Hearing is one of the five senses what God gifted us and we are really blessed to have this sense. Everyday we hear thousands of sounds. Every sound differs, it includes soft whispering to loud screaming! Some soft music to hard metal noise! When it is pleasant to our ears we call it soft, when it is a soft rhythmic sound we call it music, when people are conveying talks we call it speaking or conversation when the sound is too much and can’t differ we call it a noise. Thus there are many varieties of sounds. Again depending on the privacy of the matter, to the environment where people speak sound differ from whispering to conversation to shouting and screaming!
Again thanks to new technology that the matter we want to speak to another person far away can either be telephoned or recorded or send as writing as letters, emails, SMS etc. Thus there are plenty of mediums to communicate with people out of reach. Humans can hear the sound from 20 Hertz to 20000 Hertz. Some animals are can hear lower and higher frequencies than this. But the real question is even though we are blessed with such amazing hearing ability and such wonderful technologies have you heard from your Father in Heaven today?
Do God ever speak? Psalms 50:1 says God is calling the earth from rising of the sun to sunset.
“The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets.” (Psalm 50:1 NIV). We all know sun never rises and sets it’s a feeling because the earth rotates in it’s own axis and the exposure to sun makes day and exposure to the other side-dark makes night. Therefore what the verse above says is from the time God created the universe God is calling earth! Are you listening his call? In Genesis chapter 1 we see the creation of the whole universe. We see every day God commanded each things to be there like sun, moon, land, sea etc and everything heard His voice and obeyed and it came to existence! If all the so called non living things can hear God what about us? Why don’t we hear His voice?
God speaks through different ways. As mentioned above if we need to convey a message to others we have different mediums like by person, phone, computer, writhing etc same way God speaks through different ways. Sometimes He speak to our hearts directly, may be in a vision in dreams, may be through some one else, may be when you read Bible you feel God speaking to you, through a Gospel song like these there are many ways God can communicate to you. But the real question lies are you listening to His call?
How is God’s voice? In Psalms 29 we the different types of sound of God. The voice of God is powerful, majestic, like thunder and lightening, the voice of God shakes land like different effects of His sounds are given. (The psalms is quoted right at the end). Even though it is such powerful voice it is also soft to make the deers to calve and His voice brings life, hope and peace.
When we read in 1 Samuel 3rd chapter we see God calling Samuel. Samuel was a small boy. He was helping the great priest Eli. One day Samuel went to sleep as usual as any other day. But then he heard someone calling Samuel, Samuel. He thought Eli might be calling him and went to him. But Eli said he didn’t call him and this happened three times then Eli understood God is calling Samuel and Eli told him the next time when you hear the voice tell God- “So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:9-10 NIV). And we see God speaking to Samuel in the rest of the chapter.
Similarly in another place we see the great prophet Elijah was in deep trouble. He didn’t do anything wrong but when he did according to what God told him to do he had to undergo a deep trouble- the queen Isabel wanted to kill him. (Please go through 1Kings 18,19). Elijah was running for his life and was in deep agony for what happened to him. When he reached the breaking point we see God appearing to him. God appears in different way there to show His power before him.
“The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13 NIV). God wanted to strengthen him by showing His power and that’s why God appeared as powerful wind, earthquake and fire but after all those God speaks to him in a ‘Gentle Whisper’ which he wanted the most at that moment.
Through out Bible we see God speaking to different people through different means. He used prophets as a means to speak to others. He spoke through the nature, in visions and in many ways. I would like to draw your attention to one more incident and summaries this thought.
We all know about Moses and the way how God used Moses to deliver Israelites from the hands of Egyptians. It’s given in detail throughout the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua. The way how God delivered and lead them are truly amazing. God has never done to anyone as much as He cared for Israelites. “He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 147:19-20 NIV). God been a cloud to provide shadow during day time and a pillar of fire during night through there hard journey in the desert. God made such a great miracle delivering Israelites from Egyptians by splitting the Red Sea and allowing the Israelites to cross the Red Sea while putting the sea back to normal while Egyptians were crossing, there by drowning them in the sea and giving a great victory for Israel! Again God was with them throughout their harsh journey of Forty years and provided food and water abundantly on their way for a crowd of around 4 Million people and there animals! God helped them in every war they had on their way and helped to overcome all their troubles. It is written their sandals never worn out and there clothes never wear out.
“Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.” (Deuteronomy 8:4 NIV). God even provided Heavenly food ‘Manna’ for His people.
Even though God did so much miracles to them and brought out of all their troubles, instead of people being thankful to God they kept testing God and it made him very angry. There were many times when God was about to kill them all but Moses begged before God and just because of Moses God forgave them. Still instead of repenting and turn back to God they hardened there hearts. Instead of understanding it was God’s great grace that they were living they hardened there hearts and as a result they had to wander for 40 long years in the desert and none other than two Joshua and Caleb out of those Six-hundred thousand men reached the promised land! This is why it is said again in psalms 95 as a warning to the generations to hear God’s voice and obey his commandments.
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice, “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” (Psalm 95:6-11 NIV)
When coming to New Testament we see in John 10 Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd and his disciples as herd of sheep. There we see Jesus saying his sheep know the shepherd and only listens to him and obey him and don’t go behind anyone else.
“The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (John 10:2-5 NIV)
We the New Testament Israel God’s chosen people should listen to God. We should not be listening to any stranger but listening to our good shepherd Jesus. How do we listen to God? We listen to God by not only hearing and knowing the commandments but also by obeying them.
“If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15 NIV)
“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:21 NIV)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)
We see a great vision of Heaven in the book of Isaiah chapter 6 and there we see God asking a question- “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8 NIV). Then Jesus the second personality of God replies- “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8 NIV). And when the time came we all know God send his son Jesus to die for our sins. Today God is asking the same question again “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Let’s reply as Jesus did- “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8 NIV)
Thus whoever listens and obeys God’s voice does God’s will. And to those who listen His voice and obey God they will only hear the loud command of God and the mighty trumpet of archangel of God during the second coming of Jesus and they be with God forever! What a great privilege!
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV)
And to those who listen and don’t obey God the warning is repeated in Hebrews.
“So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:7-19 NIV)
Therefore let’s leave out all stubbornness, sin’s deceitfulness, unbelief and doubts and not harden our hearts towards God’s voice as those Israelites did, but soften and open up our hearts and be with the same attitude of Samuel –“Speak, for your servant is listening.”
“Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:1-11 NIV)