Hearing From God
What is God trying to tell you? Why can’t you hear Him? What does He sound like? Let’s discuss…
How Does God Speak?
Before we get started, read these three chapters:
So… how does God speak to us?
It changes according to the situation.
Elijah, a prophet, heard from God a lot. God spoke to him in many different ways while trying to get King Ahab to stop worshiping other gods. For example:
He speaks through required action.
He told Elijah to tell the King that there would be a drought as a result of his actions (1 Kings 17:1). This was probably a very frightening thing for Elijah to do… after all, it was the KING! But when God talks to us by telling us that He wants us to do something, the best thing to do is listen.
He speaks through provision.
Often times, God speaks to us by providing for our needs. He did this for Elijah while he was fleeing from the wrath of the King. He sent a Raven to bring him food (1 Kings 17:2-7). Later, after the water dried up, he sent him to the house of a widow in a village called Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8-15). Even though she didn’t have much, she obeyed the word of God’s prophet Elijah and fed him. Then something amazing happened…
He speaks through miracles.
Every day she went to her supply jar for the ingredients she needed to make bread, it was full! God provided a seemingly endless supply of food for her, her son, and Elijah (1 Kings 17:16). Pretty cool right? Sometimes God speaks to us by doing something miraculous in our lives! Let’s keep going…
Unfortunately, while Elijah was living there, the widow’s son became sick and he died. But again, God stepped in. Read how God spoke to Elijah by using him to do something miraculous: 1 Kings 17:17-24.
(BTW, not to get ahead, but this was pretty cool too: 1 Kings 18:46)
He speaks through disaster.
Often times we find ourselves longing for a time when we felt like we could hear God’s “voice” clearly in our lives. Like when you first became a Christian? Or right after a meaningful spiritual experience when His will for your life was so evident? At the first sign of trouble, we freak out if we don’t hear Him quickly…
Well, Elijah was no different. He was so used to hearing from God that, at the first sign of trouble, he freaked out when God didn’t immediately step in the way he “used” to. After Elijah had proven God’s sovereignty at the showdown with the “prophets” of Baal (1 Kings 18:18-40), Jezebel vowed to kill him (1 Kings 19:1-2).
As Elijah fled for his life, God again provided for his needs. However, in his panic, Elijah didn’t notice that God was taking care of him (1 Kings 19:3-7). Does that sound familiar? Elijah was too busy trying to find that “mountain-top” experience again. Where was he going? The famous Mount Sinai! (1 Kings 19:8-9) (If you don’t know why that is important, read this: Exodus 19)
Finally, Elijah arrived at the top of the mountain, the place where he “knew” God could be found. And what did God say to him? “Dude, what the heck are you doing here?” (or something like that: 1 Kings 19:9) As Elijah waited to hear from God what he should do, God demonstrated to him that sometimes He chooses to speak to us in ways we do not expect. Elijah expected God to speak to him like He did to Moses (Exodus 19:16-20), but God dispelled those assumptions with a demonstration: 1 Kings 19:11-12. So among all of the different things Elijah witnessed, how did God speak to him?
What Does He Sound Like?
A still small voice.
God spoke to Elijah in a whisper (1 Kings 19:12-13). Wow. Elijah was expecting him to be in the tornado, the earthquake, or the fire. But instead, God spoke to him in a still, small voice. So often that is how God speaks to us today. A subtle tug or suggestion… something you might miss if you weren’t paying attention. Obviously, God isn’t speaking audibly when he does so (although some people claim that He does). So what does the “whisper” sound like?
The 4 ways God speaks.
God speaks to us through these main channels (in no particular order):
- The Holy Spirit (that little tug you feel in your chest)
- Other people (a suggestion from a friend)
- The Bible (after all, it is literally “God’s Word”)
- Our Circumstances (where one door closes, another door opens)
How Do You Hear Him?
So how do we make sure that we hear Him when He whispers?
Ask… and then listen.
Pray. A conversation is a two way street. How can you expect to talk with God if you make Him do all the talking? (Habakkuk 1:2-5)
Listen. Seriously, Habakkuk went up into a watchtower. What can you do in a watchtower? Nothing. Except sit there and listen. (Habakkuk 2:1-2)
Finally, if you are still having trouble hearing from God, try this: Examine your life. If you have known, unconfessed sin in your life, it is probably the source of the static. Remember, we are called to live Holy lives. No one is perfect, but the “quest” for purity is expected. God and sin don’t mix. There are plenty of verses in the Bible that call for purity, but Hebrews 12 is one of my favorites.
- Be pure so that you do not have to endure discipline for long: Hebrews 12:1-13.
- We aren’t looking for miraculous signs and wonders as we listen for God, that is part of the “old” covenant: Hebrews 12: 18-22.
- In the “new” covenant, we have the Holy Spirit! We are now a part of the “things that will not be shaken.” If that’s not exciting, I don’t know what is: Hebrews 12:25-29.
Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below…