Hearing God’s Voice #5

Hearing God’s Voice #5
Don’t Speak Presumptuously

Last week we looked at Deuteronomy 18:20-22, where a false prophet has a few definitions, including someone who “speaks presumptuously in His Name.” A while back, I discovered this fantastic passage in 1 Samuel. God told Samuel to go and anoint the new king who would replace Saul. Samuel wasn’t sure who he was looking for, as God had chosen to withhold that information and only tell him which family to visit.

As we have discussed before, knowing God’s voice involves knowing Him. Samuel was the prophet of the day, and he knew how to hear God’s voice since he was a young boy (see 1 Samuel chapter 3 for his details!) In this passage we find that even God’s prophet has the temptation to look at the flesh instead of listening to God’s voice! These verses explain Samuel’s first reaction upon meeting the family.

When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, ‘Surely, the LORD’s anointed is before Him‘” (1 Samuel 16:6).

What was Samuel using here? Was he practicing his senses, like Hebrews 5:14 says? No, he was using his eyes and his reason, his mind. Luke 5:22 says, “But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning in your hearts?’” We must look past our own reasoning and logic skills to hear His voice more clearly. This is why we must flee from fleshly lusts. Let us listen past our own minds to hear Him!

Right after Samuel looked with his eyes and used his reason to believe that Eliab was God’s choice for king, God interrupted his thoughts! (How blessed Samuel must have been…the rest of us might have to listen a lot harder before we hear His interruption!) Here’s 1 Samuel 16:7:

But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

This is such a great passage. First, Samuel looked on his own to determine who the king would be. His first reaction was that it must be Eliab! Why not? He was the oldest, he was apparently good-looking. What more could you want in a king? It’s a good thing that Samuel did not choose to speak presumptuously at this point! I think we all have assumed things to be from the Lord when in fact they are actually from ourselves and our own reasoning. But we must wait until we hear God’s voice instead of our own.

Just think of what might have happened if Samuel spoke and anointed Eliab instead of his brother David! First of all, it would have been a disobedient move that would have separated him from the voice of God. Secondly, just imagine the family strife that would occur when David appeared and God said, “Uh…Samuel, this was the right one, not him!” Lastly, because the Lord specifically said, “I have rejected him,” (1 Samuel 16:7) of Eliab, if Samuel had anointed him, Israel would have another terrible king! Yikes!

After God interrupted Samuel’s thoughts, he proceeded to look upon the rest of Jesse’s sons.

Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, ‘The LORD has not chosen this one either.’ Next Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, ‘The LORD has not chosen this one either.’ Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The LORD has not chosen these’” (1 Samuel 16:8-10).

It must have been difficult for Samuel to keep saying no to Jesse concerning each of his sons. But instead of considering them, he waited upon the Lord. When all the sons had passed by, it appears that Samuel was confused. “And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are these all the children?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep’” (1 Samuel 16:11).

So today’s lesson summed up: When you simply look with the eyes and reason with your mind, you may not be hearing God accurately. Wait for Him to speak and then speak the same.

 

Prayer for Readers: 11-14-11

“So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart,
To walk in their own devices.
Oh that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!
I would quickly subdue their enemies
And turn My hand against their adversaries.”
(Psalm 81:12-14)

Oh Lord,
According to Your Word, I pray that we, Your people, would listen to You! I pray that our ears would be open, that the eyes of our hearts will be enlightened by Your light (Ephesians 1:18). May we not be as disobedient children, running to other gods when You are so near (Deuteronomy 4:7). Since You are so close, so near to us, may we draw near to You, walk in Your ways and not our own, in Jesus’ Name! Thank You for Your promises that You will subdue our enemies as we draw near to You and listen to Your voice. May we honor and love You with pure hearts, that we may walk on Your holy hill (see Psalm 24).

Father, I pray that we will not be so drawn to answer the stubbornness of our hearts instead of listening for Your voice of truth. May we walk in Your ways as You long for us to do! I ask for intimacy in the hearts of Your children. Just as a good father disciplines his children because they have gone astray, he does not save them from the consequences of his actions because they are consequences. But as the child listens to and obeys the father, he will save his children from their enemies, in whatever form they come. Thank You Father, I pray we will truly walk in Your ways! Thank You that You are so near to us, may we remember how near You are–You are never far, praise the Lord!

 

For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God
whenever we call on Him?
(Deuteronomy 4:7)

Answer to: What is a Powerful Prophecy You Like in the Bible

In response to the question I asked you last week, “What is a powerful prophecy for you in the Bible,” I’m going to give my own opinion!

My favorite prophecy in the Bible is found in Revelation 21 & Isaiah 60. It is a short description of part of our future life in the heavenly Jerusalem.

I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its lights, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it…” (Revelation 21:22-26).

& here is the corresponding Scripture in Isaiah 60:19

No longer will you have the sun for light by day, Nor for brightness will the moon give you light; But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And your God for your glory.”

Wow. Take a moment and picture that! I cannot imagine the pure beauty of light being only from God! We won’t need the sun or lamps or the moon or candles or light bulbs! No, the only light we need will come straight from the glory of God and the Lamb (Jesus Christ!) Have you ever noticed references to God being as “light” throughout the Bible? Turns out that this is not only symbolic talk–it’s fact and we will see it in the New Jerusalem!

Let me share a couple of examples:

  •  “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5)
  • Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105)
  • For You light my lamp, the Lord my God illumines my darkness” (Psalm 18:28)
  • The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1)

 

Simply beautiful.

 

Next week’s question:
http://growinginjesus.polldaddy.com/s/what-s-your-favorite-book-of-the-bible-why?iframe=1

Learning God’s Voice #4

A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him,
because they do not know the voice of strangers

(John 10:5)
.

Perhaps right now you think you may know the voice of strangers better than you know the voice of Jesus. Maybe you are much more familiar with the voices of your culture, greed, anger, hopelessness and failure. This makes it especially difficult to know God’s voice. If this is you, my recommendation is to turn off the TV, turn off the movies & the music. Then “turn on” the Bible. The only way you can become familiar with the voice of Jesus and know how to recognize Him is if you start reading His words regularly and becoming very familiar with what He has said all throughout the Bible. Jesus is “the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God(John 1:1). Read what has already been written. No one else can do this for you.

God says that we must train our senses to know good from evil (see Hebrews 5:14). The pastor can’t do it for you. Your mom can’t do it for you, neither can your teachers, friends or mentors. Only you can make sure that you devote adequate time and energy to learning His voice, His character and His truth within Scripture. As you do this, you will learn when He is speaking elsewhere to you because He will never contradict what He has already written in His Word! Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie.” And, of course Jesus will speak using His words spoken in the past, because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever(Hebrews 13:8).

Learning God’s Voice #3

As you grow in the knowledge of God and becoming better at “having ears to hear” what He is saying, you may begin to put what He is saying to you in paragraph form.

This style of hearing God and recording what you hear Him say has recently become more popular with the book, “Jesus Calling,” by Sarah Young. The author heard about hearing God’s voice everyday and writing it down. I learned how to do this before I saw her book, and was thrilled when I learned of it! I also have a copy of a delightful book, “Come Away, My Beloved,” by Francis J. Roberts which is also filled with words from the Lord. Every time I pray and ask God to speak through that book as I open to a random page, God speaks directly to my thoughts and worries using what Francis recorded years ago.

This is also a terrific way to hear God’s voice- through the writings of other Christians who have heard Him speak. My personal prayer journals are filled with quotes from “Come Away, My Beloved,” because I often will open it when I am longing for God’s voice, and He always speaks accordingly. I’m sure the Lord can use that or any devotional book to speak right to your heart concerning your own thoughts & circumstances. After all, “The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; from His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works(Psalm 33:13-15) and God “alone know[s] the hearts of all the sons of men” (1 Kings 8:29).

But not only can you hear Him through the writings of others, but you can record what you hear, too! When I want to hear His voice (of when I already sense that He is speaking to me) I ask Him to speak as I have a pen in hand. Usually, He starts to remind me of Bible verses or He gives me a short phrase, and then the words start to flow. Scripture is, of course, “God-breathed,” and He has already spoken to us with the Bible. (It is called “the word of God!”)

This is one reason that it is incredibly important to read the Bible and become very familiar with it. If you do not know the word, you have nothing to hold on to, nothing to anchor you to the truth and prove that you are indeed hearing God’s voice and not another. As Jesus said, “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers(John 10:5).

God has spoken many times when I stop and listen. He reminds me of Scripture & I write it from His perspective. Often wheat He tells me can relate to many Christians; sometimes it is very specific to my life.

Here are two examples of what God has spoken to me in this way:

10/23/2011
Oh, I love you, daughter! You are Mine and I am holding you so close, close to my heart. Feel my heart beat, it is so full of love for you and for the world. It is burning with desire to know and be known by My people. I am full, full of love. You are Mine and I am so close. My protection is on you, stop worrying about worldly dangers! I send My angels for protection. Oh daughter, My heart is yours, I am for you. My heart is full of love for you, relax in My arms. I am holding you.”

 In just that paragraph there are a plethora of Scriptures referred to! Here are some I’ve found:

Deuteronomy 33:27
The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms

Deuteronomy 1:31
the LORD your God carried you, just as a man carries his son

Isaiah 43:1
You are Mine!

Psalm 91:11
For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.

Galatians 4:9
you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God

Matthew 6:31
Do not worry then

So you can see how Scripture is of utmost importance when listening for God to speak!

Here is another example of God speaking in my life. This time it was right after I read a certain Bible verse. As you can see below, I asked Him for clarity, and then He so graciously responded!

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March 30, 2010

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you…Isaiah 30:18

Some versions say “longs” instead of “waits”

 Lord, do You like delayed gratification? I know I do…probably a bit too much. Help me to balance. Also Lord God please help me realize that You wait to be gracious to me—You wait for the perfect timing, for all things to be positioned so that it will all work together for my good!
                       

[God speaking]

I long to be gracious to you My child. But there is a time and a place. All things have their seasons, and a season of waiting will only bring you more gratification once you receive My gracious gift at the right time. All things work together for good for you because you love and Me and because I have called you according to My purposes. Remember, I am waiting to be gracious to you.”

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You can even see in this example how it is mostly Bible verses woven together:

Isaiah 30:18-Romans 8:28-Ecclesiastes 3

 

Now you try it! Stop, listen for the Lord & ask for Him to speak while you wait with a pen and paper (or a computer screen!) If you don’t hear Him right away, pray and open the Word or a nearby Christian book. He can use so many avenues to speak. Then share here if you get anything!

My Recommendations for books for learning to hear God’s voice: