If I ask some of my readers, did you speak to God lately, they will not have a problem because they will understand me to ask them if they prayed. However, if I ask, have you heard God’s voice, that could evoke a negative response in some. Hearing voices, except for the most extreme charismatics, is a no, no among evangelical Christians. Nevertheless, rightly understood if you call yourself a Christian and do not hear God’s voice, then you are mistaken and are not a Christian at all.
“When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers … I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me” John 10:4, 5, 14
I do not suggest that Christians should listen for voices in the conventional sense, but if your faith is nothing more than an intellectual understanding of Christian teaching, you may find yourself to be no Christian at all on that terrible day. Scripturally speaking the child of God hears and knows the voice of his heavenly Father, to him all comfort is not derived from within as the world would have us believe but from someone we can’t see, touch, or hear with our ordinary senses.
The Christian life is a Spirit filled life, a life by which ordinary sinful men receive grace from God by which they are born again and are able to commune with God through the Holy Spirit that is given to them. So it was that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Colosse and told them,
“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions” Colossians 2:13
The Christian, therefore, is one that was dead (spiritually) but is made alive, and he is no longer alone without God but exists in the state he was meant to live, which is with God in Christ. It is this new state of life that allows the true Christian to hear the voice of God through the reading of His holy Word the Bible. The voice of God cannot be heard by a man that is dead spiritually, who only understands the world through the five natural senses, which are given by God to understand the material part of His creation. Therefore, Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers,
“but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10
A natural man, as opposed to a spiritual man, cannot understand the things of God no matter how much he studies the Bible, because it takes the same God that wrote to Bible to make it understandable. This principle is stated by Paul also,
“But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
Sin separates man from his creator, and as it is with those that have not been born again and who do not possess the Spirit of God, so it is also with the Christian who lives in unrepentant sin. For 3 years the disciples walked and talked with the greatest teacher the world has ever known; they observed the miracles of the Son of God and were taught by Him. They were even sent out by Him to preach the Gospel and to do miracles. However, on the night of Jesus sufferings He was betrayed by one of them (Judas the lost one), He was denied by another, and forsaken by all. Later on the disciples seem to have lost their way. They returned to fishing and basically hid from the authorities, they are found in an upper room living in profound fear. All that Jesus taught them about His death and resurrection seem to have gone unheard, unheeded, misunderstood, and most importantly unbelieved.
So it was of Elijah of old from 1 Kings 19. One moment he was on top of Mount Carmel combating the prophets of Baal and calling down the fire of God upon them and the next he is fleeing for his life from the queen. On his way we are told of him,
“… he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”
But we might ask Elijah if we were there, who ever said you were better? Pride is a terrible thing for the child of God. Give the Christian a successful ministry without humility and he is guaranteed to be ruined. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6. Therefore, when the Word of the Lord came to Elijah and asked him basically, what are you doing, Elijah replied,
“I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
However, Elijah was somewhat confused about the numbers of faithful witness because God told him there were actually 7,000 that had not bowed the knee to false gods. The zeal that Elijah experienced in reality was a gift from God who gives His spirit to men as a result of grace; otherwise, men are sinners and nothing more. Furthermore, God told Elijah to leave the cave and when he did there came a strong wind that split rocks, an earthquake, and a fire but Elijah did not hear the voice of God in any of the things that can be understood through the natural senses. Then we are told that God spoke to Elijah through a still small voice (in Hebrew the most accurate rendering).
A. E. Wilder-Smith who is a scientist and a man of God tells the story about the time he and his wife were to go to dinner; they had a small child and warned the babysitter to watch the new baby very carefully because their child did not understand how fragile the baby was. On their way his wife told him, you must turn around because something awful is about to happen, so he turned the car around. Just about that time she said to him, never mind it is OK now. He said are you sure, and she said yes. He said, alright, but when we return we will ask the babysitter what happened at 7 o’clock. When he asked the babysitter she became pale and said she was doing the wash as she was instructed not to do and heard the sound of feet upstairs. She became alarmed and ran upstairs only to find the child pulling the baby by his feet in an attempt to bring him down the stairs. Wilder-Smith asks, now how did my wife know that something was happening back at the house? The answer he gives and I couldn’t agree more is that God has placed within all of us a 6th sense by which we can know Him. That 6th sense can tell us of things we could not otherwise know.
On one particular night my wife and I were entertaining a young woman from church and after a while she told us that she was going out with friends. I do not say that no Christian should ever drink, I believe there is a degree of liberty in such matters, but that night I stood in her way and said I have a feeling this will turn out very bad, please don’t go. She would not listen to me and went out anyway. At 3 0’clock in the morning my wife and I found ourselves comforting a sobbing young woman who had a person put something into her drink and then later raped her. Now, if you ask me how did you know something bad was going to happen, I will tell you I do not know, but I had the strongest sense that it was going to turn out bad.
It is that 6th sense that I believe allows us to know things sometimes that we could not otherwise know, however, only the spiritually alive can use that God given sense to know Him, and the things pertaining to Him. Therefore, the scripture tells us in many places, when speaking to those who have repented of sin and been brought to God through a saving faith in Christ that they have a spiritual discernment the world knows nothing about.
“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” 1 John 2:27
From the previous verse we understand that one must read and study the Bible to learn the things of God, but apart from the anointing of God study of even being taught will avail nothing. Even when we are taught by God-given teachers, they are only conveying to us what we already know by His Spirit that dwells within. The only true teacher is God Himself. For this reason Jesus said, “Call no man teacher because there is one teacher, your Father in heaven, and you are all brethren.” John tells us in his letter,
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” 1 John 3:2
John tells us “We know…” but how do we know? We know through the Holy Spirit that speaks to an unclouded and energized 6th sense. “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” 1 John 4:13
I do hope that if you are reading this blog that you understand the things of which I write and that you have a personal knowledge of such things. One sure evidence that you are a Christian is that you understand things that the average person does not. This is not cause for pride but actually humility that causes the Christian to look at a person of the world and say with all conviction, except for the grace of God there go I.