My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Everybody wants to be heard. Everybody wants to have a voice. Unfortunately, in today’s culture, Christians find it hard to have a voice. And, with so many voices out there, the voice of God is even sometimes hard to hear, let alone recognize the voice of God.
What voice, or voices are you listening to? How do you discern who has a voice of truth or wisdom? Are the voices you listen to keeping you from hearing God? Are voices from your past still receiving your full attention, filling you with confusion and doubt and fear? Are the voices preventing you from hearing and obeying the voice of God?
Sometimes we need to turn off and shut out all the competing and distracting voices in order to hear God’s voice and receive His words telling us which way to go. “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.” Isaiah 30.21
As children of God, we can hear and recognize the voice of our Father breaking throughout all the other voices - if we take the time to listen. Jesus said, “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.” In other words, “All who take the time to hear my voice and really pays attention to what I’m saying, tuning into my words, you will then be able to understand what I am saying and heed my instructions.”
It’s also not enough to simply recognize the voice of God or listen to Him. We then must trust what He says and follow Him. “My sheep hear my voice...and they follow Me.” We can trust the voice of God. He is the Good Shepherd. Too often God’s people do not fully trust Him, and therefore do not follow His instructions, and that itself breaks the heart of God. “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. “Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! (Psalm 81.13)
Sometimes the voice of God comes to us through Scripture. Spend time reading God’s Word and ask Him to speak to you. At other times it requires that we just sit in silence and invite God to speak into our soul, heart and mind. That’s not easy to do. We often spend too much of our time with God doing all of the talking. Begin by saying, “Lord, here I am, your servant, speak to me.” If you get distracted, or begin speaking instead of listening, simply repeat those words. You may want to even write down afterwards what you heard. Keep in mind that God can also speak to us through other Godly people, wise counselors, those who are themselves listening to the voice of God. And there are times God speaks to us in the middle of a storm - we just have to tune into Him as things are swirling around us. God is always speaking – we just aren’t always listening. Are you listening?