Chances are, if you were to tell your neighbor (or close relative) that you heard God’s voice – you would get a weird look. They might even begin to investigate your mental health and wonder if you joined an off-shoot cult. Many Bible heroes must have encountered some funny looks when they shared their experience with someone else. Sarah laughed when Abraham told her what God would do and the great prophet Samuel got all mixed up and thought it was Eli calling him, not God.
There are those who claim to have asked to hear God’s voice, for a sign – and came up empty. That convinced them there must not be any God to believe in after all. But in the life of the faithful, hearing what God is saying is not just for the crazy folk. In fact, we would likely hear more than we do, if we stopped to listen.
In the Old Testament, it was a vocation to receive His Word. Through the priests and prophets, the people of God received His direction and truth. It was a special role held in high esteem, but God never limited Himself to only being heard through an elite class. But after Christ’s death on the cross and Pentecost, God completely removed the barrier. The Apostles, viewed as the authority on Jesus, worked hard to make sure believers did not think they were the only ones who could hear The Almighty. Many of the letters of the New Testament document ordinary people – both Jew, Gentile, free and slave, hearing directly from The Lord, when the Holy Spirit came upon them.
The most famous passage that declares we can all hear God’s voice is 1 Peter 2:9-10:
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.(The Message)
The belief that we are all priests, a role given to anyone who has a saving faith in Jesus, is a principle all Protestants share. Starting with Martin Luther, Protestants rejected the idea that the clergy was the only source of God’s voice and anyone could try to discern what He was saying to them.
It is a serious thing to consider hearing from God. It is not to be taken lightly because, as the prophet Isaiah points out, God’s ways and thoughts are much higher than ours. It is likely that what He has to say, you might not want to hear and could drastically change your life.
But for those undaunted, the first step is always to desire to hear from Him. He is a gentleman, so He will not force His will upon you – you must make the choice. That is when Scripture begins to take on life, different each time it is read. Other key elements to hearing from God include being still and quiet, as well as reflection and confirmation –through experience and in talking with others of the faith.
There is no one right way to seek out a Word from God but beyond having the desire, you must be reading His Word. He always starts in The Bible, so if what you hear is in conflict with what Scripture says; the message did not come from God.
The best way to start hearing from God is to simply ask and following that, wait for Him to respond. Be prepared to change because thankfully, He never leaves us as He found us.
If you have heard from God, please let me know – I would love to share your stories of what messages He has given you – to bless and encourage others in their search for God! Please email me at [email protected]