A common question asked by Christians is, “How can I hear the voice of God?” Most people desire to know what God wants of them and what God has in store for them. Yet often people do not find an answer.
The Bible tells us that God is ready to speak with us. In fact Jesus declared that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” John 10:27
So the more important question is not “How do I hear the voice of God?” but “Are you willing to hear what God has to say?”
If God spoke to you today what would He say to you?
And would you accept what God said?
The Burning Bush
One of the most dramatic examples of God speaking to someone is that of Moses meeting God at the Burning Bush. In Exodus chapters 3 and 4 we have the record of Moses in the wilderness looking after his father-in-law’s sheep when he sees a burning bush. The bush burns for a long time but is never consumed, and that intrigues Moses, so he goes to see the sight close up.
As Moses approaches the bush God speaks to him and tells him to take off his shoes because it is holy ground.
So this stands out as a most remarkable encounter where a man heard clearly and directly from God.
All those who wish to know what God is saying to them should want a Burning Bush experience, where they can talk with God and hear what God has to say.
Arguing With God
For Moses, however, this encounter was not one that he cherished. It was not a lovely time of meeting with God. In fact it was a very troubling time and one that led Moses to argue vigorously with God.
God called Moses to go back to Egypt to tell Pharaoh to let God’s people go.
Moses responded by asking, “Who am I that I should go?” God reassured Moses by saying, “I will be with you”. Then Moses told God, “I don’t know your name”. God told Moses that God is the great “I AM”, and told Moses to tell the people that “I am that I am has sent you”.
Moses continued to resist God, by declaring, “They will not believe me”. So God gave several supernatural signs to Moses to do, including his rod turning into a serpent. Then Moses argued that he was not eloquent of speech. God reminded Moses that it was God who created the mouth, and so could be with him in his speaking.
Finally Moses told God to, “Send someone else”. And this angered God.
What About You?
Do you really want to hear from God? Moses didn’t, despite the wonderful sight of a burning bush.
Moses did not want to hear what God said to him. Moses resisted God and argued with Him.
Would you really listen to God? Would you readily accept what God says?
What makes you different to Moses?
If God spoke with you today, what would he say to you?
I see in scripture that God gave four kinds of messages that God speaks to people.
If God sent an angel to your home to give you a message from God would you let the angel in, or sneak out the back door and run away?
Voice of Judgment
We see in scripture that God often speaks judgment upon people. In fact, Christians should expect to hear such messages from God because of what Jesus said, that He rebukes those He loves.
“Those I love I rebuke and chasten” Revelation 3:19
We also have the sobering message that God told Jonah to say to Nineveh. His warning was that “God sees what you have been doing”.
“Go tell Nineveh that ‘God sees your wickedness!’” Jonah 1:2
How would you feel if an angel came to your house to warn you that “God has been watching you, and has seen what you have done”? Would that be an encouragement or a fearful thought to you?
The similar thought was brought to Belshazzar by Daniel, warning him that he has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. That very night his kingship would come to an end.
“Belshazzar, You have failed to meet God’s standard!” Daniel 5:25-28
And consider the New Testament warning by Paul, that God will not be mocked. You will get what you deserve.
“God will not be mocked! What a man sows is what will grow in his life.” Galatians 6:7,8
Which one of those messages would you like to have given to you?
God’s Call to Action
The angel of God came to Gideon and told him that God saw him as a “mighty man of valour”. He was instructed to go out and fight the Midianites that were oppressing Israel (see Judges 6:11,12).
Gideon did not want that message and struggled to believe it.
On the other hand we have the lovely example of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The angel came to her to advise her that she would have a baby and He would be the Christ (see Luke 1:30,31,38).
Mary asked, how can this happen since I am not married? The angel told her that the Holy Spirit would put sperm in her womb so the child would be from man and from God.
Mary’s response was to say, “Let it happen to me according to your word”. She did not argue as Moses had done.
Power of the Call
We see often in scripture that God calls people who do not feel adequate for the task. The reason God can do this is because the call itself has power embedded in it.
The Apostle Paul reflected on this in Romans 4:17, when he recounted how Abraham believed God’s promise. Paul said that God calls things into existence.
The very call itself has the power to fulfil the promise. Gideon became a mighty man. Saul became a king. Mary became the mother of a child, without any man being involved.
The angel that came to Mary further explained how this can be when he told her that Mary’s aged cousin Elisabeth was expecting her first child. The angel simply stated, “With God nothing is impossible”, Luke 1:37.
Do not fear the call of God. Embedded in the call is the power to make what seems impossible a reality in your life.
God has met with people in history in order to bring blessing to them.
God came to Abraham and told him, “I will bless you, and make your name great; and you will be a blessing”, Genesis 12:1-3.
God came to King Solomon and told him that “I will give you riches and honour”, 1Kings 3:5-14.
Jabez asked God for some pretty good blessings, including that he would have larger influence and be protected from evil. God granted those requests, 1Chronicles 4:10.
So it may be that the angel sent to your home with a message from God is there to confer blessing on you, or to tell you that God has heard your prayers and will grant your requests.
Another message that God gives to His people is that of guidance.
The prophet Isaiah tells us that we will hear God’s voice telling us which way to go.
“And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21
In the New Testament we have several examples of God’s guidance in the book of Acts.
Philip the evangelist was instructed to go into the desert and when he arrived there he saw a chariot. God instructed him to go to the chariot. The result was the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch, Acts 8:26-29.
The apostle Paul was clearly led to go to Macedonia, after being blocked by God from going in several other directions, Acts 16:9.
So it might be that an angel sent to you home has come to give you directions from God.
Do You Want to Hear?
I come again to the question, “Are you willing to hear what God has to say?”
It’s one thing to wish for God to speak, but if He did, would you listen? Or would you be like Moses and Gideon, reacting to what God said and trying to shrink away from it?
If you had your own, personal Burning Bush, would you use it?
If you could break a twig off the Burning Bush and pull it out when you need an answer, sticking it in the ground, having it fire up, and then being able to speak directly with God, would you want such a thing?
Would you believe what God says, or would you argue with it?
A Personal Burning Bush
I recently saw Theresa Dedmon from Behhtel Church in Redding California create prophetic art in Melbourne and I was blessed by what her picture spoke to me. When I chatted with her later, she did not have in mind the message I received. So I see this as a prophetic message that I am to share.
Her painting depicted a tree that was growing out of an open Bible. She had in the mind the Tree of Life. But she painted it with a yellow glow upon the branches, and that spoke to me of the burning bush.
What the picture spoke to me was that the Burning Bush of Moses’ day was rooted in the Bible. The Bible is the source of God’s word to us, and so anything we would hear from a Burning Bush experience is simply a manifestation of what is already said to us by God in the Bible.
The Bible is our “more sure word of prophecy”, 2Peter 1:19, and so it is our Personal Burning Bush.
Any time you want a Burning Bush experience all you need do is pick up your Bible and open its pages.
But Here’s the Rub
Just because the Bible is God’s Word and it is your Personal Burning Bush, does not mean you will hear from God.
Moses resisted what God said. Moses argued with God.
And isn’t that what many Christians do when they read the Bible?
They find excuses why they don’t rejoice ever more, cast all their cares upon Him, forgive those who offend them, rest in confidence in God, confess Christ before men, and so on.
They struggle to believe the promises of God. They fail to rise to the calling of holiness God asks of them. They fail to stop loving the world and the things in the world. In fact, most Christians only accept those parts of the Bible that suit them.
It is Time to Hear God
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”, John 10:27.
Open your heart to God’s Word. Let God Challenge and Correct You, Call you to action, Bless You and Guide You.
Take out your personal burning bush and listen to what God is saying to you from His word, the Bible. And this time DO what God’s word tells you to do.