“To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. – John 10:3-6 (ESV)
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27 (ESV)
When E.F. Hutton speaks, everybody listens, at least that is what the television commercial said. But when God speaks, do many people actually listen? Some of us have become “dull of hearing.” God has given us spiritual ears to hear, but we have allowed the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches to drown out His voice.
God speaks mainly through Scripture, and the still small voice. Sometimes we get a picture or vision in our minds, and maybe a dream. God also speaks through circumstances and nature, but are we listening? Many have thought that they heard God’s voice only to find out it was their own voice. Some have been deceived by the devil’s voice, but that voice always goes against what God has revealed in the Scriptures, or at times, the enemy speaks God’s word to you out of context.
I find that some seem to have ‘a word from God’ every time you get around them. We must carefully weigh every word that people give us.
I think patience is a key to discerning the voice of God. I rarely hear anyone talk about that. God doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to speak and we should be willing to wait to hear his voice. One thing is certain if we ask for wisdom, God will give it to us. If we are being led by the Spirit we must have confidence that God will lead us in our decision making. At times He will allow us to make mistakes so that we will keep coming back to Him for guidance. In the process of seeking God we learn how to discern His voice more clearly and grow in our spiritual maturity.
A warning: Unless you value the Scriptures as being inspired by God and spend time reading through them and meditating on them – you will be easily deceived. God never contradicts His written word. Daily repentance and renewal of your mind is required of those who will recognize the voice of our Shepherd on our spiritual journey.
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts…” – Hebrews 3:7-8 (ESV)