When I think of someone who hears “the voice of God,” I usually get the image of Charlton Heston in his red robe standing at the top of Mt. Sinai; blow-dried and feathered gray hair and all, hearing this powerful booming voice calling out from fire and thick darkness, and a lot of “thou shalts” and “shalt nots.” Or I think about the baptism of Jesus, and the skies ripping open and hearing, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
The voice of God is supposed to be unmistakable. It’s not something that can be missed, right?
Here’s the problem: I’ve never heard God speak that way.
But, of course, that doesn’t mean He’s silent. We know that He speaks to us through His Word. But recently I’ve learned that if I’m listening for it, I have the unbelievable ability to literally hear the voice of God. Seriously. I’m not kidding.
Ok, let me explain.
The ancient Jewish sages taught that the Scriptures are the very words of God. Nothing shocking there; Christians believe the same thing. The difference is that the Jewish sages also taught that when we hear someone else speaking the words of the Bible, that their voice literally becomes “God’s voice.” It means that God’s voice doesn’t sound like James Earl Jones. It sounds like your wife. It sounds like your pastor. It sounds like your best friend.
Now that’s both good and bad news. The good news is that we can hear God’s voice multiple times per day. The bad news is that these sounds are so common to us, that we can easily miss it. I almost missed hearing God’s voice just a few days ago.
God’s been doing some amazing things in my life; opening up doors of ministry and working in my life in powerful ways. And as should be expected, the Enemy isn’t sitting back and ignoring it. He’s on the attack. So I’ve been put into a position where either God comes through, or I’m toast. Think Red Sea and pharaoh’s chariots.
So I’m sitting at Taco Bell with my wife and two sons, eating some tacos (or at least that’s what they keep trying to tell me they are), thinking about what a terrible situation I’m in and how hard life is. I’ve got my nose stuck in my iPhone and I’m trying to force down another taco, doing my best to ignore everyone around me – including my family. We’ve got about ten minutes to finish eating before we have to get the boys to Vacation Bible School, and they still don’t have their memory verse down as well as I would like. So Christy is working with the boys on the verse, while I’m stewing. They keep trying over and over again to get through the verse without help. Finally, I get frustrated enough that I decide it’s time that I step up and make sure they learn it. And I hear my six year old say:
I didn’t know that the voice of God sounded like my six year old son. It does.
At that very moment, without fanfare or lightning or fire or thick darkness, God ripped open the Heavens and shouted out exactly what I needed to hear. And just to be sure I heard it clearly He said it again, this time sounding like my eleven year old. And I almost missed it.
And that got me wondering; how many times has God spoken the exact right words at the exact right time, and I missed it? Maybe because I was distracted and not paying attention or because I didn’t like the sound of the voice He was speaking through.
He’s going to speak to us today. All we have to do is listen for it.