Hearing God’s Voice

13 06 2012
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

1 Kings 19:11-12 NIV

I think we often imagine that the voice of God is going to come in some sonically powerful and frightening way.  A hurricane, an earthquake, a forest fire, a tidal wave.  Sometimes we brace ourselves for the voice of God to come through other extremely loud and painful scenarios in our lives.  The loss of our job, death of a relative, a car accident, bankruptcy.  We are expecting to hear him in shocking and confusing ways.  We think he is only speaking to us based on our immediate circumstances.

It’s true that these things are very “loud” and can be from him. God can show us things and teach us through these scenarios but I think that the verse in 1 Kings shows us something very important about God…..he speaks with gentle whispers.

I think that we, as humans, can get so sideways that the whispers feel like a yell of anger, or maybe even a sledge hammer, but I am not sure that I ever see that form of communication being used when God speaks to his children.  I do at times see a jealous god who fights and protects his children, and his laws, but I don’t encounter a God that is yelling with a booming and holy voice.  I just don’t see it.

I do see the God that is described in the verse above.  Powerful.  Magnificent. Holy. Gentle.

I see a God that displays his power because he is powerful.  He reminds us that he is control of all the universe and he can use it to get our attention but when he speaks to us….he is gentle and he whispers. He’s not trying to scare us off.  He is trying to invite us in.

I love this idea and I have personally been on a journey to understand and connect with the gentle whispers of God on a daily basis.  Why?  Think about it…. How will I ever know where God is leading me, what he is teaching me and how he is loving me if I don’t know his voice.  If I think that his voice is displayed only as powerful “acts of God” then I will only grow to fear God.  If I come to only know god as a gentle whispering deity then I will not fear his righteous power. I need to be able to see him, fear him and hear him.

It’s easy to see him.  Look around you.  Even if you live under a rock….you will be able to see him.  Creation is magnificent and beautiful.  If you aren’t impressed, with what you see, then you need to watch a Discovery Channel special on the ocean and all that lives in it’s depths.  It’s amazing.

It’s impossible not to fear him.  If you think you don’t fear God….go catch a 15 foot wave and let it slam you.  That will teach you fear.  Go against his word…your soul will find fear.  Even if you don’t want to admit it.

It’s hard to hear him.  It’s hard to hear his whisper when the world around us is getting louder and busier every single day.  It’s impossible to hear him if you do not recognize his voice.  I will tell you this….it is amazing when you do start to hear the gentle whisper of God’s voice.  It’s calming.  Even when he is asking you to do things outside of your comfort zone.

How do we learn to hear his voice?  I have been doing a study by Bill Hybels, The Power of a Whisper, and it has really helped me to find new ways to hear God’s voice.  However, I think that the most important step in being able to hear God’s voice is recognizing who God is and what he would say to you.  In other words, you have to be reading the bible.  You will learn the character of God and you will begin to hear him speak to you through the characteristics that he is.  You will learn to hear the voice of truth and you will learn to discern when you are trying to be the voice of reason.

Secondly, you need to want to hear him.  You need to be open to hearing his voice.

We all need to get close to the Lord.  We need to hear him.  We need to have a relationship with him and the only way to do that is to listen for the gentle whisper.  It will bring answers.  It will bring understanding.  It will bring peace. It will bring an intimate trust that is needed between each one of us and our maker.

Ask Him…..”Will you help me hear your voice?  Teach me to hear you.”

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;”
Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)