Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one,~John 10:22-30.
I recommend reading John 10 in it’s entirety. Jesus repeats that His sheep know His voice and the voice of another they will not follow. Sheep are not smart animals. They will follow each other off cliffs. They need a shepherd. Through close proximity, relationship, and time there’s a knowing of the shepherd to his sheep.
It’s challenging to know someone we’ve only read about or we only have second hand knowledge.
God speaks. I’ve heard some teach He does not speak, which is opposite to many scriptures. Such as:
Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying,~1 Corinthians 14:5.
It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions,~Joel 2:28.
See also 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.
God has spoken to His children since the beginning of time. He spoke to Moses through a burning bush. He sent an angel to speak to Mary. He spoke to Abraham and Sarah. He spoke to Saul, the later to be Apostle Paul on the way to Damascus. Jesus retreated often to be with the Father. People in the old and New Testament prophesied, had dreams, visions, and encounters with God.
We too, through relationship with God have the opportunity to know His voice and communicate with Him.
I had a pastor friend who believed we could not hear from God outside of reading the Bible. God continued to place people in his life who would regularly prophesy over him things he’d only told God. He grew to believe God speaks, though he cautioned we shouldn’t just believe every person who says they are speaking for God or saying, “God told me this.”
The Bible is clear that what we believe we are hearing from God or what others believe they are hearing from God is to be tested against the word of God. God doesn’t violate His Word. He will expand our understanding, yet He won’t violate His Word.
God won’t tell you to leave your spouse for that cute person at work who’s nicer to you.
God won’t tell you to gossip or slander people.
God won’t tell you to steal.
God won’t tell you to sleep with that person who’s not your spouse.
God does speak and listening to Him increases our intimacy with Him. I told a friend this story.
Suppose a father narrates stories for his son or daughter to help them through life. He places many words of wisdom in the book. He appoints several people to help his child along and represent him. The child gets the book and the father says, “I’m not going to talk to you anymore. You must find what you need in this book. I no longer want to deal with you, please go find someone I appointed to help you.” We’d call that parent cruel and unloving. Yet we say God is that father.
There are doctrines that make God out to be a deadbeat, lazy, and uninvolved parent. He wants us to memorize the Bible and never speak to us or engage with us outside of the book. Or some believe only “special people” can hear from God. There’s a doctrine that essentially silences the Holy Spirit and anyone’s ability to hear from God themselves.
You will find if you read the Bible God is more eager to speak to His children than they are to listen. I could write an entirely new series on the ways God speaks. I will say spending time in God’s word is essential for knowing if what we think we are hearing or sensing or seeing (dreams and visions) are from God.
Sweet friends, Jesus died for relationship. God wants to dwell with mankind, hence sending His Son and Holy Spirit. He’s after relationship. Relationship involves intimacy (knowing and being known). Intimacy involves communication. God wants to be known by you. He wants to be the closest One to you and for your relationship to grow. He longs to communicate with you. Prayer isn’t simply talking to God, it’s listening to Him as well.
Father, please reveal to us how much you long to speak to us. Reveal how your love for us surpasses that of an earthly parent. Help us to see you as you really are. Help us to hear clearly from you. Remove any deception, doubt, unbelief, and anything hindering us from hearing from you. May we know clearly your voice, check it against your word and character, and grow in intimacy with you. In Jesus powerful name, amen.