“Can you hear me now?” Verizon has made a fortune off that statement in their ads. The guy walks around, asks the question. Gets a response, and says, “Good.” Obviously he has not found my Verizon dead zones when calling. They don’t show those in the commercial, and those times you can’t hear, what happens then?
God has the copyright on “Can you hear me now?” For some amazing reason, He desires to communicate with us, be in relationship with us, be heard.
Reading through the Bible in a year brought me to 1 Samuel this week, and this time around it hit me, these opening chapters give 4 case studies of hearing God’s voice:
Eli hears God’s voice, but ignores what God says. When God sends a prophet with a message about the evil of Eli’s sons, Eli maintains status quo. And in life, status quo when God says “Go” is a deadly path.
Samuel hears God’s voice, and obeys what God says. He does have to learn Eli’s prayer, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” But Samuel learns to do more than just listen. He listens and lives what God says. For Samuel hears the same message, but he shares with Eli the brutal message word for word. As I read of Samuel’s ear for God, I admire how it is an ongoing conversation, clear direction, constant communication. Samuel has the voice of a leader.
Saul gets the title of leader: King of Israel. Saul hears God’s voice (via Samuel) and too often learns to blame. Samuel provides clear direction from God, Saul leads with misdirection. When Samuel catches Saul in his lies, Saul quickly blames the people, learns the art of rational lies (which most people spell rationalize). For Saul’s will, not God’s will, drives his leadership — another dead zone path.
David early in the book is not the king, but he is the leader. David hears and proclaims. His secret we discover is his heart after God. Saul’s heart got off track as he loved the power of leadership and became deaf to God’s voice in leadership. David (as we will see in the Psalms) opens up completely and fully to God, and in so doing hears God’s voice and finds God’s way.
So how are you doing in hearing God’s voice? What helps you to hear God speak?
I have found some keys along the way, that keep me out of those “dead zones”, so that I can hear God now.
Daily time in His Word is not optional, it is a necessity. Eli’s prayer advice still remains foundational for us today, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” It’s the prayer I need to remember to pray as I read God’s word each day. Hearing His voice is why I follow the reading through the Bible in a year plan.
Slowing down to reflect on how God has worked through my day. I write my reflections each day. On a monthly basis I look back at what I wrote the last month. I look for themes, patterns, sins to confess, forgiveness to receive, to hear God’s voice in leading myself. One month it seemed every day I wrote about how tired I was, how exhausted I felt. That led to a re-commitment to the practice of Sabbath and building rest into my life. The result was I began to hear God’s voice anew as I received His grace and followed His plans.
What I have found most effective in hearing God’s voice is when I do what He says, He guides me more in what to do. He always has the wisdom to share, I need the wisdom to follow. As Jesus says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” I want those ears that hear. I want them for you too.
Returning to those “live zones” where I hear Him speak, and avoiding those “dead zones” where I lost His voice. “Live zones” for me happen when I read, when I walk, when I slow down and turn off the “white noise” and capture the promptings of His Spirit. Those “live zones” make life so exciting.
So how are you doing in hearing God’s voice? What helps you to hear God speak? Let’s continue the conversation.