It is an anomaly to claim to be a child of God – and not hear God.
In the Kingdom, it is abnormal. An aberration.
When Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice…”,^ He wasn’t being ‘spiritual’, figurative, or futuristic.
He was being factual.
If you don’t hear God, it’s one of the following:
-You are not a sheep.
-You have not learnt to effectively recognise His voice.
-You practice selective hearing (which is the case for most Christians).
-You have imbibed wrong teaching that claims that God no longer speaks.
-You have effectively shut Him up.
But if you are a child of God – whether or not you believe it – God speaks. You hear. End of story.
Now, while many of us are concerned with what God is saying, we usually tend to overlook or ignore how He is saying it.
God might tell you “Go” – and that singular word can be
(i) A command – meaning “Go! Now! Immediately!”. It might also mean
(ii) “Yes, I want you to go. That’s my perfect will.” Or,
(iii) “Sure, you can go if you want to. It’s perfectly fine by me, either way.”
(iv) “I don’t want you to go – but you keep insisting; and since your mind is made up anyway, you can go.”
Same word. Different tones.
Case in point – the story of Balak and Balaam.~
Balak was terrified of the Israelites, so he sent messages and gifts to Balaam, inviting him to come over to his place and help curse God’s people.
Balaam told the messengers to stay overnight, informing them that he would report back after hearing from God.
That night, God appeared to him and said, “You will not follow them, neither will you curse the Israelites because they are blessed.”
So, obediently, Balaam got up in the morning and bluntly informed the people, “God has refused me permission to go with you. Therefore, I cannot come.”
Finis. The end.
The people went back and reported to Balak – and Balak re-sent princes, this time “more numerous and more honourable” than the first set – with promises of more rewards to come…
…and this is where it gets interesting.
Balaam’s hearing became seriously compromised – and his answer is sanctimonious. And hilarious. “Even if Balak gives me his house full of silver and gold, I will only do what God says.
…stay here, let me know what more the Lord will say.”
More? What ‘more‘?!
God had already spoken, but – just like many of us – his inward desires and external pressures caused him to question whether he heard God properly. Or completely.
Did God argue with him and say, “…but I already told you not to go?”
No. God simply said, “You can go with him, but say only what I want you to say.”
Balaam must have been glad! God had changed his mind! He had spoken ‘more’! It sounded like permission to go, right?
However, he didn’t look beyond the voice to the tone underlying the words. If he had, he would have known that God was displeased.
Hearing God’s voice or word about a thing is not enough. How does He say it?
Truthfully, if you are a sheep, you can sense the ‘mood’ of the Lord (for lack of a better term). You can sense when He is grieved, happy, displeased – or even playful.
A certain minister once told of how he came into God’s presence for his usual fellowship. However, even though the Lord was quiet and listened to him talk, he could sense deep pain. Finally, he asked, “Lord, why are you not happy? I can sense your unhappiness.”
And the Lord replied, “My children have grieved me.”
He felt so heavy at the Lord’s grief that he said, “Lord, I am going to make you feel better.”
Then he began to praise and worship God, extolling Him and calling Him by His names.
After a long time, he heard the Lord sigh and say, “Thank you, Jesse. I feel better. Thank you.”
Yes, if we are sensitive enough, we can sense God’s ‘mood.’
Even in our everyday lives, we can sense His approval or displeasure about certain decisions, and we can tell when His “yes” is enthusiastic – or flat. Some of these issues might not be outright sins, but you can sense He would rather you not go there or do/take/say that.
Simply put, He might be saying, “Yes, it is lawful, but not expedient for you.” Yes, you can plead your case and even use scriptural backings, but you already know what He would rather prefer. That is His tone for that situation.
Yes, God is speaking. But, just as important, how is He saying it?
(^John 10:3,4,27 ~Numbers 22-24)
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