Proverbs 29:1 He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
The hardest question to answer while in a counselling session is when someone says, “Why can’t I hear God? If I could hear Him audibly, then I would do what He says, and I would not be so confused.” This is a common statement and assumption that is often made. This will be hard for some to accept but, why would God speak audibly to you when you have not obeyed His written word? His word says – not to gossip, and yet, you are gossiping, what difference would an audible voice make saying the very same thing? Most people write off the voices in their heads as white noise. If we cannot obey the written word which God has laid out in the Bible, we will not obey the voice from heaven, regardless of how loud it is. We will get caught up in the awe of the experience for a while, but this does not mean obedience is automatic.
As the counselling progresses and with a few probing questions, it is not long before the truth of the matter is laid out before us. There are all kinds of instructions in God’s word that the person needing counselling has been ignoring habitually. They have not been faithful in the little things, therefore they cannot get much out of their Christian walk. They seem to stay in a state of stagnation with no joy. Luke 16:10 If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. I realize this observation may be too simple a diagnosis, but it is on track. Our conscience is one of the methods God uses to get through to us, and if we are not following the conviction of heart pulsating within our soul and mind, hearing an audible command will become just as easy to put aside.
There can be confusion when the audible voice is thought to be heard. When Jesus cried out from the cross “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” What Jesus said and what the crowd heard were two different things. Matt. 27:47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah. The carnal man does not hear the heart of the Spirit. In some cases, this is what happens when the audible voice of God is heard or perceived to be heard. It becomes a discussion of what was thought to be said, thus missing the point of what was said. This is why the Lord speaks to us through the Holy Spirit and the still small voice within our hearts. We hear the intimate love language the Lord woos us with.
When Peter, James, and John were with the Lord on the mount of transfiguration, the audible voice of God the Father was heard. Matt. 17:5 While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him! The audible voice of God had no long-lasting effect on Peter as he ended up denying he even knew Christ at the Lord’s arrest and false trial. James had scattered with the other apostles. There was no extra-human strength because they had heard God’s audible voice. The only thing that brought them all back to a form of unity in Christ was the word that had been sown in their hearts. Luke 24:32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?
What God has given to those who are in Christ, is intuitive knowledge of what is said through the word to their hearts. Interestingly, it is Peter who makes the point, – we have all that we need and can be confident in the Holy Spirit to hear God through His word. 2Pet. 1:19 We have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.
The instructions that come from God can always be found in His word. We want the verification of what God is saying in our hearts to be confirmed in His word because the competing voices for our soul will gladly tell us anything we want to hear. 1Pet. 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. If you are having a hard time hearing God, then take stock of what your discomfort is telling you within your conscience. Most of the time when we cannot hear God for the noise in our lives, it is because the Lord has already told us what is what, and we want another answer other than the one we got.
I agree that every once in a while there will be a clear and precise audible directive from the Lord that makes knowing what to do perfectly understandable. However, when this happens, it is because you were seeking God with all of your heart with no conditions attached. You were completely surrendered to whatever God asked of you. Jer. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. In most cases, the audible voice you heard came from your spirit and impacted you to the point that you could have sworn it was so loud that everyone around you heard it as well. Still, at this point, God’s word will confirm what the Lord is saying to your soul.
We can trust the word of the Lord, and through prayer, allow the Holy Spirit to direct our lives with peace within our conscience. 2Tim.3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. We can hear God when we are honestly receptive and are willing to do His will. May God’s face shine on us all.