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The Joy of Hearing God's Voice

 January 2011 

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Perhaps the most important and joyful function for any individual or family is this: to be able to regularly hear the voice of God. We need to hear His voice if we are to grow and mature as Christians. If we never, ever hear His voice, the likelihood is that we will die spiritually.

During the Dark Ages, it was believed that if babies never heard a spoken language they would develop a natural God-given language. Because of this crazy belief, King Frederick II who lived from 1194 - 1250 A.D. conducted a horrible experiment that involved 50 babies. When the babies were born they were assigned foster mothers. These caregivers were permitted to bathe, feed and care for the babies, but not to talk to them. All 50 babies died.

As children need to hear their parents talking to them saying such things as how much they love them, so we need to hear the voice of God telling us that He loves us. Just as those babies all died because they had no human voice speaking to them, so we too are likely to die spiritually if we never hear the voice of God.

The message of the Bible is the story of God's desire to have a mutual relationship with human beings where they speak with each other. He created Adam and Eve to have a close relationship with Him where they could walk in the garden and hear His voice. But they rebelled and that close, intimate relationship was broken.

Genesis 3:8 says this: Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

From then on it appears that God was looking for people to have a close mutual relationship with, where He could speak with them and they with Him.

Below are a few examples:

Noah - God spoke with Noah telling him to build the Ark. In Genesis 7:1, it says this: The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation."

Abraham - In Genesis 12:1 we have the account of God speaking to Abraham. It says this: The LORD had said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you."

Moses - In Exodus 3 and 4 we have the story of God asking Moses to go to Pharaoh to ask him to free the Israelite people. Moses argues with God that the people will not listen to him. Chapter 4:1 says this: Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?'" Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?"

Samuel - In 1 Samuel 3 we see the Lord calling young Samuel. Verse 10 says this: The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

David - We see in many of the Psalms that David had that close personal relationship with God. In Psalm 16:2 it says this: I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing."

Elijah - In 1 Kings Chapter 19 we have the account when Elijah was very discouraged and he poured out his heart to God, and God spoke to him. Verses 13b & 14 say this: Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

And in verse 18 God says, "Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel-all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him."

Jesus - In the New Testament Jesus makes it quite clear that He wants His followers to have a close relationship with Him. John 10 contains the wonderful account of Jesus declaring that He is the Good Shepherd, and we, His followers, are His sheep. He calls His sheep by name, and they listen to His voice and follow Him. Verses 3 and 4 say this: He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know His voice.

Paul - In Acts 9 we read of Paul's conversion - the beginning of a wonderful relationship between Jesus and Paul. Verses 4 and 5 say: He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," He replied.

All of Paul's letters are permeated with a passion to know the Lord and to help others also know the Lord. In Philippians 3:7-8, we have these words: But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ.

And in verses 10-11 of Philippians 3, Paul says this: I want to know Christ-yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

This is also the desire of our family - to know Christ in a deep, intimate way where we hear His voice, and we speak to Him. We have a long way to go in our relationship with Him. We are finding that it's getting better as we spend time in His presence each day listening to His voice, pouring out our hearts to Him, and then sharing with each other. Scripture memory is also greatly assisting us in hearing His voice.

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