Session 2: Am I WILLING to Hear God’s Voice?
How to Hear God’s Voice in Scripture
We’ve all experienced dry seasons when reading Scripture and reading the Bible lacked power. In this session, we’ll explore what causes God’s Word to come alive and the steps we need to take to experience God’s voice.
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Welcome to Session Two of How to Hear God’s Voice in Scripture. In our last time together we talked about “am I ready, am I really ready to hear God’s voice?” Now I want to talk about if am I willing to hear God’s voice. This may be one of the most important sessions from my perspective. If you and I could only maybe have five or ten minutes to ever spend with one another, this is what I would share with you about really hearing God’s voice.
We all have seasons when we’re reading through the Bible and God speaks to us and a verse comes alive and we sense we’re in this rhythm. And I think everyone kind of has some times where I’m reading, I’m getting nothing, you know? It’s just like “It’s just words, just words off a page.” And then I’m not very motivated and then I don’t want to do it much anymore, and I ask myself “what is it? What is the key that causes God’s Word to come alive?”
I want to suggest that Jesus gave it to us. If you have a Bible, turn to Luke 8. This, I think, is the most important teaching of Jesus about His Word in all of scripture. In fact, he’s going to tell His disciples “if you don’t understand this parable”, are you ready, “you cannot understand any of the others.” You’re going to get to read this on your own, but here’s the story. Jesus is teaching and He gives a parable and He says “the son of man is like a sower who seeds the Word of God. The seed of God’s Word falls on four different paths. The birds pick up one path, and on the second path it begins to grow up but the soil is shallow. On the third path it begins to grow up but the thorns come and choke it out, and on the fourth path it falls into good soil and it grows and multiplies 30, 60, 100 times.”
The disciples come to Jesus and at the end of it. He has this great line, if you can imagine being there, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” In other words, you’re supposed to understand this. I mean, there’s a huge spiritual principle here. I love the disciples. They say, “Uh, excuse me Lord, could you maybe go over that one again with us?” Then the text is so critical. He says to you “it has been granted to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.”
Then He’s going to explain the hard soil is a picture of people’s hearts that are hard and as a believer your heart can be hard and you know what? God’s Word goes, the devil takes it away. You never even hear. Second, a heart is shallow. In other words, God wants to speak but He says something to you but you’re kind of shallow, as soon as persecution comes, as soon as it gets hard, we bail out so God doesn’t speak. The third is God wants to speak and people are responding because each one of these soils is the condition of our heart, and so pretty soon we’re responding. We’re responding and then it gets choked out, and He says it gets choked out by the worries and concerns of the world and by money and materialism.
Then He says there’s a fourth condition of the heart, this is the man or the woman … Let me read it. In fact, follow along. It says “And the seed in the good ground,” Verse 15, “These are the ones who have heard the Word in an honest and good heart and hold it fast and bear fruit”, notice, “with perseverance.” He goes on to say then that this truth that you receive, we’re opening ourselves, am I willing to hear God’s voice? Here’s then what He says, “Be careful how you listen,” because if you respond to the Word to the truth with the light that He gives you, He’ll give you more light, but if we don’t respond to the light that God gives us, even the light we have will be taken away.
Now just stay with me and skip down now to Verse 19. Right out of this it says, “And His mother and His brothers came to Him and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. And it was reported to Him, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside wishing to see you.’” Listen to what Jesus says, “But He answered and said to them, ‘My mother and my brothers are these who hear the Word of God and do it.’” When you sense that God’s really not speaking, in large measure what I ask myself is “am I really willing to hear?” In other words, obedience.
Write this down, will you? My relationship to the Word will determine my relationship to the Lord. Family relationship, can you imagine Jesus, this is His mother, this is His brother, and they’re crowding and they want to see Him and He turns to His disciples and He says, “Family relationship, deep connection, hearing God’s voice, intimacy, it’s about obedience to God’s Word.”
Let me just give you a practical application here, when I’m reading through the Bible on a regular basis and, candidly, I don’t feel like God’s speaking to me, and it’s not always true, but I ask myself what’s wrong. Then one of the things I do is almost to an extreme, “Lord, I don’t know exactly what you’re going to say but if there’s a promise here or there’s a command, I’m going to apply this somehow.” I mean it, I’m going to apply this somehow.
Recently, I was reading and it was talking about having purity of mind and your heart and so I write down stuff in my journal, “Deliver me I ask from my encumbrance of TV. It’s my default.” I mean, some people when you get tired, you eat. Some people struggle with logging on to stuff. For me, I’ll watch a football game. I don’t watch bad stuff, but it’s just a distraction. I’m watching too much of it.
As God spoke to me and I addressed that and I wrote it down and I put a little box in my journal, then the next day as I read God’s Word, here’s what I know: when I respond to the truth, God opens His Word to me. So here’s my question, “where has God been speaking to you?” If you find that sort of the truth is bouncing off like BBs of your soul, you know, just like tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, that it doesn’t go deep and you’re not hearing Him and you’re not responding? Let me encourage you. Say “Lord, speak to me. Is there an area you want me to obey?” As you respond to the truth, God will always give you more truth.
Are you willing to hear God’s voice? Here’s what I can tell you, if you’re willing, He will speak.