Hearing God's Voice
When I attended Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, the president of the university was Mark Rutland, PhD. I remember once hearing him tell a story about a time when he was flying out of Los Angeles after an intense time of ministry. He was tired and feeling rather unspiritual at that particular moment, but the man sitting next to him wanted to make conversation. “What do you do for a living?” this gentleman asked, to which Dr. Rutland replied, “I’m a Bible college president and a minister.” The gentleman, who was also a minister, automatically assumed they were part of the same denomination. He continued to probe inquisitively until he discovered that Dr. Rutland was, in fact, affiliated with a Pentecostal denomination. It was then that the gentleman realised they held very different doctrinal positions, and his demeanour immediately changed. His tone became argumentative, and he decided to take advantage of the opportunity to debate a real-live Pentecostal. “I have something I want to ask you,” he said. Dr. Rutland was not in the mood for a debate. “Friend, can’t we just relax and drink our Diet Coke?” he asked. But the man was insistent. “No,” he said, “there is something I need to know. Please just answer this question: Since the canon of Scripture is closed, do you believe God still speaks? Because we don’t.” Dr. Rutland reluctantly responded, still not wanting to engage in a debate. “OK,” he said, “I’ll answer your question if you’ll answer mine: Are you or are you not called to preach?”
“Yes, of course, I’m called to preach,” the man shot back. “Then let me ask you,” Dr. Rutland said, “who called you?” The gentleman had no reply. He turned his face to the window and never spoke to Dr. Rutland again for the rest of the trip.
Hearing the voice of God is one of the most basic and most profound secrets to discovering God’s will for your life. In fact, without the ability to hear God’s voice, knowing His will would actually be impossible. God speaks to people through a myriad of different means and methods, but many simply don’t realise it. My friend, whether you know it or not, God is speaking to you, and your ability to recognise His voice is not only the key to discovering His will, but it is also the key to staying in His will for the rest of your life. Hearing the voice of God is not only possible for the child of God; it is absolutely imperative to listen to and be led by that voice!
Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke said, “It would be hard to find a line of Scripture on which to build a doctrine of a silent God. It is not at all the Bible picture. People called on God because that is how they knew Him—a God who can be heard. A silent heaven is frightening: ‘If you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit,’ the Psalmist cried (Psalm 28:1). . . . In 1 Corinthians, Paul also contrasts ‘dumb idols’ (1 Corinthians 12:2) with the vocal gifts of the Spirit, tongues, prophecy, and interpretation, the word of knowledge and the word of wisdom. These utterances are God’s gifts, typical of God who speaks.”
Jesus said, “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:25, NKJV). If we are a part of His flock, we have all been called by the voice of the Good Shepherd, and the voice that called us to salvation is the same voice that must lead us throughout our lives.