Isaiah the prophet records the promise of our God to speak to His true followers. We find this in Isaiah 55, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live…Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near….”
Did you catch that? “Incline your ear and come to me; listen so that you may live.” Our God is inviting us to draw near to Him by listening for His speaking. Some would argue that this means to listen to those who speak for our God, or to “listen” to the word of our God. That is not what the Lord said here, and to assume that is to read into the scripture meaning that isn’t there in the words. Drawing near to our God involves listening to Him. The result of this drawing near and listening is that we will find our life.
Warnings: Many people claim to hear the voice of our God but are really hearing their own desires, the voices of the world or the evil one. Many a heresy has developed from the misguided process of ”hearing God speak” apart from the safeguards our Lord has put into place to protect us. These safeguards are to protect from error in a conversational relationship with our God. They include these things:
- Love for our God above all other loves – this orients your life purpose and promotes an unselfish approach to the God relationship.
- Knowing Him intimately – this intimacy with our God is always draws us near to Him and sharpens our desire and devotion toward Him.
- Making time for daily conversational communion with Him – it is here that one develops the habits of a hearing heart.
- True faith, which is trust and obedience – Acting by trust and quickly obeying your God will lead to revelation from Him. Revelation always follows obedience.
- Absolute surrender in all things – the death of the self-life opens you to the life of your God lived in you in and produces a deep union and communion with Him. It is His life in us by His Holy Spirit that guides us into truth and away from error.
- Devotion to the Word of our God as the measure for all truth – to regularly search the Word of our God and to meditate upon it daily will transform your thinking and enliven you communion with Him. All that our God speaks to us will be in keeping with the scriptures.
- Submission and accountability to true koinonia fellowship with godly people who likewise are seeking our God – this accountability will sharpen your hearing and correct any errors.
In the absence of these safeguards, our hearing may easily be clouded by selfish motives, worldly desires, and evil interference. Our communion with our God will get short shrift in our daily affairs. But as these practices grow in our daily living, we will begin to enjoy regular conversational communion with Him.