The Bible shares with us a lot of what God said and did in ancient times, how collective people and individuals in the past responded to His spoken word. Is learning from what God said in the past sufficient? Isn’t reading the Bible and hearing the written word quoted the same as hearing God’s voice? What is so important about us actually hearing God’s ‘voice’ today?
Questions like these often generate subsequent thoughts. “How does anyone really hear the voice of God and receive His thoughts? Can each of us truly hear His voice?”
Reading and hearing about what God ‘has’ said is very helpful. We can learn much about God’s character, attitude and personality (CAP) attributes. However, it is not the same as hearing His voice for yourself and your specific situation.
Unfortunately, the written words of Scripture can be misunderstood, misinterpreted, mistranslated, and used to convey questionable teachings. Translators are subject to the understanding of their time. In many places our Bibles differ from the original writings of Scripture. This is one good reason why we need to ‘hear’ God speak specifically to us.
We need to ‘hear’ God speak specifically to us.
Hearing God’s Word of Guidance
While Scripture records how the “word of the Lord came” to people (a), it also instructs us to “hear the word of the Lord” for ourselves (b). [See end notes for all Scriptures] God wants to ‘lead and guide’ each of us through this life experience, beyond what we were able to hear yesterday (c). What God has said in the past may not be what He wants to say about today’s particular situation.
Many times God spoke to individuals and groups, then, depending on their response, He spoke a different word of direction. Here are two examples from Scripture. God directed Abraham to slay His son; then as Abraham obeyed, God said don’t do what I previously asked (d). God directed Israel to go into Canaan and take the Promised Land but their unbelief caused the word of the Lord to change (e).
Additionally, the guidance God gave to our physical or spiritual parent may not be appropriate for us or our generation. God always has more for us and continually draws us higher. Do we settle for past experiences, deliverances, revivals, and revelations? Or, are we actively becoming more Christ-like and living more godly lives? God is continually speaking; are we listening?
What God has said in the past may not be what He wants to say about today’s situation.
God’s Interpretive Voice
There is another important reason why we should hear for ourselves. God’s voice can convey emotion and lend interpretive intent to His words. Scripture rarely notes what emotional emphasis was in God’s voice; so we ask, were His words spoken matter-of-factly, as stern commands, or as inspiring enticements?
Consider the Ten Commandments. Moses and all Israel heard God speak ten enlightening instructions for living as godly people (f). The Hebrew word dabar may be translated inappropriately as ‘command’ and ‘commandment.’ The Hebrew simply means ‘word’ and is used in Scripture nearly 2500 times. The KJV translated it into eighty five different English words. What were God’s intentions?
Most everyone has heard the “Ten Words” repeated and taught as stern commands, as though God said ‘do this or else!’ Based on our heavenly Father’s nature—He is Love (g), we can appropriately ask; did God speak these words as stern commands or as inspiring enticements? Without hearing, who really knows? By simply listening, we are open to hear God’s interpretive voice.
God’s voice can convey emotion and lend interpretive intent to His words.
Personally Hearing God Speak
How does anyone hear God speak today? While some report hearing the voice of God with the natural ear, most say they simply sense new or inspiring thoughts. One way to describe how we hear God speak is telepathy, which means: communication between minds; the ability to know or share what is in another’s mind; the transfer of thoughts or ideas without words or other signals.
The book Created to Relate explains how the ‘spirit of life’ comes from God, is in every person, and enables us to personally hear God speak. We can hear God speak to us anytime and anywhere; while listening to a speaker or music, meditating, resting, reading, and while in conversation. God can simply place, quicken, and amplify thoughts in our mind. Where do you suppose inspiration comes from?
How do you know a new thought is from God? The best way is to be very personal with Him. While anyone can sense inspiring thoughts, the more we relate to God as our insightful Father and relate to His heart-beat (h), the easier it is to recognize His voice.
The more we relate to God’s heart-beat, the easier it is to recognize His voice.
Interacting with God Today
In light of this, you may ask; “How do I begin to hear God’s voice?”
- It helps to understand that God actually wants to interact with you!
- Be open to hearing and receiving His guiding influence.
- To speed up the process, simply begin to ask, seek, and knock.
God really wants to be the inspirational guiding light of our life in this earth! Are you hearing Him speak to you, quickening a word of insight or direction? Do you sense His guidance regarding situations in your life? God really does care about our spiritual ‘and’ natural activity.
Especially in this fast-paced generation, we simply need to stop and listen for God’s voice right where we are. When we are attentive, the word we sense God speak becomes very personal. We all tend to take possession of what we hear deep within. Experiencing intimacy with our God improves everything!
When we are attentive, the word we sense God speak becomes very personal.
a) 1 Kings 16:1; 2 Chronicles 11:2; 1 Samuel 15:10; Jonah 1:1; Haggai 2:20; Joel 1:1; b) Jeremiah 22:29; Ezekiel 34:47; 37:4; Joshua 3:9; c) John 16:13; Psalms 31:3; d) Genesis 22:1-3, 10-12; e) Numbers 14:1-24; f) Deuteronomy 5:22-26; 1 John 4:8, 16; h) John 14:6