“HOW TO HEAR GOD’S VOICE”                        By Pastor YAU

Text: 1 Kings 19:1-14                                              December 9, 2007

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)    This is a noisy world: In recent years the spread of personal digital music players has resulted in concerns about hearing loss. The design of the music players and earphones has been the target of complaints and lawsuits. Long-term exposure to music at high volume has been shown to cause serious hearing impairment. In a sense, too much hearing can result in inability to hear. We live in a noisy world---noises design to sell, to plead, to seduce and to deceive. In the midst of all this cacophony of noise, it is easy to miss that one voice that matters the most.

2)    There is a still small voice: After the triumphant victory over the false prophets of Jezebel on Mount Carmel, Prophet Elijah listened to Jezebel’s threats that caused him to fear, so he fled to the desert and hid in a cave. In that cave, he was confronted with the over-whelming noise of a whorl wind, a thunderous earthquake and an infernal fire. Then the cave grew silent and the voice of the Lord, the only sound that mattered, broke through as a “still small voice” (19:12). That small voice restored his faith and reassured him of God’s call and new assignments.

 

THE VOICES WE LISTEN THE MOST:

1)    The voice of our heart: If we are honest enough, we listen mostly to our own hearts. We make decisions and choices mostly to satisfy our heart’s desire. Before we say we trust someone else, we trust ourselves first: we certainly know what we want or what our hearts want. This is true with the case of Eve. Before she listened to the serpent to ignore God’s word, she had in her own heart that to be like God is desirable. The world today repeats that desire to “follow your heart’s desire” in so many different ways. From choosing the style of your clothing to what kind of food to eat, from choosing whom you will be friend with to what you will do with them, from choosing a job, a place to live, a city to move to, where to go for vacation, etc. We make these decisions to satisfy our heart’s desire. How often have you heard people say they seek God’s directions and obey them in making decisions like these?

2)    The voice of the devil: By the nature of man, the devil is part of human nature: we were born with the devil in our life. The devil also lives in our environment, in the society, among our friends, our colleagues. The devil will tell us what to choose and how to live our life. The power of the devil we call it “temptation.” As the devil used the “forbidden fruit” as desirable, pleasing to the eyes of Eve, temptation works the same way to us. Temptation comes from our inside and the outside. All voices that distract you from following God’s will are temptations.

3)    The voices of men: This includes people whom we love and trust, people whom we consider good and decent. We often consult these people before we make our choices and decisions. While there are those whom we truly trust to be good and wise, human wisdom is still far short of divine wisdom. The danger of trusting wrong people is always there. In choosing to listen to the voice of men, we risk following the wrong man or the wrong crowd.

4)    The voice of the world: There are many representative of the voice of the world which constantly trying to get our attention: TV, radio, news paper, magazines, flyers, letters and other kinds of mailing and telephone calls, all try to get us to buy, to choose, to subscribe, to join, to attend and to do this and do that. They all want us to believe that they are doing us a favor: to make us look better, become richer, smarter, make the right choice, do the right thing and so on. Many people won’t listen to these voices, but there are enough people who will listen to make these so called media channels continue to grow to multi-billion dollars industry.

 

CAUTIONS WE NEED TO HAVE: While the above voices and other voices may not be all bad, we need to realize the truth and dangers of all these voices and the consequences if we listen to them without conscious and intelligent determination.

1)    The voice of human heart is corrupted:  The Bible describes human hearts as this, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)Prophet Jeremiah is telling us a great truth: human heart, with all the sinful nature in it, is so corrupted that no man can understand it much less control it. The Bible uses “heart” to represent the inner nature of man. When the Bible says, “All men have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) it puts all men and their hearts in the category without exception. We need to be very careful when we listen to the voice of our heart’s desire in making decisions.

2)    The voice of temptation is deceitful: All temptations come to us disguised. Just as the serpent pretended to be nice to Eve and had the best interest of Eve in mind, temptations will present to us the false side of the scheme. Many otherwise smart and cautious people fell to the schemes of some so called advisers of investments for easy money and very attractive returns because of the temptation of greed in his nature. Temptations come in all sizes and colors to suit the size and needs of different people. From money to power, from pride to fame, from immoral acts to outright illegal dare venture, no one may know all the faces and colors of temptation.

3)    The voice of the devil is sugar coated: When the Devil talked to Eve on making the choice after her own heart, he made it sounded so sweet that Eve couldn’t say no. In 2 Corinthians 11:14, the Bible says, “For Satan himself masquerades  as an angel of light,” the voice of the devil is always sugar coated with enticing benefits and satisfaction, things we are always being drawn to. All we have to do is compare the offer of the devil with the word of God and we will see the right choice to make.

4)    The voice of the world is loud and clear: Everyday we live in this world we are bombarded by the ideas, philosophies, values and methods of this world. Getting ahead with all means. Get rich all you can get regardless of ways and means. Do what your heart tells you and you will be happy. You have to have this and that to feel good of yourself. There is not such thing as right or wrong, it all depends on situation. We are to tolerate with all people in all things because it is about freedom of choice. These and many other voices are becoming the norms of the society in which we live. We are being surrounded by so many voices of the world. If we are not strong in our beliefs and faith in God, it is very easy we will get swept away by these worldly voices.

 

THE STILL, SMALL VOICE:

1)   What is a still, small voice? In the Bible, the word “still” often times means “calm” like “still water” in Psalm 23:2. “Small” is about size or volume. When God speaks to His people, He seldom shouted or in thunderous voice but in a calm and low, small voice. The Bible portrays God as a kind and gentle father who understands the needs of His children and is willing to show them the best way to meet their needs. That’s why the Bible often times use “visions” and “dreams” as means for God to communicate with His people. Our God is a loving and caring God. He doesn’t have to yell or shout to get our attention.

2)   Why is God’s voice still and calm? In the case of Elijah, he was in great feat to run for his life. He was also in depression to feel bad and inadequate compared to his ancestors. His had lost all his vigor and courage even he has just overcome the power of 450 false prophets who worshipped Baal. He was also weak and exhausted after running for miles in the wilderness. To make things worse, he had just been in the center of a great wind storm, an earthquake and an infernal fire. What he needed at the time was not another thunderous shout and scream form God. He needed comfort, love, care and reassurance. God knew what he needed and spoke to him in a calm and assuring voice.

3)   How to hear God’s still, small voice? First, you need to recognize the way God speaks to his people. He didn’t speak to Elijah in the wind storm or the earthquake or the great fire. The Bible said three times, “the Lord was not in.” When Jesus wanted to meet God, His Father, He didn’t do it when thousands of people around but in the mountain top where He could be with God alone. Don’t look for some exciting time or place to hear God speaks to you. Second, God speaks to meet specific needs. God saw Elijah’s weakened spiritual condition. He knew what Elijah’s problem was. He spoke to him when all the rumblings are gone and Elijah was ready to listen. We have to put away all the daily hustles and noises in order to listen to that still, small voice of God.

4)   What did that still small voice do? That still, small voice of God came to remind Elijah the relationship between him and God. God asked him to reexamine his position and attitude: “What are you doing here?” God asked that question to help him see his spiritual condition: full of fear, discouraged, forgetting the power of God just a day before and the mission to bring the nation of Israel back to God. Elijah assumed that he was useless, had failed the mission God had called him. But he was so wrong. He thought he is done with God but God is not done with him. God continued to use him, gave him more very important assignments. (19:15-21)

 

CONCLUSION:

1)     What are the voices you listen the most? Reexamine your recent decisions and see what voice you listen to the most that helped you made your decisions? Those are the influences you live your life with. Find out how much of those voices are of God and godly. This will give you an accurate picture of your spiritual condition.

2)     Conditions that help listening to God: Since God usually speaks to us in still, small voice, we should find ways suitable so we may listen to His voice: Quiet time in devotion, in prayers, in worship, in Bible study and in soul searching. Allow His spirit to speak to you when you need guidance, direction, strength and comfort. Tune your spiritual dial right with God and you will hear his voice.

3)     Listen to His call: Jesus called, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” (Matthew 11:28-29)Respond to His call and you will find true peace for your life.