Hi fam, I am learning that God deeply desires to communicate with us humans and that through the ages He has always found a way to speak to us. I’ll confess that I have always had reservations about people who walk around proclaiming loudly and with a straight face: ‘God spoke to me’. The nerve -just preposterous. And yet, alas, my father has been speaking to me, thereby inducting me into the ludicrous God-spoke-to-me group. Bear with me as I explain.
I didn’t know just how deeply the father longs to communicate with us. As I continue to feast on his word, I am discovering a father that longs for fellowship with us, a father that expects us to hear His voice and to follow it. I had no idea that the father speaks to us so frequently, yet countless verses in the Bible confirm that indeed this is His desire, and that he is constantly speaking to us, if we could only but hear his voice.
The tragedy is that so many of us assume that God doesn’t speak to us and so we are left to figure out life on our own -that’s how I’ve spent my entire life, doing my best to figure out my life all by myself, encumbered by my human frailties and limitations. Tragic indeed. Without this knowledge, we forego that which we don’t know is rightfully ours, making life so much harder for ourselves. Yet we have a father who yearns for a closer walk with us, a father who is constantly speaking to us, guiding us, pointing out the way; the prophet Isaiah 30:21 assures us of this; “If you stray to the right or the left, you will hear a word that comes from behind you saying: “This is the way; walk in it.”
In my current crisis, I first heard my father’s voice on Christmas Eve. It came through a Todd Dulaney song titled ‘pulling me through’. One phrase kept jumping out to me every time the song looped around and I thought it odd that it was the only part of the song that caught my attention each time the song looped around over and over again as dusk turned to daylight. The line was ‘He’ll never walk out on you’, echoing Psalm 94:14 ‘For the Lord will never walk away from his cherished ones.’ Little did I know he was assuring me that he’d be with me every step of the way on the journey up ahead.
He next spoke to me a week later on New Year’s Eve, leading me to a specific book which I found in my sister’s library. Holding the book in my hand, an inner stillness came over me as he urged me to take the book and apply its teachings. Seemingly lost in daydream, Joy (my sister’s manager) interrupted my reverie, offering to give me the book if I wanted it. Jolted from the eerie stillness inside of me, I loudly and boisterously scoffed at the idea, offhandedly declining her generous offer. Pretty much, my response to God’s prompting was, ‘No, thank you very much -I think I’ll pass’ (yes, we will talk about ‘free-will‘ in a future post), no idea how or why I thought I’d get away with that! Note to self: God will take it as far as he needs to.
A couple of weeks later, he beckoned again in his relentless pursuit, this time through Mercy Chinwo’s song ‘Chinedum’ (God leads me) that I heard from a friend’s post on social media. Again, key verses kept jumping out at me; ‘God will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Hebrew 13:5 & Deut. 31:6); ‘except that God builds a house, the builders build in vain’ (Psalm 127:1); and ‘you’re taking me higher’, echoing Revelations 4:1 call to ‘come up higher’. This Chinwo song is remains a favorite and I play it nonstop as the days turn to weeks, and now, months.
It would take two months before I would turn fully to God in my crisis, and another month before I would recognize that it was my father’s voice beckoning in each of those instances. He was calling me, comforting me, reassuring me, telling me he had a good plan for me (Jer. 29:11), guiding me on what to do. He was preparing me for the journey up ahead, reassuring me that though the world as I know it may fall away, he would never leave me nor forsake me. As he says in Psalm 46:2, ‘The earth may fall apart. The mountains may fall into the middle of the sea. But we will not be afraid.’
Sitting quietly at home in my bed one night, he whispered a phrase which I then typed into the search-engine and a whole new world opened up; a world I had walked through before but didn’t realize there was a community built around it. It’s a world where impossibilities do not exist because there, he reigns supreme. He led me to yet another link on a beautiful afternoon while in my hotel room in Amsterdam. Soon, I started to learn that not only does God speak to us, but that he speaks often and frequently. It became clear that the journey I was on would require hearing him and following his voice. “This is the way; walk in it” Isaiah 30:21.
That bright March morning when I was worshipping in my hotel room in Amsterdam, it was that same still small voice that gently interrupted my worship and asked me to rededicate my life to God, a call I heeded immediately without question and fell on my knees in prayer. Another quiet night at home, he quietly directed me to read the book of Esther and fast for three days with instructions on what to do thereafter. All the while, he put people in my life to hold me up while he strengthened me in my walk.
In numerous places in the Bible, God commands us to obey not just his word but to hear and follow his voice. Through the ages, even as his way of relating to mankind has changed in each new dispensation, his expectation that we hear his voice remains a constant; this one requirement continues unchanged throughout all generations.
In the first dispensation, that of the patriarchs, God dealt primarily with individuals and their families. We see this pattern in the stories of Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. After giving Moses the ten commandments for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai, he instructed him to tell the children of Israel, ‘If you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to me above all people (Exodus 19:5).
In the second dispensation, that of the law, God dealt specifically with Israel as a collective nation by instituting a priesthood, the temple, and laws specific to them. Just before the children of Israel entered the promised land in the book of Deuteronomy 28 verses 1-2 and 15, Moses reminds them of the commandments to which they are bound, reminding them of the blessings and curses laid before them depending on their obedience to God’s voice. These verses proceed to lay out both the blessings and the curses. In verse 7:23 the prophet Jeremiah reminds the children of Israel of God’s words, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.”
In the current third dispensation, that of the gospel, God made a proclamation to the whole human race. He chose to deal with individuals at a personal level, requiring an individual response from each person. The requirement that we hear his voice remains. John chapter 10 is scattered with such instruction: v3 “the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads then out”; v4 “And the sheep follow him for they know his voice.” In verse 16, he talks about bringing in the Gentiles into the fold, “and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” And again, in verse 27, “my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Now I wonder, is it even possible to follow God when we can’t hear his voice? Everything centers around hearing God’s voice, knowing God’s voice, obeying God’s voice, following God’s voice -there is no getting around it. It’s no wonder that in 1 King 3:5, King Solomon asked for a hearing heart above all else. Isaiah 50:4-5 depicts Jesus’ ongoing daily relationship with the father; ‘Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away’. The only way Jesus was willing and able to go through with his crucifixion was by hearing his father’s voice. We cannot take bold steps without his voice guiding us to do so, assuring us that he is still God on his throne (Psalm 11:4) and that it will be well with our souls when it’s all been said and done.
In seasons like this, my heart is overjoyed that God is not a silent God. For years, I lamented his aloofness. And now suddenly I discover he is, for lack of a better word, chatty! I reckon he never stops talking as he desires to lead us ALL the time! I have since heard my father’s voice multiple times and I can honestly say that he is ‘instructing me and teaching me in the way I should go’ (Psalm 32:8). I get a sense of something then I confirm it in his word the very next moment when I’m doing my Bible study. I make a move today based on inner intuition, a still small voice, then I hear a teaching or preaching affirming my actions the next day.
Now do you understand what I mean when I say I’m excited about the exploits my father is leading me on? It is the best time of my life, not having to figure much out, being beholden to him, listening for his voice and simply following his directions in faith and total obedience. Slowly but surely, my father is ordering my steps (Psalm 119:133), directing my paths (proverbs 3:6), whispering to me -this is the way, walk in it (Isaiah 30:21). His word is ‘a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path’ (Psalm 119:105), and goodness and mercy follow me as I dwell in my father’s presence (Psalm 23:5).
As God’s word foretold in Psalm 46:2, my world as I know it is falling apart; the mountains are falling into the middle of the sea, but I am not afraid. As I cultivate hearing my father’s voice, I am assured that every need of mine is supplied. And I too, like David, can say -the Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing’. Cheers, Grey xoxo