Dr. Tan Kok Beng
God has promised that He will answer us when we call Him:
Call unto Me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3
Since God is answering our call, it is imperative that we need to hear him in addition to developing a sensitivity to see, feel and recognize His answers. Hearing God’s voice needs certain changes and preparation in the life of any individual who wants to follow his Master. Missionary preparation demands that this aspect is well grounded in all of us.
Age and Gender No Barrier to Hear God’s Voice
At a very young age, Samuel learned to hear God’s audible voice (1 Samuel 3). That changed his life and Samuel would never be the same person again.
Hearing God is an integral part of the Christian life. How can we know God’s will if we don’t hear Him?
The Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice; I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
An Attitude of Expectancy
To hear God is to adopt an attitude of expectancy in listening to Him.
We can listen while reading God’s Holy Word daily. He will speak to our heart through the inner ear of the spirit man. But we must expect to hear Him; then we will hear His voice speaking inside us.
The prophet said,
The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the Word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears… (Isaiah 50: 4-5).
Hearing and Listening Should Lead to Obedience So That We Hear More From Him!
To hear or listen also means to respond in obedience to what we hear. When God speaks and we don’t respond, then He may not speak to us again. That may be the reason why many Christians have not heard or are not hearing God speaking to them.
Many times God warned His people in the wilderness:
If you hear His voice, harden not your Hearts. (Hebrews 3:7)
Our Lord said that His true disciples are those who “continue in My Word” (John 8:31). This word continue also means “to hold on” or “to obey His Word.”
God Speaks to Us Through the Holy Spirit
God speaks to us also by His Holy Spirit. He does this by the rhema Word of God. When we “walk in the Spirit” and keep in step with Him (Galatians 5:16, 25). He will speak to us in His “still small voice.” The Lord said, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The words be still means “to cease from all our strivings” and listen to what the Spirit is saying. It was while in prayer that Peter heard the Spirit speaking (Acts 10:19). While the leaders a t Antioch were worshipping and ministering to the Lord, the Holy Spirit spoke to give direction (Acts 13:1-4).
What Is It Meant by “To Be Led by the Spirit”?
“To be led by the Spirit” is to hear what He is saying and follow His instructions. That is the pathway of success and victory. It is practicing the presence of God in our life.
There are several things that hinder us from hearing our Master’s voice. God is always speaking, but somehow we are not listening, or we can’t seem to be hearing His voice. The hindrances to hearing God’s voice may be due to the following reasons:
1. Our ears are dulled.
This means there is a blockage-there is “wax” in our ears. People who listen to loud rock music soon lose their sense of hearing nd become half deaf or totally deaf. This is also true spiritually: we can get so much used to hearing the wrong things so much so we cannot hear the God of truth. We hear so much negative things-internally or physically-so that we cannot discern the positive things of God and His Word.
2. Our sins dull our ears.
Sin hardens not only our hearts, it also dulls our spiritual ears. The sins of unbelief and disobedience are the main culprits. If you don’t believe you can hear God’s voice, then you will never hear. If you keep hardening your heart through disobedience then God may never speak to you again. What is the use of God speaking to you, when you have made up your mind not to obey?
3. Dulled Through Selective Hearing.
Some of us choose to be selective in our hearing and then do what we think we like. We hear only what we like and do only what we think will “benefit” us. That is dangerous.
For example, some people would line up for prophecy (like going to a fortuneteller) to hear what they like-that they will be prosperous and successful, etc. -but don’t want to hear the conditions or the rebuke. So they will go from one prophet to another to hear the “pleasant” things only. This will open the door for deception to enter into our hearts and cause us to lose our spiritual sense of direction.
God wants to speak to us and He wants us to know His perfect will. But we must be ready to listen and remove all barriers so that we can hear Him properly.
Dr. Tan Kok Beng
Bethany International University