Picture a set of ears attached to your heart. Got that? Ok, now ponder deeply, do our ears actually do the hearing? Or does our mind hear what we select and then through our intellect, we translate the meaning? The wisest man known to have ever lived asked God for a discerning heart, a heart that hears and chooses wisely. Is the secret of hearing the Truth all about listening with our hearts? Throughout the ages people have been easily deceived by the prince of the air. Are we too distracted to be still and know that the voice we hear is God’s? Our Father often speaks in a tiny whisper, but His sheep know His voice. We are all guilty of tuning out what we do not wish to hear. God insists that we hear His voice. If we switch our hearing to our own thoughts, we miss what the Holy Spirit is saying. God encourages us to listen more and speak less…. “Listen carefully to what I say; let my words ring in your ears.” Job 13:7 — Since we have physical ears on our head, our plea is that God gives our hearts spiritual ears to hear what the indwelt Holy Spirit is saying. “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27 — Have I asked for spiritual ears to hear?
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” Deut 29:29 – Through history God dispensed His will in specific ways to the human race. For teaching purposes, Seminary uses the theological word dispensation. How God dispensed His will to His people differed through the ages, however, what is also true is that God has been consistent in one way, and that is He requires all of His people to hear His voice, recognize His voice, and act on what He is saying. The first dispensation was during the period of the patriarchs. The fathers of families like Abraham Isaac Jacob, Enoch and Noah. During that age of dispensation Almighty God spoke to individuals directly. Then our Creator dispensed His will and ways during the age of the Law. Specifically, God placed Israel as a collective nation under a special law that did not apply entirely to other nations. This period of time was when Israel had a temple and a priesthood. The third period of dispensation was when God dispensed His Word through giving us the Gospel. The Dispensation of the Gospel was when God the Father gave His only Son to the entire human race, regardless of nation, color or brand of religion. The Gospel is that Jesus Christ is Lord over all. This Truth requires that each person give a response, a decision to believe, or not to believe. Scholars discern three major dispensations. 1) The patriarchs. 2) Israel under the law. 3) The dispensation of the Gospel in which we live today. Our Father consistently expects that the people He speaks to, that we all listen respectively and obey. From dispensation to dispensation, God insists that we hear His voice and act on it. In Exodus 15: 23 Israel had come to a place in the wilderness where they were thirsty. A pool of bitter water named Marah was not consumable. Moses prayed and in obedience to his Father’s voice, he cast down a specific tree into the water and the water was healed. “Moses if thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and will do that which is right in His sight, and will give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee which I’ve brought upon the Egyptians for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” God requires His people to diligently hearken (hear) His voice. In Hebrew this scripture translates “If you will listen”. For all people then and now, God requires that we listen for His voice. Pastor Derek Prince tells the story of when he was hospitalized for over a year as he studied the scriptures. He discovered that almost in every place where God speaks about healing, it was written that we listen. In this world people of God suffer and die and some keep thorns in their flesh, for His purposes. When we listen for His voice we come to agree with His purpose. In Exodus chapter 19:3-6 Moses went up the mountain alone and God spoke. God dispensed a message to the children of Israel. “Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession. Although the whole earth is Mine, you will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ The primary emphasis “if ye will obey My voice”. God’s condition is that His people listen and obey. Without listening for His voice we cannot follow Him. By obeying His voice, we keep our covenant relationship. In Deuteronomy 28 before Israel entered into the land of Canaan, God tells of blessings and the curses. “The Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth and all these blessings shall come on thee and overtake thee if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD.” Deut 28:15 describes what happens if God’s people shirk their responsibility to listen and obey. “Curses shall come upon thee and overtake thee.” How foolish are to neglect getting still to hear God. In Jeremiah 7:22-23 God warned Israel about NOT keeping His commands. The priests were too busy and distracted in making burnt offerings that they did not hear His voice. We must humble ourselves and be still to allow our hearts to hear from God. “Obey My voice and I will be your God.” From age to age, from dispensation to dispensation, many things change, but listening to God’s voice remains the same. Because Israel did not do what God required, Jeremiah 7:24 “they hearkened NOT” Today if we walk in the counsel of our favorite news station we are inclining our ears to the evil hearts of men who are dominated by the prince of the air. God’s chosen people did NOT humbly bow down to hear the Word of God and consequently they did NOT receive His blessing. Memorize Exodus 19:5-6 “Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession. Although the whole earth is Mine, you will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Today His spoken word still applies to all the people who desire to serve God and walk in His blessings. In the New Testament Jesus tells us about the relationship between the Shepherd and His sheep. In John 10:3-5 Jesus presents Himself as the Good Shepherd. The Shepherd (the doorkeeper) opens the door for the sheep who hear His voice, and He also keeps the wolves out. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them. His sheep hear the Shepherd’s voice. Jesus goes before them and the sheep follow Him because they know His voice. The Pharisees heard Jesus speak with their head ears, not with a listening heart. The guys who new scripture did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. They listened with their intellect, not their hearts. Believers follow Jesus because they know His voice and they cannot be deceived. Believers do NOT follow false prophets and false teachers because they know their Master’s voice. In the book of John 10 16, Jesus had been talking up till now about those that believed in Him among the people of Israel. Jesus then speaks about other nations and He says “I have other sheep which are not of this fold, the non Jewish who will hear His voice and they shall become one flock with One Shepherd. His voice draws believers to the saving grace of Jesus from all the Gentile nations. “They shall hear My voice.” The way to Christian unity is to unite in Christ, is NOT through a denomination, or a doctrine, or a theological difference or a discussion. When His Church learns to listen, hear and obey the voice of the promised Holy Spirit, Jesus said that they shall become one flock with one Shepherd through the hearing of the Lord’s voice. God sums it all up in John 10:27 when Jesus says “My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me.” Faithful followers of the Lord, His disciples, His sheep, His people recognize His voice as the Truth. The word dominate or denomination is NOT of God, but of the devil who seeks to divide and destroy our faith in Jesus as Lord of all. Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians or Pentecostals are unified by His voice and they are ALL His sheep who listen and obey His voice. Faith in Jesus is NOT about a style of worship, it is NOT adhering to a doctrine, it is about hearing the voice of God. The heart is where we store what we treasure. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt 6:21 – Science reports that just like a fingerprint, a voice cannot be duplicated. Imagine your heart is a safe that only unlocks to the sound of the voice of God. Jesus tells us that His sheep will not follow a stranger because they recognize His voice. We treasure the promises of God and He knows the contents of our heart. Our Lord chose David, not because of his appearance, but because of his humble heart. We must tune into the voice of God in order to follow His lead. A life changes, a heart transforms, a will surrenders, a mind is renewed, standards and values become higher as a heart listens to what the Spirit of God is saying. When we sit quietly without distraction is when we hear God’s Voice. In a personal, intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, with Jesus, with God Himself, we are NOT listening to a historical figure. We are NOT following a movement, or a doctrine. We are listening for the Voice of God which will NOT lead us into evil. We are moved to allow God alone to enter into the secret place of our heart. The heart of a believer is the place where they place what they treasure. We store our most valued things within the untouchable, invisible compartment of our heart. Because we trust the Lord our God to never harm us, our safe opens up only to the Lord Himself. People suffer terrible grief when they open their hearts to the wrong person. Believers trust in God and know that they will never be deceived or disappointed by God. David said in Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall lack nothing.” David was certain that he would not lack anything from his Shepherd, as he knew His voice. Like David out in a quiet field, he cultivated a hearing heart and recognized the voice of His Lord. The voice of God is intangible, it cannot be touched, we cannot grasp it, we cannot see it, we cannot feel it. The voice of God is NOT a religion; it is not heard only in a certain building, a certain space, a pew, a choir, a pulpit, the hymnal, or on the pages of books where you can pick it up again. There is a danger in clinging to old associations or crutches as Martin Luther called them. Within a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord we must let go of what we learned in school so that the Holy Spirit can correct the beliefs we have always held. The Holy Spirit is all knowing and we must yield to His wisdom and teaching. God’s voice is always present, it never speaks from the past or the future. Now is the day of the Lord, now is the time to listen for His voice. When we read the Bible, the still small voice is not always heard. Religious people enjoy learning about the Old Testament and thinking about when the Lord returns, however, the days of Moses, the days of Peter, Paul, Mary, Martha and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are in the past. Today we must be still and listen to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice so that we show up where He leads us, so that we grasp what He teaches us. God’s voice is about our NOW time experience. When the Lord sent Moses back to deliver His people, Moses had a very practical question. In Exodus 3:13-14 Moses asked God if the Israelites ask what is Your name, what do I tell them? In that NOW moment, God said to Moses “I am Who I am” Our Father is the great I am in our present circumstance right NOW. Hearing God’s voice is present in the NOW moment, not in the past, not in the future. A voice has no past, a voice has no future, the voice we hear LIVE is always right now. When we humble ourselves and get quiet in a designated place, we are relating to God in the eternal now. God told Moses the name by which He was to be known. “I am” — it was NOT I was. I am the true God. He is the I am that always was, always is, and always will be God. Our Father is always eternal. Hearing God’s voice results in faith in the great I am. Faith comes by hearing God’s voice as stated in Romans 10:17. “So faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.” In the New Testament Greek there are two distinct words each of which in English means word. 1) LOGOS 2) RHEMA The word Logos in Greek has all sorts of meanings. Mind, counsel, and reason. Logos in the Bible is the comprehensive mind of God. The full council of God. Psalm 119:89 “O Lord thy word is settled in heaven” Another translation says “Your word Oh Lord is eternal it stands firm in the heavens.” God’s mind, His Logos, His total counsel never changes, it is eternally firm from beginning to end. This full counsel of God is summed up in a Person. In the book of John 1:1-2 “In the beginning was the word (Logos) and the Word was with God and the Word was God, he was with God in the beginning.” So Jesus is also the personified Logos, He is the total counsel, purpose and mind of God. Jesus said “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” Jesus represent all the Father is and everything the Father does, and all that the Father wills, and all the plans, as He fulfilled the Father’s purpose. The word of God, the Logos is settled forever in heaven and it will not and cannot be changed. In Greek the word Rhema has a different meaning. The word Rhema means specifically a spoken word. Unless it is a spoken Word of God, the word Rhema is not the meaning. Logos is God’s full council and it is settled in heaven forever whether it’s spoken or not. A Rhema is only a word that is spoken. Matthew 4:4 where Jesus uses the word Rhema “He answered and said “it is written man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” In other words, every Rhema that proceeds, that comes forth out of the mouth of God. The counsel of God Logos, is the eternal, unchanging, complete in heaven, however, we do not know the whole counsel of God because humans cannot grasp it all with our human mind. Our Father measures it out to us in a Rhema in a word that is spoken to us. A word that becomes personal, is a Rhema, a spoken word from God that we hear with our listening hearts. So man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. The Logos, the counsel of God is spoken to us in portions as receive Rhema, the spoken word of God to us. God has a Rhema for each of us every day. “Man shall not live by bread alone but every day the Word of God, the spoken Word of God, the Rhema that comes out of the mouth of God shall be his portion for that day. The difference between Logos and Rhema is that Logos never changes, and the Rhema is a heard spoken word from God. Are you listening to what the Spirit of God is saying? The Bible doesn’t say faith comes from reading the Bible. When we read the Bible we cannot hear what the black marks on the white page are saying. The priests and the patriarchs, and the Pharisees knew the black marks on the pages but they did not hear the voice of God, they did not listen and obey His voice. Sometimes a person can open the Bible and a verse leaps out and we are encouraged by a word from God. We can take a word from the Bible as a personal message, and that happens frequently to those who are listening for His voice. We can certainly take that as a Rhema, a spoken word from God. A personal Word of God, is His voice speaking to your heart and your faith is stirred by His personally spoken word to you. “If thou shalt listen diligently to the voice of the Lord then none of the diseases will come upon.” Romans 10:17 “Faith cometh by hearing” Seek God and open your heart to Him that you may hear a Rhema to boost your faith in that God will teach you, guide you, comfort you and heal you through His ever present Holy Spirit. When we get into a submissive hearing state or attitude, we surrender to a frame of mind with an open heart to hear what the Spirit is saying. The inner stillness our mind, when we rest our busy mental processes, we suspend our thinking so that we can hear and get the understanding through what the Holy Spirit reveals. Every Rhema that proceeds out of the mouth of God The verb of action is ‘proceeds’ which is a continuing present tense. Each word as it proceeds out of the mouth of God. The continuing preceding Word of God for that given moment, for that given time, for that given situation, that is what Jesus was speaking about. God feeds man’s inner being, his inner man, his spirit by His spoken word. If you hold a Bible in front of you all you really have is white sheets of paper with black marks on it. The Holy Spirit requires us to yield to Him that we may hear what the Spirit of God is saying, the Rhema, the word of the Lord. The Holy Spirit is our Counselor, our Teacher and He imparts life to it which makes it a living voice. By hearing that word of God we are related to God, it is the Holy Spirit who guides us and directs our steps each day through a Rhema. Paul says in Romans 8:14 “for all who are being led by the Spirit of God these are sons of God.” What makes us sons of God? We can only follow Jesus, we can only be led by the Shepherd, when the Spirit of God leads us by saying “walk this way.” The Holy Spirit works in us, He imparts knowledge to us because we have been born of the Holy Spirit. Peter said “as newborn babies desire the pure milk of the word” but that doesn’t make us mature grown-up sons of God. We mature in God as we listen and obey His voice. We are warned by the Old Testament to listen and obey God’s voice and receive blessings, or curses. Pray that you are in the right place at the right time. Listen for the Holy Spirit to prompt you to walk this way. The Rhema, the spoken word will direct your steps and you will be at the right place talking to just the right person at the right time according to God’s will. Isaiah 50: 4-7 a prophetic picture of our Lord Jesus. Jesus waited on His Father and listened for His direction. Jesus needed supernatural strength and he received that through hearing the Father’s voice. God says obey my voice and I will be your God. In Mark 4:9 we read then Jesus said he who has ears to hear let him hear. Jesus was not referring to physical ears, but about the willing, submissive, open, submissive condition of our safe, where we keep our treasures, our heart. We must seek and desire to hear from God with all of our heart. The Lord appeared to a young Solomon in a dream and asked him a very vital question. First Kings 3:5 “ask for whatever you want Me to give you” Solomon replied First Kings 3:7-10 “Oh Lord my God you have made your servant king in place of my father David but I am a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people too numerous to count. Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong for who is able to govern this great people of yours.” In Hebrew it translates literally a hearing heart. Let us come to God with reverence let us, open our hearts to Him, let us worship Him, acknowledge His greatness, His majesty, His sovereignty, His authority, His wisdom. We need to bow down and give God all of our attention, our respect and listen to what the Spirit of God is saying. Hard, calloused, stubborn, rebellious hearts do not hear from God. David said “my soul waits in silence for God only!” God must be given our absolute priority for only He is worthy of all of our attention. Moses Elijah and Jeremiah are men who listened for God’s direction. Numbers 7::89 describes how Moses went into the tabernacle that had been erected in the wilderness where he spoke with God. It was in the coolness, in the quiet place of the holy of holies. It was in a specific place where God spoke with Moses. To hear the voice of the Lord, Moses chose a sacred place of worship. Jesus said in Matthew 6:6 “but when you pray go into your inner room” Go to where you are not distracted by the noise of the world. Elijah had a tremendous personal triumph. He executed all the false prophets but then he ran from Jezebel in the wilderness and begged God to end his life. God had sent an angel to strengthen Elijah. “Go in the presence of the Lord for the Lord is about to pass. A great powerful wind tore the mountains apart, an earthquake shook the ground, and a fire burned. But the Lord was not in any of these demonstrations of God’s power. His voice came as a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard the whisper, he pulled his cloak over his face. Elijah bowed down, he humbled himself and covered his face in worship, in reverence of the Lord. In order to hear God’s still small whisper, we must get quiet, away from distractions. In Jeremiah 18:1-6 “go down to the potter’s house and there I will give you My message.” There was a time and a place God wanted Jeremiah in the Potters house because God wanted him to see what the Potter was doing with the pot. Jeremiah couldn’t get the message until he was in the right place. In Bible schools and seminaries they spend so much time training people how to speak but seldom do they train people how to hear. Unless a pastor has heard from God, he really has nothing new to say. All the fine points of homiletics will not save a soul. Hearing God’s voice is essential if we are to follow Jesus. How do we know when we have heard God’s voice? His Rhema will be confirmed in the Bible. The Holy Spirit is who brings God’s voice to us. The Holy Spirit is the Author of all scripture. Second Timothy 3:16 “all Scripture is God breathed.” Jesus knows our hearts, minds, motives. The best news of the GOOD NEWS is that God the Father does NOT demand or command that any person “believe” in a doctrine, but only that we have FAITH in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and that we listen, hear and obey His voice. Consider this conversation between Jesus as His earthly parents. “When his parents saw Him, they were astonished. His mother said to Him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You.” “Why were you searching for Me?” He asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand what He was saying to them. Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:48-51 even though Mary and Joseph did not understand what Jesus was saying, Mary treasured ALL of what He said in her heart. Mary had been searching for Jesus, and when she found Him, she treasured His words even without full understanding. Ask what is the lesson, or my application? Can I hear what the Spirit is saying? When I count my blessings, do I thank God for giving me ears to Him?
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Matthew 11:15 Praise God for the hearing of the still small voice! “The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” Ex 4:11
HOLY SCRIPTURES WARN US TO Test all spirits, discernment is a gift from God. The woman in the interview was raised in a Baptist church who was taught against speaking in a heavenly language. She felt like she lacked understanding as she read scripture. She cried out one day, and the Presence of God, the Holy Spirit came upon her. This couple went to Africa to be trained as missionaries. Deliverance occurs, but when the Holy Spirit is working, there is no fear, no growling. Do we need to be drunk in the spirit? Or do we need to be a CARRIER of the authentic HOLY SPIRIT? “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” Acts 20:28 ” Who among the gods is like You, Lord? Who is like You— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? “You stretch out Your right hand, and the earth swallows Your enemies. In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength you will guide them to Your holy dwelling.” Exodus 15:11-13 The Song of Moses and Miriam
‘Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21