I have been reading The Barbarian Way by Erwin Raphael McManus which is an excellent book. I realize that it was written a few years ago, but I just got a copy from a local bookstore to read with my son as a discipleship tool. I was hoping that God would use the book in his life to help him in his walk with the Lord. God allowed me to think that I was getting the book for him…HA! God wanted me to read the book to challenge me in so many areas of my life it is not even funny. God is like that, isn’t He? He leads you to help someone else, all the while wanting to teach you something new or to convict you of sin in your own life or even to cause you to move in a new direction.
The one area that truly captured my attention while reading Dr. McManus’ book was a discussion that he had with his son about hearing the voice of God. The reason this passage of the book caught my attention is that so many people have asked me about this subject over the years in counseling or just in the ministry.
This past weekend in our Bible study class, we read a passage in Mark where God spoke audibly about Jesus to Peter, James, and John. I know that Moses spent forty days on top of Mount Sinai conversing with God the entire time. Adam and Eve had the privilege of communing with God in the Garden each day. Abraham had strict instructions from God on several occasions, which I believe came from audible conversations. In the Old Testament, it seems that God spoke audibly where now He doesn’t. But the major difference is that we have the Holy Spirit residing in us, while the Spirit of God rested on people during the days before Christ’s ascension and the giving of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The dynamics of our relationships with God are different in our day that in the Old Testament days. Yet, the author of Hebrews quotes David from the Book of Psalms by saying, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” He actually uses the quote twice in two different chapters, so the principle of hearing God’s voice must be as important for us as it was for the Biblical heroes of our faith.
So how do we hear the voice of God? Is there a magical formula that must be followed? What if we do the same thing that we had done the last time we heard God’s voice, but we do not hear it this time?
Hearing God’s voice comes from having an intimate relationship with God on a daily basis. God speaks to us through His word as well as through other believers along with some circumstances. God primarily speaks through His Spirit which resides in us using, as Dr. McManus describes, a voice that sounds much like our own. God’s instruction will always line up with the truth of His Word and the principles of who He is. God can never contradict Himself. God is speaking to us. Are we listening? When we begin to ignore the Voice of God is when our hearts begin to harden. I pray that today you have a soft, pliable heart for God to speak to and then to use.
Psalms 95:7-9 (NASB)
7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
9 “When your fathers tested Me, They tried Me, though they had seen My work.