Jeremiah 7:23-24 “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.”
God is speaking all the time. Through His Creation He reveals His glory, through His people HIs call to salvation, through the heavens HIs power, by the earth His majesty, He instructs, guides, corrects, and reveals knowledge.
The question isn’t whether we hear God, the question is are we listening?
Listening and hearing is one of those little lessons we give to our children when they fail to walk in obedience. They may hear the instruction but they don’t take it to heart. They may think mom is just barking out another order but it’s when she arrives with the switch that they are reminded of her authority and justice.
I believe that everyone hears God’s voice in one way or another. I believe that God is continually reaching out to the lost and leading the righteous.
2 John 1:6 “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.”
The righteous hear His voice and obey out of love. The ability to hear God’s voice is determined by a couple factors:
- The righteous are listening.
John 5:25 “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.”
Before we were saved by the power of God’s transforming love, we had to be in a position to respond. The dead are those who lack the Spirit of God in their lives and walk in their sin. Once Jesus came, He made a way for the dead to be made alive and opened the door that we might approach the throne of God in grace.
To be made alive, we must respond to the call of God. The response is an act of righteousness and requires the soul of mankind to seek God, the ability to hear the call, and the faith to act on that call.
Once a person has come to Christ, the transforming power of His Spirit fills their hearts and transforms their minds. The process of growth in the Spirit is the essential life of a believer and yet the process doesn’t stop with the initial transformation, God still continues to speak and we still continue to desire to respond.
- The righteous continue to grow.
Galatians 5:16 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
This process of growth and maturity is one that is a dynamic representation of God dwelling among His people and transforming them by His love and direction.
Responding to the Spirit of God is a pattern of listening to God, it is just less obvious than others. The change is subtle and yet perceptible to those who also walk in the Spirit. The ability to see this pattern of loving obedience in others is the discernment needed in how we encourage one another and lift each other up in their spiritual walk.
- The righteous desire to please God.
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
If you’ve ever had children you know how incredibly frustrating it is when a child doesn’t listen to a parent. Parents who strive to lead their children in wisdom have a knowledge that children don’t. The hope that the child will develop and grow over time, be guided in truth, and for protection is part of what makes instruction vital in the parent child relationship.
When a child acts or thinks they know more than the parent, it is an affront to the parents role. The child is essentially saying the parent is not wise, or lacks the knowledge to adequately lead me.
This is essentially what we do when we neglect God’s leading in our lives.
We treat God like He is not knowledgeable, that He is not loving, nor does He have the wisdom to lead us in the way we ought to go. This child like pattern is a display of ignorance that brings shame upon ourselves and determines whether we continue in foolishness without growth or maturity or whether we go on to maturity and acquire the wisdom necessary for godly living.
Hebrews 3:14-15 “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
The ability to hear and respond to God is lacking in those who have rejected Christ. It is the Spirit of God that is given through Jesus by which the believer can receive the instructions necessary for following Him.
The computer programmer is familiar with the fact that a system will not be able to run a program unless it has been uploaded first, so it is in the life of a believer. We have to have the Spirit of God uploaded into our lives for us to walk in God’s program.
There is evidence of the ungodly being led by God but it is always a pattern of coercion where God draws them out by their pride or lust for power and uses their sin to entice them to do HIs bidding. It is never a process of seeking the Lord and Him doing the leading as we see in the relationship of God and Israel.
What areas of concern do you seek God’s truth in now?
Jeremiah 17:5 “Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.”
Where we gain our strength and provision, the process by which we make decisions and move are the the determining factors in how our paths will conclude.
God’s blessing is found in the life of the believer who trusts in Him.
God’s cursing is upon those who forsake HIs love and choose the lesser, this world.
The Lord is speaking—are you listening?
I’ll leave you with this promise…
John 14:15-18 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”