a nation lost in our own prosperity and have become so addicted to safety, security and comfort that we don’t like the idea of following a suffering Messiah? Additionally, to listen we need to remove the noise of life (the endless distractions and lesser affections). Time to shut down social media, television and all worldly things that feed our safety, security and comfort that is not of God. We are taught to humble ourselves and seek God’s face (2 Chronicles 7:14). I like to dedicate a time and place each day (make it habitual). I log into the International House of Prayer Room (IHOPKC.org; 24/7 worship and prayer) to help me engage with God.
“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10
How do we know it is God’s voice? (Hearing God in our hearts).
Backstory first: Over the last ten years God has spoken to me in many ways (se posts August 23, 2020 and August 21, 2021), but lately not so much. Ten years ago, God called my wife and I into the Global Prayer Movement and He has taught us about the Call and Assignments of the Intercessor, Watchmen and Forerunner for this day and hour, and He has changed the expression of our Christianity by teaching us many new aspects of our faith for this ministry. Perhaps Jesus had to speak to us many times during this ten-year period to establish us in this ministry to which He has called us. Now that we are somewhat established maybe He does not need to speak to us as much. I’m speculating and not satisfied with this situation. I do not believe that is the heart of God so I’m studying this topic to learn how to call out to Him to speak to me daily. I’m hungry for His guidance and intimacy.
I have shared before how God has taught me to recognise His voice. Today I would like to finish with one way God has shown me to recognise His voice: when we hear God’s voice we should expect and experience peace in our hearts (Colossians 3:15-16 Amplified Bible). The word ‘rule’ from this scripture indicates an inner umpire deciding all things that arise in your mind. If you do not feel peace, be cautious. Can I share some examples from my life? God’s voice may come in many ways: through the scriptures, other people, books I’m reading etc. but it always comes by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
A jolt to my heart: Once when I had a stubborn heart and was in need of correction God spoke through a book I was reading. I read a phrase somewhere randomly in the book but as soon as I read the phrase, I felt a very clear jolt in my heart (deep in the centre of my belly). It is hard to describe the feeling but I knew immediately that God was correcting me and I knew it clearly. It was not a feeling I could ignore. A deep feeling of regret and sorrow that leads to correction – a powerful movement of God in my heart that brings supernatural change. Surprisingly, I felt correction and righteousness at the same time. The correction was not comfortable, however, the feeling of rightness set my heart at peace knowing God corrects those He loves.
The joy of discovering truth: Whenever I’m studying scripture and God reveals His truth, I feel joy in my heart. It is more than joy! There is a wonder and excitement when the majesty of God’s Word is revealed. Then I realise the revelation is relational and God has answered my prayer to send His Holy Spirit to reveal truth to me. Wonder because I know I could not have reasoned these truths out on my own. However, it is more like a heart full of contented joy and wonder at the majesty of truth that reveals the heart of God behind the truth. I do not know how to describe the feeling but I have come to recognise that it is from God because it has happened so many times and is familiar. There is another element to the feeling; I know it is God but I cannot tell you how I know this. There is a strong confidence in my heart knowing it is of God and exciting because I know God is leading and is in relationship with me (Jeremiah 15:16; “Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing in my heart”. NOTE: the Hebrew for ‘word’ is speech, utterance or speaking thing). Still I have to test any word from God against scripture.
The beauty of Jesus heart: The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10). I’m talking about inspirational prophecy that builds up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:3). I was amazed by the beauty of the pictures God gave me to encourage someone. Sometimes God also gave me the application/understanding of the prophetic picture and it was nearly always confirmed by the listener. The pictures were so unusual and beautiful that I knew they did not come out of my mind and I would meditate on them many times over. I was able to experience the beauty, joy and peace of knowing something of Jesus’ heart. These pictures are the endless expression of Jesus love for us!
Is listening and hearing God’s heart another lens into ‘the way of the heart’ discussed in the last post? As I write this post, I have become excited again to see and hear more of God’s heart. I’m going to keep asking Him and give Him no rest.
Written by John and Shirley Ray, edited by Joel Ratcliffe
Suggested Reading List:
- “Hear God’s Voice” Derek Prince
- “Bible Psychology: soul and spirit (vols. 1 & 2) Derek Prince
You can find these audios online or at Derek Prince. org OR derekprince.com.au. I found this a good starting point to study the ‘heart’.