My husband has been learning to play the guitar. He often tells me that most songs are made up of the same three or four chords (G, C, D and E). he tells me every now and then there will be an A chord. It is the timing and strumming pattern that make the change. I admit I don’t often hear it, when he plays for me. I am used to notes not chords. At first, he was disappointed that I could not immediately tell the song he was playing; now he will tell me first and I can generally hear it.
I was relaxing this weekend, and my husband was playing the Reo Speedwagon channel on Amazon Music. As the music started, I thought I recognized the tune. I am not sure why I thought Vanilla Ice would be on the channel, but I didn’t hesitate in thinking “I know this song.”. When the lyrics started I realized I was very wrong. The song was actually David Bowie “Under Pressure.”
I was familiar with the beat because I had head it many times in my youth. However, it’s not something I listen to now, so I was lead astray.
That made me think of times I have missed God’s voice. Times I thought I heard Him, but really it was my flesh or worse the enemy leading me astray. Jesus said that His sheep know His voice.
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”” Psalm 95:6-11
The Israelites were considered God’s sheep. They should have known His voice. at times they hardened their heart against the voice of God. They spent 40 years in the wilderness because they didn’t head the voice of God and instead let fear drive their path.
In the days before caller IDs, I was very good at recognizing voices. I worked as a secretary for for five years. We had clients that I spoke with regularly. I could call them by name as soon as they said “Hello.” We should know God’s voice just as well.
““Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me,is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.””
Jesus points out that the sheep know His voice. He says the sheep hear His voice, not that they might or could, but they will. That must mean that He speaks to us. The question we should ask is how do we come to know God’s voice? We can only know His voice by spending time with Him.
Just as I learned the voices of my clients by our frequent contact, I learn God’s voice the same way. I can’t expect to know His voice if my only contact with Him is someone else telling me what He is saying. I have to hear His voice for myself and I need to hear it regularly. This means getting in to the Word and spending time in prayer for myself daily.
John 15 reinforces the idea that God speaks to us.
“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:3-5, 11
The second question we should ask ourselves is how do we hear His voice? There is a stretch of Hwy 40 between Santa Rosa and Amarillo where there is limited frequency for an actual radio station. I will often scan the channels waiting for it to come back up. With God, that doesn’t happen. We can always reach His frequency, by slowing down enough to listen and then tuning into Him.
Andrew Womack wrote “All of us seem to be busier than ever, and that’s one of the BIG reasons we don’t hear the voice of the Lord better. We’re just too busy.
““Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”” Psalm 46:10
It’s in stillness, not busyness, that we tune our spiritual ears to hear the voice of God.
“There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.” 1 Kings 19:9-12
The Lord always speaks to us in that still, small voice” but often it’s drowned out amid all the turmoil of our daily lives.”
In addition to making sure we are still enough to hear His still small voice, the Bible also warns us to test the spirits.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
1 John 4:1-6
Not every voice we hear will come from God. Eve was deceived by the serpent in the garden. Numbers 22 shares of how Balaam was led to listen to the voice of men, and then a donkey in his disobedience to the Lord. In Acts 22:3-21 Paul thought he was working for the Lord even as he persecuted The Way followers until He encountered Jesus. The more we hear God’s voice though His Word, the more likely we are to discern God’s voice.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
As Christians, we are the sheep of the Lord and should hear His voice. We learn His voice by abiding in Him. We learn to be still and hear His still small voice as we read the Bible and spend time in prayer. We also have to learn to discern between the voices of this world and the Lord’s voice so we do not get led astray.