Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7 ESV
The entire city of Cremona, Italy, recently was ordered to keep quiet. Everyone was urged to avoid any “sudden and unnecessary sounds.”
The purpose was to record accurately the sounds of instruments made by Antonio Stradivarius and other craftsmen. Elaborate procedures assured an atmosphere of absolute silence and pristine conditions to record each instrument.
This care was necessary because over time, the distinctive sound of these instruments had been fading.
The curator of the Cremona museum devoted to musical instruments observed that each Stradivarius had “its own personality.” But their distinctive sounds “will inevitably change,” and could even be lost within just a few decades. “After they reach a certain age, they become too fragile to be played and they ‘go to sleep,’ so to speak.”
The dedication of the people of Cremona illustrates the importance of having ears to hear. They created conditions so sounds could be heard clearly and each instrument was allowed to speak in its own voice.
These principles apply in our spiritual lives. The world can be a noisy place. How critical it is that we find times and places when we can fellowship with God to clearly hear His still, small voice. Only then can we learn from Him and receive the guidance and direction He has prepared for each of us.
Today, seek to make time for God, a time to hear from Him and the words He has just for you.
Have you ever wondered how to hear God’s voice above the noise of daily life?
Sometimes we hear people say, “God told me such-and-such,” and we secretly wonder, How did you know that was God?
Elizabeth Alves wrote,
‘God spoke to me’ is one of the most misunderstood phrases among His people; it can create misunderstanding, confusion, hurt, rejection, jealousy, pride and other negative responses. Perhaps you have run into someone who feels he or she has an edge on hearing from God . . . If you are unfamiliar with the phrase ‘God told me,’ or you do not understand how to hear God’s voice, you might feel inferior, thinking God never speaks to you.
If you’ve never heard God speak to you through the Holy Spirit, don’t worry. I believe you’ll begin to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit as your prayer life becomes more active and powerful. You may hear the Spirit speak within your mind and heart as your communion with God deepens. The development of active listening skills and a quiet, expectant spirit are keys to hearing from the Lord.
We battle busyness and distractions as well as emotional stresses, such as exhaustion, depression, fear, anger, grief, and anxiety. Satan loves to ratchet up the emotional chaos in our lives to keep us from walking in fellowship with God. He jam-packs our days with noisy distractions in his efforts to get us to tune God out.
Why are we so addicted to activity and noise?
Because we’re afraid to be alone with our own thoughts. We’re afraid of quiet and solitude. We avoid peaceful fellowship with our Savior because we fear that we might not be good enough without all our “stuff.” We’re afraid of what God might say to us or ask us to do if we sit still long enough to hear Him speak. We’re not quite sure how to handle the sacred responsibility of being still and knowing that He is God (see Psalm 46:10).
At certain times in Scripture (especially in the Old Testament), God spoke clearly and audibly to His people. According to Job 40:6, God once spoke to Job out of a whirlwind. Habakkuk knew the sound of God speaking to him (Habakkuk 2:2). Elijah described the sound of God speaking as “a still small voice” in 1 Kings 19:12.
God has already spoken to us through natural revelation (His creation) and through special revelation (His Word). He may also choose to communicate with us at times through other methods, such as books, movies, videos, sermons, our conversations with other people, and our personal experiences.
When we’ve been faithfully praying for God’s answer, we may hear that answer in the most unexpected way, at a spontaneous and surprising time. Sometimes God speaks to us in what seem to be the strangest and most chaotic moments. His “voice” (the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking within our hearts) cuts through the noise inside our souls as He makes His will and His message clear.
I’ve never heard God’s voice audibly, but I’ve heard the Holy Spirit “speaking” within my heart. It’s unmistakable.
Hearing God’s voice has happened to me most often when I was in the middle of a period of waiting, praying about an important issue in my life or the lives of my children, or transitioning from one life stage to the next.
Hearing God’s Voice
Hearing God’s Voice – Are You Ready to Listen?
Hearing God’s voice is something we all long for-but did you know that it’s not hard to do? In fact, God wants you to hear His voice! He doesn’t speak to us through a quiver in our liver or through vibes or mediums. Hearing the voice of God is as natural as hearing your best friend talk to you. What’s more, we can hear Him everyday and not just on special occasions or by chanting special incantations. He speaks to us in the natural moments of life. Do you want to hear God’s voice? Then you must be ready to listen.
Hearing God’s Voice – Why Do You Want to Hear Him?
Why do you want to hear God’s voice? That may sound like a silly question, but motives are important in anything we do. The Bible says this about God’s Word: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
Do you want to hear God’s voice? If you do, it’s possible you’re hearing Him already, for He may be the one giving you the longing to hear Him.
Hearing God’s Voice in the Bible
In his book Knowing God, J. I. Packer says, “God has spoken to man, and the Bible is His Word, given to us to make us wise unto salvation.”
The Bible itself declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). In another place, we read: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16).
You may hear people say that the Bible is just a book written by men, but the Bible itself claims to be God’s Word! Can we rely on it? The evidence of history, archaeology, fulfilled prophecy and personal testimony over thousands of years is overwhelming that the Bible is, indeed, God’s Word. Do you want to hear God’s voice? Then read the Bible. Find a good daily reading plan, and stick to it.
Hearing God’s Voice through Prayer
When you want to have a conversation with someone, how do you begin? Do you stand in front of the person and hope they will talk to you? That might work, if the other person is outgoing enough, but usually we begin a conversation by opening our own mouths and talking, engaging the other person’s attention. It’s the same with God! He loves to hear us talk to Him, and it’s in those moments that we prepare ourselves to hear the voice of God. Prayer is like saying, “Hello, God, it’s me. I believe You created me and that You know way more about how I should live my life than I do. I’d like to get to know You better. Here’s what’s going on in my life, and I’d sure like Your thoughts on how to handle it. Would You please speak to me about this today?”
In an ordinary conversation, we speak, then listen for the response of the other person. It’s the same with God! Once we’ve prepared our hearts to listen through prayer, we’re more likely to hear the voice of God. Does He speak to us through an audible voice? Some claim He does, but usually that’s not the case. We may not actually “hear” the voice of God, but He speaks to us in many ways. Here are some of them:
- God speaks through His Word
- God speaks through our thoughts
- God speaks through conversations with others
- God speaks through circumstances