As I’ve written before, I believe that God is constantly speaking. Many Christians have the misperception that God only speaks to some people; but as we looked at in the first part of this study, we know from John 10 that His sheep hear His voice, therefore if you are His sheep then it stands to reason that you can expect to hear His voice.
Throughout the Bible we see a speaking God who dialogues with His people.
*We are sons and daughters of a loving Father: “I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18) – Isnt it usual for fathers and children to talk to each other?
*We are the bride of Christ; (Ephesians 5:23-32) – husbands and wives communicate with each other, do they not?
*We aren’t slaves or servants but welcomed by God as friends; (John 15:15) – friends talk together!
So why then, do some Christians struggle to hear God, or hold to the belief that He only speaks to a select few?
I believe there are many reasons why people think they “can’t” hear God. So before we look at positioning ourselves to hear Him I just want to very briefly touch on a few of those possible reasons:
*Sometimes it’s simply that we are not listening.
The not listening is, in itself can be quite complex;
*Some people genuinely don’t know how to listen for God’s voice, because they come from a more conservative church background where “that sort of thing” is frowned upon or dismissed as “not for today.”
*Some are just too busy and caught up with their own stuff.
*Some only seek His God occasionally, a kind of “knee-jerk” seeking – when they’re going through a crisis or facing a major life decision.
Those who hear God frequently tend to be the ones who intentionally seek Him, with a purpose and longing in their own heart to connect with the Father that echoes the longing in His.
*Sometimes there’s a deeper issue and the not listening is a conscience choice – the equivalent of the child who puts his fingers in his ears and goes “la-la-la” – perhaps because of an unhealthy fear of God, or a misperception of the nature of God or maybe we simply don’t want to hear what God has to say.
On the whole I think I could say that most of us have longed, and do long to hear God more. If this is you, I’d like to share with you what God has been teaching me about how to “position myself” to hear Him better.
1. By Encountering Jesus in Scripture
Hebrews 1:1–2 “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
Jesus, God’s only son was God’s ultimate, definitive loving way of opening up the lines of communication between us and Himself.
If you want to encounter God – hear Him speak, know what He is like – the foremost place you will meet Him is by encountering the person Jesus through reading the Bible. Jesus reveals God to us; By observing everything Jesus said and did we see who God is. We see the nature of God as we look at Jesus’ character – His words, His deeds, the way He responded to people. Because Jesus was/is God. When He was on this earth He was God in the flesh.
Jesus said it Himself: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.John 14:9
And though it would be logical to assume that the best and perhaps only place to encounter Jesus would be through reading the four gospels, those are not the only books of the Bible where we find Jesus; God reveals Jesus to us from Genesis to Revelation;
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3
The Old Testament is filled with messianic prophecies, from Genesis 3:15 onwards, and Revelation ends with Jesus, the Lamb of God in His rightful place on His throne. If anyone has any questions pertaining to His divine nature, Jesus clearly states: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22:13
The Bible is all about Jesus! And it’s the place to encounter God.
2. Through Reading The Word of God (The Bible)
While I believe with all my heart that God still speaks audibly and in other ways (we’ll be looking at this in another blog post) just as He spoke to people in Biblical times, I also believe without a doubt that the Bible is the written Word of God and that the primary way He speaks to us is through His Word: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
If I am looking for answers, I don’t have to wait around, longing for God to speak, because the Bible is a treasury of God’s instructions for life: “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend” Proverbs 7:1–4
Everything we need to know about God is in there. If it isn’t there, we don’t need to know it. All we need, to help us in our relationship with God, our interpersonal relationships and our day to day living is laid out clearly for us. Okay, of course The Bible isn’t going to tell you how to fix the fanbelt in your car, or other practical crises that can distract and cause us stress. But we are told in Matthew 6:33 to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added (to you).” And the Psalmist says in Psalm 121:1-2
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
In my own experience, at times when everything seems to be kicking off around me, and, instead of focussing on those things, I have actively sought out God’s presence and company instead, spending quality time with Him, those are the times I have been filled with peace about my circumstances and most often they are the times when God has just turned the situation around in the most unexpected ways.
Hebrews 4:12 tell us that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
God is not silent; All we need to do is open the Bible and discover all that He has to say to us!
3. Spending Time in His Presence
How do we get to know anyone? By communicating with them. By communication I mean dialogue – talking and listening. Without real dialogue there’s no real relationship. This is what God wants with us.
I love the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 because it’s a reminder to me when I find myself getting caught up with the “stuff” of life, to follow Mary’s example.
While Martha stressed about all she had to do, clucking around like a mother hen, Mary contented herself with sitting at the feet of Jesus, taking in His every word, enjoying His company. And Jesus said of her “Mary has chosen the good portion.”
Mary positioned herself to fellowship with, and dialogue with Jesus.
He’s Still The Same God – He Never Changes!
Right from the start, in Genesis, when God walked with Adam in the garden, it has been God’s desire to talk with us.
God is the same, “yesterday today and forever”, He doesn’t change. He’s still the God who talks to his children.
Admittedly there were times that God spoke to people in the Bible who were not actively seeking Him. For example the first time Moses heard God he was out in the desert minding sheep. How far he’d come, from being Prince of Egypt, brought up in privilege and splendour, to slumming it in the heat and dust of the wilderness, caring for sheep. I don’t see anywhere in my Bible that says Moses was seeking God. It looks to me as though the last thing Moses was expecting that was for The Lord to speak directly to him. But after that first burning bush encounter with God in the wilderness, dialogue between God and Moses began to grow and developed. Moses did actively seek God, regularly and God even entrusted His Words to Moses – large portions of the Bible as we know it today are attributed to Moses.
When you think about it that way, the first time God ever spoke to you, you didn’t know Him either did you? You must have heard His voice though, if you are a child of God today, even if it was just that still small voice inside, wooing you, convicting you of your need of Jesus. Perhaps when He called your name you didn’t even realise that was God speaking to you, you just felt something deep inside that you couldn’t explain, that was actually God saying something like this to you: “Come now, let us reason together, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Isaiah 1:18
“let us reason together” – it speaks of dialogue, doesn’t it?
If it feels as though you don’t hear Him; as though your conversation is one-sided, try applying the three simple steps above.
We are promised in God’s own Word in James 4:8 – “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.“
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