Is it hard for you to believe God wants to speak to you? Do you have a difficult time hearing from Him? Would you like to be more confident in this area of your life?
The topic we are highlighting is an essential element of the Christian life—finding God’s direction and taking the right steps along that path. It makes perfect sense that because this is such a basic part of our lives in the Lord, He would be gracious enough to speak to us and guide us. He does speak, and He will continue to do so—regularly.
Even so, hearing from God is not always a simple matter for you and me.
Deciphering the Message
Over the last few days, I have been re-reading a helpful little booklet written nearly forty years ago by my father-in-law, Don Basham. (It is out of print now, so I felt the liberty to borrow its title for this letter: “Hearing from God.”) There is an anecdote in its introduction that shows how Christians can sometimes make a mistake in this process.
Don tells the story of a young farmer—a new convert who decided to become an evangelist. Looking up into the sky one day, he prayed, “God, show me how I can serve You best.” The young man took it as a sign from God when he saw two clouds form the letters P and C. Assuming this meant he was to go and “preach Christ,” he shelled out big money to rent a hall and buy advertisements for his upcoming evangelistic services.
When not one person attended his services, he complained to the Lord: “God, I saw Your sign in the sky, but when I tried to obey, nothing happened.” God replied, “Son, those letters P and C didn’t mean preach Christ. They meant plant corn.” Don’s conclusion: “We not only need to hear from God, but we need to hear clearly and correctly.”
Along with our own misinterpretations, a formidable obstacle to hearing “clearly and correctly” from God is the active opposition from the enemy of our souls, Satan. He will go to any length imaginable to stop up our ears, or to turn up the distracting volume of his static, or to distort and twist the message the Lord is attempting to send to us.
I recently heard a statement made by Lisa, the co-pastor of a church in the Toronto area. What she said as I was watching the Alive Church service on YouTube was so profound that I immediately wrote it down. Here is the statement I noted: “The enemy’s goal is to position himself between God’s voice and your ear.” Isn’t that so true?
As much as we might desire to hear God speaking to us, it is not always an easy matter in our walk with Jesus. However, the Bible is full of promises from the Lord about His faithfulness to lead us and guide us. One of my favorites is found in Isaiah 30:21.
A Solid Promise
“Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 is a great passage to cite when praying for friends who are seeking God’s direction.
In his effective teaching on the promises of God, Derek Prince often pointed out that many of them are conditional, such as this promise from an earlier part of Isaiah: “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” Or this one, spoken by Jesus in Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Enjoying the good of the land is conditional upon our willingness and obedience. Spending time with Jesus is conditional upon hearing His voice and opening up to Him.
Ironically, in regard to the Isaiah 30:21 promise, there is no condition. It states unequivocally: “Your ears will hear a voice behind you.” Of course, that presupposes that you and I will decide to listen. My fellow DPM worker, John Rust, made this insightful comment. “Scripture tells us to incline our ear to hear the Lord’s voice, which is the best choice. But we can recline our ear (leaning away from Him) or decline our ear (refusing to hear Him at all).” Nonetheless, God’s promise is true: we will hear a voice.
How We Can Be Sure
Is the Lord stirring something in you right now? Derek Prince taught often and well about the importance of God speaking to us. With a wide array of teaching, Derek portrayed hearing from God as a vital need in our lives. He also provided practical insights on how we can hear “clearly and correctly” as we mentioned previously. Here are some of his comments from week two of his radio series, “Hearing God’s Voice.”
How can we be sure that it really was God’s voice we heard? A very important question—and there are three important ways in which we should look for confirmation.
First, agreement with Scripture. The Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture. The Holy Spirit is the one who brings God’s voice to us. The Holy Spirit will never contradict Himself. He will never say something to us individually that disagrees with what He has already said in Scripture.
Second, the confirmation of circumstance. Sometimes God asks us to do something strange or unexpected. We’re wondering whether it really is God, and then the situation works out in such a way that we know that God foresaw it and had it all prepared.
Third, God’s peace arbitrating in our hearts. This means God’s peace is the umpire—the arbiter within. When we’ve heard God’s voice correctly and are acting in accordance with God’s will, we have God’s peace. But if God withdraws His peace and we are restless and pressured and prone to be hasty, then we need to pause and be very sure before we go further.
Listening and Responding
It may be that you are doing just fine in this area. You are hearing the Lord regularly, and you are responding appropriately to His voice. However, for many of us, it may not be going quite so well. We need to renew this area of listening and responding to His promise that we will “hear a voice behind us.” Let’s ask Him now for His help.
Dear Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your steadfast promise to speak to me. I sincerely want to improve my ability to hear Your voice of guidance, and to follow Your directions for every aspect of my life. Help me, dear Lord.
Today, with this prayer, I ask You to refresh this area of my relationship with You. I take a new step toward You right now, and I deliberately open my ears to hear Your matchless voice more clearly and correctly than ever.
Thank You, Lord, for the promise of hearing You speak. Amen.
Affirming His Promise
Isn’t it amazing that you and I can ask the Lord to refresh various areas of our lives, knowing He will do just what we have asked? Let’s mark today in our minds and hearts as a day of renewal. What you and I have just done to affirm His promise is pivotal for our futures. When we increasingly hear His voice guiding our steps, everything changes!
We are so honored to partner with you in the request you have placed before the Lord today. If we can supply material from Derek Prince on the role of God’s voice in our lives and the importance of responding in faith, it would be our greatest pleasure. For your first step, you may want to download the teaching from which Derek’s quote was taken: week two of “Hearing God’s Voice.” It is yours just by using the link below, and we offer it to you with our love and gratitude for your prayers and your wonderful support. Thank you!
He Will Be Gracious
Whenever I study a passage of Scripture like the one we have discussed here, Isaiah 30:21, I always try to discover the context from the passages leading up to it. In this case, I began my reading in chapter one of Isaiah, and it was a rich study.
But just prior to verse 21 of chapter 30, my eyes fell on verses 18 and 19, which also carry some uplifting promises and thoughts. “Therefore, the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.” (What amazing words of comfort—His gracious mercy poured out upon us.)
Then, we see some further truths in the latter part of verse 19: “He [God] will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.” Not only do we have the promise that we will hear His gracious voice behind us; we also have the rock-solid assurance that He will hear our cry and answer us.
Not only does God speak to us; when we call to Him, He graciously answers our cry. What a wonderful, completed cycle of the entire process of hearing from God!
All the best,
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