Welcome to our new study on listening to God. We will learn more about hearing His voice through His Word. We will be challenged to stop and take time to pay attention to God, and as a result, our relationship with Him will be deeper than ever!
In our relationships with people, we need to learn to talk and listen. But in our relationship to God, we sometimes forget to talk (pray) and we sometimes forget to listen (study). I think we have more problems developing our relationship to God because He is not a physical presence. Sometimes God has to work to get our attention. Recently I might have been too busy for God (!). I was doing stuff for God, but I wasn’t resting in God. He got my attention in a dramatic and everyday way. It has helped me to stop and listen to Him more than ever.
But when things go wrong in our lives, does it mean that God is trying to get our attention? I don’t think so. The entire book of Job shows us how badly wrong things can go in someone’s life, but Job’s troubles were not because of Job’s sin. God used Job to show Satan how faithful Job was – and He uses that story today to give us peace in the midst of life’s storms.
How does God speak to us?
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Heb 1:1-2 (ESV)
God has always spoken to us. Today, he speaks through his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus speaks through the Bible. Everything in the Bible applies to us today. If you’re like me, you don’t always like the subjects God speaks of, but we are expected to listen and apply what God tells us.
Likewise, every Bible-based sermon you hear applies to you. Every radio and television teacher who speaks God’s word has done so for your edification. But notice that I specifically say Bible-based and speaks God’s word. Preachers (and regular people) who tell you that they have heard a private word from God – a word that they can’t share because it’s secret – are deluding you and themselves. God doesn’t speak in a vacuum. He doesn’t play favorites.
You may receive a chastening from God that’s so private you don’t want to share it. That’s not what I mean. Please remember that for God’s children, His word is clear and applies to all. The word of chastisement, correction or promise may seem like it applies only to you – but His unchanging word applies equally to everyone.
Here’s the best (or worst) part: God’s word is true and whatever He promises, He will do. He will give us the blessings He promises for obedience; He will chastise us for our sin. He expects you to converse with Him, to pray and read your Bible daily.
How’s your conversation with God? Can you see places where you are strong? Perhaps you’re a prayer warrior – WOO HOO! You might be faithful in Bible reading – great! But are your prayers heartfelt? Do you read to hear what God has to say, or do you simply go through the motions?
If you’re like me, you probably have both good and not-so-good days when you pray and read. Sometimes I want to ‘fess up to my weaknesses and sometimes I want to pretend they don’t exist. But no matter how I feel, I know that God wants me to strive for improvement daily.
Let’s pray for each other. We all need to grow in the Word and in our prayer life. Will you commit to taking extra time this week to both listen and talk?