Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Scriptural Armory: How To Hear The Voice of God

Hearing the voice of God is not as hard as people make it out to be.  There is so much gobbledygook out there about listening to God, that I think we have confused ourselves about something that is really pretty simple.  From what I can tell, most of the confusion comes from two basic questions that aren't being answered.  1. What if God can't get a hold of me?  2. How do I actively seek God's voice?

What If God Can't Get A Hold of Me?

I want to tell you a story.  It comes from 1 Kings 19.
In this story, Elijah, a prophet of God, has just finished demonstrating God’s might by miraculously starting a fire and subsequently killing a whole bunch of false prophets.
Elijah is exhausted.  He’s being pursued by Ahab, king of Israel, and he wants it all to end.  He pleads with God to take his life, but God has other plans.  Instead, he sends an angel to meet Elijah, give him some food, and lead him on a journey across the wilderness for forty days and nights.  The journey ends at a new scene in the narrative - a cave where Elijah has a conversation with God.
11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. 
And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”(1 Kings 19:11-13, NLT).
So that’s how the conversation started.  That’s how God met with Elijah there at the mountain, and I’ve got to be honest with you.  I’m really tired of hearing leader after leader totally botch the interpretation of this story.
Sure.  God’s voice was a gentle quiet whisper........AFTER A TORNADO, EARTHQUAKE, AND FIRE!!!!!  Are you kidding me?  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people say that God’s voice is just a little quiet whisper while completely ignoring the natural, attention grabbing phenomena that started it...not to mention the angel-led, EPIC journey through the desert.
I was a youth minister in Hagerstown, Indiana for a while.  My little brother, who was in high school at the time, had gotten to know the fine people of Hagerstown, and found it valuable to drive 3 hours every Sunday to be with them.  He also helped out with leading worship, which was really cool.  He called me one Sunday afternoon while he was on his way.  The conversation went something like this.
Chase: Hello?
Taylor: Uh......dude, I think I’m going to be a little late today.
Chase: Ok.  What’s up?
Taylor:’re not going to believe this......
Chase: What?
Taylor: There is a plane that landed on the highway in front of me.
Chase: Come again.
Taylor: An airplane landed on the interstate in front of me.  Traffic is stopped, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to get out there.
That will get your attention!  I’ve used that story to describe how God speaks to us.  If God - the creator of the universe and personal Savior to each person in the world - wants your attention, he’s going to get your attention, even if it requires landing a plane on your highway and stopping all traffic around you.  That's what he did for Elijah, and I believe that's what he'll do for you.
Here is an important thing to understand.  Write this down.  God is not The Deceiver.  Satan is.  You don’t have to worry about God tricking you down the wrong road in life.

How Do I Actively Seek God's Voice?

Now that I’ve said all that, I want to clarify.  We shouldn’t sit around and wait for God to demand our attention.  We should give it to him willingly - actively seeking his will, actively seeking his voice.
Margaret Feinberg is a profound author of a book called The Sacred Echo.  I highly recommend it.  The premise is essentially what I’ve described.  When God talks to us, his voice often comes in “echoes”.  Have you ever had a lesson at church, then read about it in your own independent quiet time a couple days later, then a couple of days later a friend has brought it up?  The three incidents are totally unrelated, and yet they seem to be intertwined.  That isn’t luck my friends; it’s God talking to you.
Couple these “sacred echoes” with solid advice from fellow Christians (especially older ones), sound scripture study, and you’ll have yourself a clear understanding of God’s voice.
In closing, understand this.  Hearing God’s voice is the easy part.  Doing what it says is where it gets bumpy.
Have you had a “plane on the highway experience before”?  If so, tell us about it in the comment box below.  We want to hear from you!

No comments:

Post a Comment