Who has an ear to hear?
In Isaiah 30:21, the prophet shares with his readers how God would in the future speak directly to His followers.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way,walk in it, when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.’
This method of speaking directly to us would happen much later at Jesus’ first advent. After Pentecost (Acts 2), the Holy Spirit would be available to permanently dwell within us (John 16:13-15). The author of Hebrews captures in the opening verses of this epistle the change in how God communicates with us (Heb. 1:1-2).
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.
Our position in Christ gives us not only direct access to the Father and Jesus but also gives us the Holy Spirit to live within us (John 14:16). It is through this “gift” of the Holy Spirit that we hear God speak to us.
Are our ears burning?
We would do well to make every effort to listen for God’s voice. This involves being spiritually attentive to Him through prayer, fasting and meditating on His Word.
It helps to silence our own voice to hear Him speak. This requires eliminating the demanding cry of our soul—our mind (“I need to know!”), our will (“I want it my way and I want it now!”) and our emotions (“I need to feel something!”). God hears our every call (Ps. 91:15) but do we hear Him?
What do we expect God to say?
This requires spiritual honesty. Are we open to what He may say to us? Many times, we only listen for responses from God we want to hear versus what He has on His heart for us.
Most often than not we come to God with a particular issue or request. Are we open to the possibility that God may have a very different agenda. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” (Rom. 11:33-34)
Believers’ desire to be obedient to the Lord will help greatly in hearing God’s voice. The issue many times is not whether God is speaking or whether we are hearing. The real question is, are we willing to obey what He has already revealed to us through His Word and through our circumstances?
This dilemma may require us to identify intentions that conflict with the godly purpose the Father has designed for our lives. “For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions- is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16)
Are we willing to wait to hear God speak?
If we are eager to hear God’s voice, we must be willing (and content) to wait.
Waiting is not easy in a world that operates at warp speed. We are told that “Time waits for no man”, “Lost time results in lost opportunity”, and “Time is money”.
However, our Infinite God does not operate within the finite boundary of time but in eternity. Hearing His voice requires that we patiently keep our eye on Him. As we wait, there is an expectancy that we will hear Him speak. “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.” (Ps. 123:2)
Are we “present” to hear?
The best way for believers to hear from God, is simply to abide in His presence. Abide means “to remain or to continue to be present.” We are never our of God’s presence. He is everywhere. He is always present. (Read Psalms 139)
It is up to us to sensitize ourselves to hearing God. As we become more aware His presence, we are able to maintain continual, unbroken connection with Him. It is here that we can experience continual dialogue with God the Spirit versus straining for an occasional “word from the Lord.” (Read John 15)
The greater our intimacy with God, the easier it is to hear His voice. “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me; My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:14, 27)
Advent is a great time for us to discover or rediscover hearing from God. God speaks not only through His Creation, but God also speaks directly to us. Do not neglect such a great opportunity to hear from God.