In Part 2, I will discuss about the “WHO” – How do we know if it’s the voice of God? How can we be so sure? This is probably one of the struggles that Christians have been through.
WHO – Whose voice is it? God’s? The devil’s? How do we know that it is God’s voice?
This is the most crucial thing that we need to ponder about. When you think you’ve heard the voice of God, think again. Are you sure? The devil is not stupid and often he didn’t give a “black and white” trivial choice. Remember in Genesis how the devil (through the serpent) twisted God’s words to tempt Eve? The choice sounded good to Eve at that time.
Often even a “white” option does not always lead to what God wants in us in our lives too. Even when you think your choice is to glorify His name even further, it may not always be the case. For example, you may have thought that God wants you to evangelise in a certain place. It’s good, right? It’s what He wants anyway BUT what if He actually has a different plan in you? Maybe He wants to call you to be His shepherd in a certain church? As such, it is important to be able to identify which voice comes from God and which voice comes from the devil or from your own desire/flesh.
In the Bible, Samuel in 1Samuel 3 didn’t recognize God’s voice at first because Samuel “did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” (verse 7 – ESV). At the end, he was told by Eli that it was the voice of God who’s been talking to him. He then replied to God in verse 10 – “Speak, for your servant hears.” It is important for us to follow Samuel’s example here – to say to God: “Speak, for your servant hears”. Have we ever said these words to Him – “God, please speak to me, for I want to hear Your voice, to know Your will in my life”? Or we just want to do what we want to do and we only call Him when we desperately need help?
Now, observe Abraham in Genesis 22:1-3:
1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. – NKJV
In verse 1, it’s really clear that Abraham knew God’s voice for he replied straight away when God talked to him. How amazing that is! What amazes me more is what God said to him and what he did after.
Note how God emphasized “your only son” and “whom you love”? If I were Abraham, I would definitely think “Do you even need to remind me of those, God? That he is my only son and that I’ve waited for so many years in tears and struggles for Your promise? That I love him so very much?”. Not to mention God even said to offer him on “one of the mountains“. I would probably say “Can’t God be more specific? This voice is so dodgy. Is this really from God??”. I would then probably pray, fast, or struggle for days, weeks, or years even! But what did Abraham do? He rose early in the morning and just did what the voice told him to do! Now, surely Abraham would have never done this if he wasn’t sure that the voice was God’s!
How can we be like Abraham? Well, to know that the voice we are hearing comes from God, we need to have a STRONG and PERSONAL relationship with God! Abraham has been in a close relationship with God for so many years so it is therefore, not surprising for him to recognize God’s voice that well.
Now, close your eyes for a moment and think of the closest person to you (best friend, partner, housemate, or anyone). Try to ponder for a moment about him/her and then answer these questions:
- Do you know the way he/she speaks? And also, what words that he/she often says when certain things happen or on certain events?
- Do you know what he/she likes and what he/she dislikes?
- Do you know his/her character? (ex: his/her temper, helpful, kind, patient, etc?)
- Do you know what he/she is trying to say when other people don’t understand him/her?
Sometimes we know what our best friend is trying to say even when his/her words don’t seem to make sense to others.
- Do you know when he/she is sad or happy even when he/she doesn’t tell you a thing about it?
Finish with answering these questions? The closer you are to him/her, the more you can say “Yes, I do!” to all these questions. Now, put him/her aside for a moment and replace him/her with God.
Then, answer the same questions..
- Do you know His Word (through the Bible)? Do you know He would say in your situation now? Or do you know what Jesus would have done if He is in your current situation?
- Do you know what He likes and dislikes?
- Do you know His character? (He is holy, He always fulfils His promise, He is patient, He is love, etc?)
- Do you know what He is trying to say to you even when other people mock you in disbelief? Noah believed God wholeheartedly even when he never saw a rain before and when other people mocked him for hearing God’s voice.
The key point here is: the closer you are to God, the more you can recognize His voice from the others. If you are close to Him, you know what He wants, you know what He dislikes, and you know what He would choose. In the end, you will ask God less frequently because you already know exactly what He wants you to do or what He wants you to choose. This doesn’t mean that your relationship with God is deteriorating, in fact, it’s the other way around.
You need TO KNOW ABOUT GOD (Knowledge) and KNOW GOD PERSONALLY (Personal relationship) to be able to hear from God!
You can tell me that you’ve read the Bible 5 times or know about every theology in the Bible. There is no point in that if you don’t have a personal relationship with God. At the same time, it is important to have the true knowledge about God (for true faith comes from the true knowledge). You cannot separate these two together! It is important to have a solid daily devotional with God to be closer to Him (not to mention your prayers’ life, worship, participating in a cell group, and so on!)
The closer we are to God, the easier it will be to hear from God and the easier it will be to know that it is from God!
Stay tuned for Part 3 – How does God speak to us?