I remember a minister once saying that to "hear Jesus' voice" meant to heed the Gospel and come to salvation. While the Scriptures are certainly an example of God speaking to us, Jesus does literally have a voice (Genesis 3:8). He is alive. He speaks. He even sings (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26; Romans 15:9; Hebrews 2:12).
Tell people - even professing believers - that you hear God's voice and they are likely to think you are a looney toon. Why? Because people don't really believe. They use a reference to God as a way to validate their own desires. To such persons, anything which confirms what I want or what I think becomes the voice of God. The concept of God literally speaking is foreign - and probably frightening - to them. If it is not real for them, then they assume it is not real for you either.
Because there are many voices in this world, it is very important that we are able to recognize His voice for ourselves. Consider Saul on the road to Damascus.
"And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me." Acts 22:6-9
The text says that Saul could hear the voice of Jesus, but those with him heard not. Saul knew this was the voice of the Lord, but he was perplexed by the accusation. He was starting to realize that he may not fully know the God he sought to serve. It had to be revealed to Him that Jesus is Lord. Yet, look at the following:
"And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man." Acts 9:7
The above text says that Saul's companions did hear the voice. So, which is it? The difference lies in the word "hear". It is not just about sound perception, but the ability to understand the meaning of what is heard.
akouō - Greek word meaning to have the ability to hear; to comprehend or learn by hearing.Those with Saul heard the voice, but were lost as to the meaning of what was said. They had ears to hear, but heard not (in terms of understanding). This is the same word Jesus uses when He says that His sheep "hear" His voice. It speaks not only to the ability to detect that Jesus is speaking, but being able to properly understand what He is saying (II Timothy 2:15).
Saul was a Pharisee of Pharisees (Philippians 3:4-6). In going on his mission, he would have only taken those on whom he felt he could depend; such was his way (Acts 15:36-40). Yet, no matter how religious they may have been, Jesus was not calling them (they could not hear); He was only calling Saul. You too might be among people who seem to be believers, yet Jesus is just calling you (I Samuel 3:3-10). You must be willing to go on in Christ, not being distracted or hindered by those who are not going where you are.
"And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand." Luke 8:10
The verses in John 10:26-27 give us insight into hearing [understanding] God's words: Hearing is the result of believing, and believing is evidenced by obedience. If you believe, then you will obey; as such, you will hear (rightfully divide) God's words. There is a power acting upon faith which enables us to hear (understand) Jesus; that power is the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is only given to those who obey God (Acts 5:32). Further, the Holy Spirit is the One designated to lead us into all truth (John 16:13). Apart from the operation of the Holy Spirit in your life, all you will be left with is lies.
This explains how people can claim to represent the Lord, yet advocate that which is contrary to God. It is no great mystery; they are being inspired by another spirit and it causes them to preach another Jesus (II Corinthians 11:4). The missing piece is their will. They refuse to submit their will to God's, so they live in disobedience to Him. By default then, they will never have a full revelation of the truth of His words.
"There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.
Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken." Ezekiel 22:25-28
Religious people are quick to label anyone a man or woman of God. Yet, such a designation is not to be thrown around casually. It is not a matter of being polite, respectful, or even giving someone the benefit of the doubt. It is about being truthful. If someone misrepresents God, it is because they do not belong to Him; they do not believe. Rather, they are using the name of the Lord to rape and pillage the people for their own selfish gain. We must take this responsibility seriously.
Whether Jesus is speaking to us audibly or speaking to our spirit, we must to be able to hear His voice. We cannot rely on others to be the standard; we need to know Him for ourselves.
"Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." Proverbs 4:5-7
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