Hearing the Voice of God - What does the Bible say?
When bank tellers are trained to recognize counterfeit money, they simply are given genuine money and told to familiarize themselves with it. That way, when a counterfeit bill shows up, they are quick to recognize it. The same is true with hearing the voice of God. How can we be sure that it is God's voice we are hearing? By familiarizing ourselves with what He has already said in His Word - the Bible - we can recognize His voice. If God is going to speak to us today - whether audibly or inaudibly - He is going to say things that are in agreement with His Word.
When he was a young boy, the prophet Samuel heard the voice of God, but didn't recognize it until he was instructed by Eli, the chief priest (1 Samuel 3:1-10). Gideon witnessed an appearance of God, but he still doubted what he had seen and heard, even to the extent of asking for three signs (Judges chapter 6, especially verses17-22, 36-40). How can we know when we are hearing the voice of God?
First, we have a distinct advantage over Samuel and Gideon. We have the completed Scriptures from God to read and meditate. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Do you have a question about a decision in your life that you want to hear the voice of God? Study the Bible and see what it says. God never directs us in anything that is against what He has taught or promised in His Word.
Second, to hear God's voice we must know how to recognize it. Jesus said "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). We can see this truth illustrated in how farmers relate to their animals. A relative of mine farms a small ranch. Whenever we go out to visit, we always go out to look at his herd. My relative can call all of the cows to him by a simply word. The cows do not respond to my voice at all. What's the difference? The cattle are with my relative constantly. He spends time with them daily and is the one who feeds and cares for them. The cows feel comfortable around him, and they can instantly tell when a stranger is among them. If we are to know God's voice, we must spend time with Him daily.
We have to be sure to spend quality time daily in prayer and Bible study. That is how we get to know God and hear His voice. As you spend intimate time with God and His Word, the easier it will be to recognize His voice. God speaks to us primarily through the Bible, but we can sometimes also hear God's voice in our consciences, in circumstances, and through other people. By filtering what we see and hear through the Bible, we can know if we are truly hearing the voice of God.
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