Hearing God's Voice
"And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that
thou shouldest know his will, and see
that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his
From Genesis to Revelation, it has been the heartbeat desire of God to
dwell among His people. One important aspect of that is communication and
intimacy, out of which we can learn to hear His voice. Unfortunately, some
denominations dismiss this, saying things like, "We don't need to hear
God's voice. We have the Word." Yes, we have God's Word, and in the Word,
Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice" (John 10:16).
So why do people who use this excuse not practice God's Word in this
regard? Let us be challenged to go beyond our denominational biases and
truly step forward to be a vessel of honor for the Lord!
||Hearing the Voice of God - What is it?|
Is it Biblical?
How Come We Can't Hear?
How Do We Know It's Him?
How Can I Hear His Voice?
A Personal Testimony
|Hearing the Voice of God - What is
In Genesis 3:8, we see Adam and Eve. "And they heard the
voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day..." God
desires to walk among us and talk among us. It's more a question - not of
how to hear God's voice, but will we hear Him? Will
we say, "Yes, Lord!" and obey His command? Adam and Eve disobeyed the
voice of God who told them not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of
Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the rest of verse 8 says, "Adam and his
wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of
the garden."God can speak to us in various ways. It is important to know that not
all of God's communication is vocal.
A still small voice. Elijah
was on the run in 1 Kings 19 from evil Queen Jezebel who ordered his
death, after a mighty miracle in which he challenged the prophets of
Baal to call upon their God while Elijah called upon his. As a result,
God consumed Elijah's altar with fire, and Jezebel's unanswered prophets
were all put to death. Despite God's marvelous works, His mightiest
prophet was frightened and had retreated into a cave.
1 Kings 19:11-13 says, "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the
mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and
strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the
LORD; [but] the LORD [was] not in the wind: and after the wind an
earthquake; [but] the LORD [was] not in the earthquake: And after the
earthquake a fire; [but] the LORD [was] not in the fire: and after the
fire a still small voice. And it was [so], when Elijah heard
[it], that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in
the entering in of the cave. And, behold, [there came] a voice unto him,
and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?"
A voice in your ear. Isaiah
30:21 says, "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This
[is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye
turn to the left.
Conviction by the Holy
Spirit. John 16:8 says that when the Holy Spirit comes, He
will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement. In the same
fashion, let's say you were about to say something really nasty to
someone. You suddenly either feel a "pulling back" by the Holy Spirit to
not say that nasty thing, or you sense the Lord tap you on the skull and
say, "Son, that's not nice. Don't say that." The word "to convict" is
also translated as "to reprove." We must be humble and accept God's
reproof of our actions!
Being led by the Spirit.
Romas 8:14 says, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are
the sons of God." When you are in a constant state of loving intimacy
with Jesus, and you not only allow Him to lead your life, but you are
accutely sensitive to the Holy Spirit as how He desires to lead
you, that places you in right relationship with the Lord, such that you
are God's little son or daughter! The Holy Spirit may either allow you
to sense His urging you in a particular direction, or may even speak to
When reading the word, a scripture
jumps out at you. In your Quiet Times before the Lord, have
you ever found that - as you're reading from your Bible - a particular
verse suddenly jumps out at you? There's an excitement, as you say,
"Yes! That verse fits exactly my situation! That's my verse!" The
Holy Spirit has a way of illuminating upon the Word and opening our eyes
to understand its meaning much deeper than what we would understand as a
result of an dry, academic theological head-knowledge study that has no
application nor pertinence in your life or anyone else's nor has the
power to tell a flea to go away? The more you take those scriptures the
Lord reveals to you and hide it in your heart, the more God finds you
trustworthy to give you more revelation!
These are but a few examples of hearing from God. The important thing
is to be open to any avenue through which the Lord choses to speak,
making sure that these avenues are holy. For example, God would not speak
out of a Mormon or a Buddhist or a Jehovah's Witness, nor would He use the
Bhagivad Gita or Upanishad writings, simply because they reject the deity
of Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God Himself!
Once in a while, God would use simple things to get your attention. God
really touched my heart through a Bambi film in which Bambi had been
wounded in his war against the hounds and hunters, and lay on the grass
accepting death and defeat. That was very much my situation at one point.
The King came and told Bambi, "Get up!" Bambi made a feeble effort, like I
had, but gave up easily as I had. The King spoke with a voice full of
royal compellation. "You must get up." Had I not heeded to the
Lord's prompting through that movie, I might have remained in spiritual
defeat much longer than I had been in, and had not arisen in God's mercy,
righteousness and grace.
Royal Note: Sometimes God may want to speak through your nagging
mother or your wife, and they may even tell you it's God!
Sure it is! In addition to the aforementioned scriptures in
the section, "Hearing the Voice of God - What is it?" let us look at some
additional verses. Here is John 10:1-16. Observe closely.
John 10:1-16 - 1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other
way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he that entereth in by
the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the porter openeth;
and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by
name, and leadeth them out.
4 And when he putteth forth his own
sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know
5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee
from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they
were which he spake unto them.
7 Then said Jesus unto them again,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did
not hear them.
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he
shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am
come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his
life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the
shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and
leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and
scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an
hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd,
and know my [sheep], and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth
me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them
also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall
be one fold, [and] one shepherd.
The important thing
to note is that Jesus is the Shepherd, and we are His little sheep.
(Though some of our brothers and sisters may appear much larger than us,
remember that it's all the wool - the outward appearance!) By default,
spiritually, we as Jesus sheep will absolutely hear and recognize and be
able to follow His voice. We will not know the voice of strangers, as it
says in this passage. The thieves and robbers are, in verse 1, those who
do not enter by the door of the sheepfold.
The door, in verse 9, is Jesus. People who claim to be shepherds of the
flock but do not go by Jesus cannot possibly lead the flock and be a
vessel of God's voice to His people. If heeded to, they will deceive the
people of God.
Hebrews 3:7-12 says this:
Hebrews 3:7-12 - 7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith,
Today if ye will hear his voice,
8 Harden not your hearts, as
in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty
10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said,
They do alway err in [their] heart; and they have not known my
11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my
12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil
heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
13 But exhort
one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be
hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Israel was not able to enter into God's rest because they hardened
their hearts against God's voice. And so the Holy Spirit, in this
scripture, implores that of us "today."
Come We Can't Hear?
Good question. From what we've just seen in Hebrews 3:7-12,
it is possible to harden your heart against hearing God's voice. Now that
can be dangerous, because the consequence of that is not being able to
enter into God's rest. It means a rest and repose from a lifetime of
arduous effort of following the Law to earn God's favor. Israel gave up
relationship for religion, and sonship for
The following are various reasons why we can't hear God's voice. Some
of them quite alarming.
Sin and Iniquity. With
microwave technology, two buildings could communicate with rooftop
microwave dishes - they merely have to be aimed one at the other without
any object obstructing their transmission path. Occasionally, a pigeon
lands in front of a microwave dish and gets roasted and dies, blocking
the reception! The transmitting dish (God) is still fully functional,
but we're in no position to receive. It's not so much our sin and
failings but more an unwillingness to repent.
The difference between sin and iniquity is that sin can easily be
forgiven, but the word "iniquity" in the Hebrew means, literally, "to be
bent out of shape" - hence the expression that one has a "bent for sin."
We have a bent for sin when we love the act we're about to commit far
more than getting on our knees and just loving and listening to Jesus.
We must pray, "Dear Lord, straighten all the iniquity out of us, that we
would be obedient to hear Your voice!"
Preoccupation with the things of the
world. Jesus showed in the parable of the sower in Luke 8:7
that some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked
the seed. Jesus explains in verse 14, "And that which fell among thorns
are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with
cares and riches and pleasures of [this] life, and bring no fruit to
What did He mean? Galatians speaks of the Fruit of the Spirit, each
of which are aspects of the Lord's character. When you receive the Word
of God into your life, the Word begins a process of creating within us
things that are lacking but are needed in order for us to be Christ-like
- hence scriptures like, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and
renew a right spirit within me" (Psalms 51:10). The "cares and riches
and pleasures" of the world can cause us to not set us apart unto the
Lord and allow the Word to affect change within our lives. In the end,
we are no more Christ-like after that R-Rated sex- and violence-ridden
movie than before we paid an arm and a leg to watch it! So let's examine
our lives. Let's look at the things we allow to distract us from keeping
our eyes solely on God.
Incorrect theology. One
terrible idea nursed by pseudo-theological circles is that God no longer
speaks today. In fact, in some theological seminaries, you may raise
many eyebrows if you say you hear the voice of God with any clarity at
all! The following are two lines of thinking:
1. Lack of understanding of scripture. Denominational
churches tend to say, "In the old times, before scripture was written,
God performed mighty miracles and spoke to His people so that people
would believe in Him. So now that we have the Bible (i.e. Canonical
Scripture has been assembled and completed) God no longer works miracles
and speaks from Heaven."
Unfortunately, this is the same line of reasoning that argues that
the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) are no longer for today!
Proponents of this arguement have somewhat failed to provide a
solid irrefutable scripture supporting their premise. The best
verse they've come up with is 1 Corinthians 13:10 which says, "But when
that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done
away." So they say, "Now that the Bible has come, the imperfect (the
gifts) have disappeared."
Proponents maintain that the Bible itself is what the scriptures are
referring to in the phrase "that which is perfect." While we do
believe the Word of God is perfect, we by no means have a perfect
translation of it. (However, a 100% accurate translation is not
necessary to believe in, love, and grow in Christ. Our 98% accuracy -
for example - isn't bad at all!) Interpreting this verse in this way is
really taking it out of context. Examine verses 11 and 12: "When I was a
child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a
child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we
see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part;
but then shall I know even as also I am known."
When we read it in this context, we now see that it is Jesus
who is "that which is perfect." When Jesus Christ returns, we will see
Him "face to face" and be know Him in His full majesty, glory and power
"even as also I am known" by Him.
2. Denominational Bias. Some denominations maintain
that the Bible - the written word of God - is the final authority and
finality of all that God wishes to express on the Earth. They also say
that you cannot have any revelation in addition to the Bible. These
denominations also maintain that Psalm 138:2 says, "... for thou hast
magnified thy word above all thy name" so the Bible must be magnified
above abolutely anything we understand of God!
In all sensitivity, and not to judge these denominations, I must
venture to say that some have themselves (rather than God
Himself) exalted the Bible even above God's voice! If God were to
tell them to do something, they can easily adopt an attitude, "Oh that
really wan't God. The Bible says, this...!" and thereby
override God's voice and command with their own interpretation of
the Bible. That get's kinda dangerous, if you ask me!
Yet, the word "word" in Psalms 138:2 is the Hebrew word "imrah"
(Strongs 565) which can also be translated, "commandment, speech, word."
In essence, this is the spoken word of God that God Himself is
magnifying above His own name - which means that He is a man of His word
(so to speak).
Is there any revelation other than the Bible? Let's just say that
there is no other recorded scripture other than Canonical scripture.
Clearly, God's words cannot be added to or taken away from. But what
about revelation? What is it? The word "revelation" in the Greek is
"apokalupsis" from which we get the word "apocalypse." It literally
means "an uncovering". That means we all have constant revelation of who
God is. As we grow in Christ, our understanding of Him increases!
That's why 1 Corinthians 13:12 says that we are seeing in "a glass
darkly," meaning that we are not seeing the complete picture of all that
He is. When the Lord comes to give us revelation, He gives us a peek at
one more aspect of His character! Suddenly, our live is more exciting,
because we understand something so awesome about God that we've not
known before! To say that there is "no revelation apart from the Bible"
in this light means that God cannot come and illuminate the Word and our
understanding of it. Which further means that God does not speak to His
Has God truly spoken all that He wishes to say in recorded scripture?
Let's see what the Bible has to say. Romans 10:17 says "Faith cometh by
hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." The word "Word" in the greek
is "rhema" which means "a spoken word" versus
"logos" which means "a written word." How else will we
have faith to please God, if we do not develop a hearing ear?
Again, not to judge anyone, in Mark 7:13 Jesus said to
the Pharisees that in honoring their man-made tradition, they were
rendering the Word of God powerless and making it of no effect. In fact,
Jesus was saying that they themselves were delivering and making up all
this tradition that was nullifying the commandments of God!
|How do we know
Excellent question! First of all, recall that Jesus says in
John 10 that His sheep hear and know His voice. The grammar
is in present tense - not present tense future imperfect conditional
whatever, and not "They shall hear My voice up until the Bible in the King
James is published in 1711 after which they won't understand the Word of
God and will have to guess, and if Satan deceives them, I'll lose My
glorious Church to the New Age Movement, cults, witchcraft and Satanism."
Indeed, many Christians have backslidden; we statistically comprise a
significant number of those flocking to the New Age Movement - because
we've not been taught to hear the voice of God but have been told to honor
a tradition based on dead, dry dogma that has no power.
We need to be both doctrinally strong but be so sensitive to hear God's
voice that if He were to speak "I love you!" we would be able to respond
to Him and to His heart.
So how do we know it's God who is speaking to us, and that we're not
making it up in our heads, or tell whether or not it's the Devil who is
speaking to us? The Bible sheds light as to certain properties that the
voice of God has.
Remember that when we are sincerely seeking after the Lord, the Lord
honors that. Deuteronomy 4:35-36 says,
35 Unto thee it was shewed, that
thou mightest know that the LORD he [is] God; [there is] none else
36 Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,
that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great
fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.
And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed
after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power
out of Egypt;
What a wonderful blessing, that the Lord loved us and our "fathers"
in the faith! Above all, Jesus has been rooting for you and praying for
you, always encouraging you. For His sake, the Lord comes through on our
God's voice makes our heart
tremble. There is an inner impact when God speaks to us. It
kinda blows you away! Sometimes He just gets your attention. At other
times, when He speaks, it can be so powerful that you feel physically
drained and have no strength left to speak! Job 37:1-2 says, "At this
also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.
Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound [that] goeth out
of his mouth."
God's voice has a particular
sweetness. I've never recalled God speaking things in these
times to strike fear in His people, nor to condemn them. Rather, it has
been encouraging, full of life, comfort, promise, faith, and sweetness.
Songs of Solomon 2:14 says, "O my dove, [that art] in the clefts of the
rock, in the secret [places] of the stairs, let me see thy countenance,
let me hear thy voice; for sweet [is] thy voice, and thy countenance
[is] comely." The dove in the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit. It
is the voice of the Holy Spirit.
God's voice brings peace.
Psalm 85:8 says, "I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will
speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not
turn again to folly. Whenever you hear a "voice" and it bring fear,
anxiety, trepidation, it's generally safe to say that it's not from God.
However, that's not to say that God cannot warn you if you are purposely
walking path that is in a dangerous direction away from Him.
God will never speak to you anything
that directly contradicts with Scripture. As we saw in Psalms
138, God is a man of His word - so to speak. What God says in His
integrity, royalty, and divinity and power, He cannot contradict. If He
contradicts Himself, He is not God. If God promises in the Bible, "I
will never leave thee nor forsake thee" and then, like Baal, run off to
go to sleep and not hear you pray, He's not God. Again, if God says,
"Thou shalt not commit murder" and some guy claims, "God told me I could
kill that man to glorify Him!" would you say that this person was truly
hearing from God, or perhaps he's deceived and is really hearing from
the devil? The Word of God is a good standard and is like a lie-detector
against the devil.
(Also, what He says to us is not to add to Scipture, nor to
revoke or remove it. Please be aware of this if you belong to a church
where there is another Book that is used in equal or superior standing
to the 66 books of the Bible!)
Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and
sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder
of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner
of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Can I Hear His Voice?
The opening scripture in Acts 22:14 says, "And he said, The
God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will,
and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth."
Religious people may argue, "That scripture was meant only for the Apostle
Paul!" but we must really ask ourselves: did Paul ever exhalt himself in
stature and rank above any of us? Rather, we've all been chosen. We've all
been washed in the Blood of the Lamb! We've all been drawn unto God. We're
all called to hear His voice, not just a select few.
In Revelation 2:15, Jesus tells the Church of Pergamos that He's
displeased that some ascribe to the Doctrine of the Nicolatians, which He
hates. Nicolas was a man in this era who taught that there needs to be a
spiritual elite who does all your penance, sacraments, hears God for you,
etc. But recall that Jesus is not seeking for a spiritual elite but that
we all come to Him like little children, because if our hearts are not
like that of a little child, we cannot enter into the Kingdom of heaven!
In John 10, Jesus said that we are His sheep, and His sheep know His
Voice. But Psalms 95:7 warns us that if we do hear His voice, we must not
harden our hearts like the people of Israel did in the Wilderness, where
they tried and tempted God, and so that entire generation perished. It was
the next generation - a generation after the heart of God that
entered into the Promised Land.
Daniel 11:32 says, "... but the people that do know their God shall be
strong, and do [exploits]." God wants to work great exploits
through our lives! The world may say one thing. Our circumstances may say
another, and the Devil may indeed try to have his own way, but when we
hear a Word from God, be it through the scriptures or right in our
very ear (possibly a scripture we didn't even know was already in the
Bible!) we can use that Word as judicial punishment against the words of
darkness. Isaiah 54:17 says that no weapon formed against us shall
So how can we better hear the voice of God?
Repent of all unconfessed sin, and ask God to heal you of
all iniquity, all bents for sin. Ask the Lord to show you what attitudes
and what behavioral patterns are unrepentant in your life that you need
to change, especially if these are causing you not to hear His
Be ever so willing to not only seek after His face and to
hear His voice, but to be obedient. One elderly saint once told me in
his own simple words: "I pray, then I obey!"
Be willing to receive God's instruction in any way, shape or
form in which the Lord wants to present it. You may not necessarily like
the message - especially if you don't like the messenger! Change your
attitude if you are only willing to hear from God if He is to speak only
a certain way, or answer with such an answer!
When in prayer, be in an attitude of waiting on God, not
just calling out each item of your To-Do list to Him! Remember, He is
our Shield and Buckler, not our Chef and Butler!
Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Rest
in Him. Trust in His grace. You may not hear immediately (then again,
sometimes you will). Sometimes you may wait on the Lord in your prayer
time, read the Word, and then leave the house for the day. You might not
have heard anything by then, but because you've faithfully sought the
Lord that morning, you've developed your sensitivity in your spirit to
hear God's voice. And in the midst of your circumstance, be it in class,
or a situation on campus, or in the office, the Lord may speak to you or
show you things highly pertinent to your situation!
There is such a thing as drainage. We are encouraged to be filled with
the Spirit on a daily basis. But there are things in the world that may
case that anointing to drain off until we become as dry as a dead river
bed, unable to bring life to anyone! It can be that magazine under your
mattress, that relationship that is not of God, a particular lifestyle
that causes you to sin constantly. God spoke to the prophets in the Old
(and New) Testament because they were friends with God. Love of the
world puts you at enmity with God.
Several years ago, the moment I learned that I can
learn to hear God's voice for myself, I went crazy and began to look up
all the teachings I could find, all the sermon tapes of as many television
and radio ministries I could find. Now some of them did have good content,
and some were not exactly anointed of the Lord!
I must have spent several hundred dollars total on tape series, books,
etc. and ended up hearing... well, nothing.
This was very disturbing, as I couldn't just ship all these tapes and
books back and complain, "Hey! I want my money back!".
But then the Lord brought a little conviction. He showed me that I was
pursuing so hard to hear the spoken Word of the Lord that I was not
going to listen to anything from Him that was not His audible voice. So I
repented and told the Lord, "Okay. From now on, I'll be open to any
way You wish to speak through me." And then, just like that, I began to
Only it wasn't quite like what I wanted to hear! One day, I got on a
bus on my way to work. The bus was so full of kids that I had to stand on
the stairwell. I heard this little kid talk to the driver. "Yeah," he
said, "and the doctors said that because my shoulder's broken, that
cartilege will set in the fracture and then when my arm's healed, it will
be about an inch longer."
Ouch. That's not easy to live with. My heart beat with a desire to pray
for this kid, but I couldn't possibly do it in front of all those other
kids! So I prayed this very pioused religious-sounding prayer that sounds
a lot like some of these television preachers! "Dear God! I pray... that
You will send Your witness to this boy, to pray for
the healing of his shoulder."
And the Lord replied, "What a great idea... why don't you go
pray for him?"
At first, I was going to say, "No, Lord!!!!" but resolved to swallow
and say, "Okay, Lord, but You gotta give me an opening--!" And at that,
the bus stopped, the bus door behind me opened, and all the kids filled
out to school. And the only person left was me, the driver, and the boy! I
said, "Hey kid, c'mere. Tell me about your shoulder." So I had a chance to
pray for the kid and give him a cool comic-book tract.
Several weeks later, on my way to work, across the bus, I saw a little
kid waving to get my attention. "Uh, hey, remember me? The kid with the
shoulder? Er... it feels better now!"
Hallelujah! It's not so much being at the right place at the
right time but being the right person God can use. This is but one
exciting example of many others I've had of hearing God's voice. It should
be a common occurance in our Christian lives.
Also, there have been instances where God has told me, "You're going to
get this job" on my way to a job interview. You may say, "Now that's just
coincidence!" but there was one situation where the Lord told me the exact
starting salary they were going to offer me. And when I spoke with them
over the phone, that was the exact same amount that the Lord had
told me. How I had doubted - I actualy was hoping for more!
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