Sunday, 14 June 2020

Hearing God

Hearing God’s Voice

The greatest need for the Church is to hear the voice of the Spirit of God. The seven-fold refrain ending every message of Jesus to the seven Churches of Revelation is ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches’. We all have an ear, or even two, but are we hearing what God is saying? In this time, like in the time of Eli, hearing the voice of God is not common. Like Samuel we must cry ‘Speak Lord, for your servant is listening’ 1 Samuel 3:10

In Isaiah 55:3 God says, “Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear and your soul shall live.” But how can we incline our ears to properly hear Him?
The prophet Jeremiah says in Jeremiah 7:24, But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.” Not hearing God’s voice leads to backsliding, therefore it is essential we learn to hear and obey His voice. 

In this sharing I will reveal from Scripture seven blockages to hearing God’s voice and then look at the seven things that remove those blockages.

1.   Distractions.
Like Martha (Luke 10:41) we can be distracted with much activity and busyness that we do not hear the voice of the Lord. Martha was serving the Lord but not hearing Him. Mary, on the other hand, rested at the feet of Jesus, listening attentively to His every word (Luke 10:39,42). This resting at the feet of the Lord I call “nestling”.

The word nestle means “to lie close and snug, like a bird in a nest”.  To hear His voice, we need times of nestling in His presence, meditating on His Word, His attributes, His works and His creation as I shared in my last two messages. This we do by setting aside a set time and place to focus on Him and block out all distractions.

2.   Error.
In Proverbs 28:9 Solomon writes, “Those who turn a deaf ear to His Word, even their prayers are an abomination!” God’s Word is truth, so turning a deaf ear to His truth leads us into error so even our prayers become an abomination to the Lord. Error comes by listening to false teaching.

In 2 Timothy 4:3-4 Paul wrote to Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

We get itching ears if we have an ear infection. False doctrine leads us to get a spiritual ear infection and we often run to more false teachers to scratch that itch, making the infection worse. This turns our ears away from the truth of His Word. We should run to the truth of His Word in the Scriptures and this is the main way we hear His voice.

Soaking in God’s Word every day by reading large chunks (I read 10 chapters a day) keeps us from error and helps us be attuned to God’s voice. It is through soaking in His Word that we learn to discern what His voice is like and how He speaks to His people throughout history. In this way we will more easily detect if the voice we have heard is from evil spirits, our spirit or God’s Spirit!

3.   Apathy.
We read in Hebrews 5:11-14 that not exercising our spiritual senses leads us to become dull of hearing. Our spiritual senses that are mentioned here are referring particularly to our spiritual hearing and seeing.

We exercise these senses through the spiritual disciplines that are all brought together at the Prayer Altar. That is, daily reading His Word, thanking, praising and worshipping Him, cleansing ourselves through daily repentance, being daily filled with the Spirit and fasting, praying, interceding and living in the Spirit. These are all spiritual disciplines that exercise our spiritual senses.

Apathy leads us to neglect these important daily spiritual exercises so we become dull of hearing and cannot clearly hear His voice even if He were to shout at us! We need to stir ourselves up to engage in daily spiritual exercise.

4.   Fear & Doubt.
James 1:5-6 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”

God promises to speak words of wisdom to us if we ask Him, but we often have doubts about this that are rooted in fear. We fear that if we ask, we will hear the wrong voice and be misled. We fear that that we will hear what we do not want to hear. We fear failure.

The remedy to this is to live in His agape love. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” He is our loving Good Shepherd and as we rest more and more in His agape love we come into the reality of John 10:27: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

5.   Ego.
Hebrews 3:15 says, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
An egotistical heart full of pride blocks us from hearing His voice, causing our hearts to be hardened. In Micah 7:16 we read, “The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; They shall put their hand over their mouth; Their ears shall be deaf.” If we trust in our own might (which is pride) then our ears will be deaf to the voice of God.

The remedy to this is humility. In Psalm 25:9 King David sings “The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.” It is the humble in heart that hear His voice to be guided and taught in His ways.

6.   Not in the right place,
Listening to the wrong voices by being in the wrong places causes us to miss the voice of God. This thought is brought forth in Psalm 1:1-2 where the Psalmist says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”

As Paul says in Romans 10:14, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Associating with the right people is vitally important in hearing the voice and counsel of God from His Word. We are to be in the right place and walk in the counsel of the godly and hear the voices of anointed preachers of His Word and of course be in the place of daily reading, meditating on and studying His Word for ourselves.

7.   Sin.  
Sin blocks the voice of God. In Psalm 66:18 the Psalmist says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” Regarding Sin in our hearts blocks our prayers and blocks us from Hearing His voice. Feelings of shame and guilt in our hearts distance us from God so His voice seems far away.

The solution to this is to come daily to Him in repentance and cleansing. As we read in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Taken together these blockages spell “deafens” as they deafen our spiritual ears from hearing God’s voice. So, summarizing the solutions to the blockages….

Distractions - solution is Nestling.
Error – solution is God’s Word.
Apathy – solution is Exercising our spiritual senses (Hebrews 5:11-14)
Fear & Doubt – solution is the Agape love of God (1 John 4:18).
Ego – Solution is Humility (Psalm 25:9)
Not in the right place – Solution is being In the right place (Psalm 1:1)
Sin – Solution is Repentance and cleansing (1 John 1:9)

Exercising senses
In the right place
God’s Word 

Together these spell “Hearing”. If we want to be daily hearing the voice of God we must come daily in humility to exercise our spiritual senses at the Prayer Altar, going deeper into His agape love through times of repentance and cleansing so we can remain in the right place with the right people to Hear His right Words as we nestle in His presence to live in His Word.

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