For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:16-21 KJV
And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen. Luke 9:28-36 KJV
For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:18-29 KJV
Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Hebrews 4:6-7 KJV
Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. Proverbs 1:20-33 KJV
When God spoke to Abraham and told him to sacrifice Isaac we see that Abraham obeyed God. There are questions that arise in one's heart about the vital need to know that it is God and not another voice. Time and again we are told that Abraham spoke to God and God replied; or God spoke and Abraham answered. SO...
1. What if it had been another voice telling Abraham to kill Isaac? What if it had not been the voice of God? There would have been a tragedy of epic proportions in Abraham’s household because he followed the wrong voice.
2. What if Abraham had not been in the habit of speaking with God and so had not developed the ability to recognize His voice?
3. Why is it so vital to be able to recognize the Voice of God?
4. What is necessary in order to be able to recognize the Voice of God?
Abraham spent so much time seeking after God that he had no difficulty in recognizing His Voice! We need to immerse ourselves in His Word and dwell in His Presence so that we become accustomed to hearing His Voice.
IT'S VITAL TO KNOW HIS VOICE
In order to know His Voice and recognize when He speaks we need to become familiar with it. We can only become familiar with his voice when we get into the habit of listening to it constantly. It means many times that we need to shut up our voices, shut out other voices, and pay attention to Him until we become acquainted with every nuance and timbre, until we can almost unconsciously distinguish His voice from the multitude that clamor for our attention. We should become so saturated in Him and His Word that we are able to immediately distinguish it from others. We should become so familiar with Him that when the counterfeit pops up we detect it immediately in our spirit through His Indwelling Spirit, therefore being able to reject it immediately.
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. John 18:36-37 KJV
IT'S VITAL TO FOLLOW HIS VOICE
Knowing is only a part of the plan. We also need to follow His Voice
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. John 10:27-30 KJV
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. John 10:16-18 KJV
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. John 10:1-5 KJV
From this parable a few important points are gathered.
The Voice of the Shepherd is known by His sheep. His sheep follow Him. They know not the voice of strangers. They flee and will not follow.
Sometimes we miss His best for us because we do not find it convenient to obey His voice. It can be downright dangerous to ignore His Voice simply because it inconveniences us!
I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. Song of Solomon 5:2-6 KJV
The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. Song of Solomon 5:7 KJV
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:7-19 KJV
Jesus had no problem distinguishing between the Voice of His Father and the voice of the enemy!
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Matthew 16:13-23 KJV
A vital lesson can be learned from Peter’s two declarations and Jesus' response. One moment Peter is the mouthpiece of God and the very next instance voices a provocation from the enemy.
We can be deceived with the best of intentions. We can be misled by what we may believe are good intentions while failing to see it’s the enemy’s strategy being played out against us. We become caught up in what we believe is in the best interests of all but are actually being led further away from God’s will. It’s the purpose of the enemy to divide and conquer, separate and smother, isolate and immolate. Jesus said that the enemy came to steal, kill and destroy! Often we think it is us alone that are being affected but we selfishly fail to see the repercussions and consequences on our loved ones.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 KJV
There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 1 Corinthians 14:10 KJV
In this time there are so many sounds in the world...Uncertain sounds and enticing voices! Amidst the seducing voice of Satan, the lukewarm chant of the formal church, the dark voices of witchcraft and spiritualism, the cracked voices of false cults and religions, the hideous voice of sin we need to be able to hear and distinguish the voice of God and follow it!
Remember the story of the Pied Piper? He played unique tunes that caused selected lives to dance and be lured by his tunes.
Remember the Greek Story of Ulysses (Odysseus)? The beautifully haunting siren song lured sailors to their doom.
We have the voices seducing spirits, for itching ears.
We have the faith destroying voices of unbelief cf. spies.
We have the misguided misleading voices of the media.
We have the voices of Hollywood and Bollywood,
Eve listened to the wrong voice.
The devil directly contradicted God’s warning and Eve listened. As a result she saw that the tree was good for food; it was pleasant to the eyes; it was to be desired to make one wise
The end results were horrible.
They were tragically wiser to the fact that they were naked, vulnerable, and exposed.
Their eyes were opened (he said that) to the awful fact of vulnerable exposure.
They knew all right...they knew they were naked...they knew fear...they knew shame...they now knew that the devil was evil.
The alternative voices make forbidden things seem essential to us (good for food), look beautiful. (it cannot be as bad as they say), we will benefit immensely. (food and wisdom)
The voice of the enemy is a thief. It will steal kill and destroy if we give place to it.
It will steal your faith, kill your joy and destroy everything good God planned for you. The devil is harder to resist as an angel of light than as a roaring lion. Submit to God then resist the devil and he will flee
To What Are You Listening?
A naturalist, walking with his friend through the busy streets of a great city, stopped suddenly and asked, "Do you hear a cricket?"
"Of course not," laughed his friend. "You could never hear a cricket with all this roar of traffic." "But I hear a cricket," persisted the naturalist, and turning over a stone, he uncovered the insect. "Did you actually hear the cricket chirping above the noise of the street?" asked his friend in astonishment.
"Certainly," said the naturalist. "I spend my time listening to nature, whether I am in the forest, the field, or the town. Everyone hears what he listens for." Taking a coin from his pocket, he dropped it on the pavement, and each passer-by put his hand in his pocket to see if he was the one who had dropped it. They were listening for coins.
What a lesson! If we are listening for the truth-for that which is stimulating, elevating, inspiring, we will hear it, even above the noise and bustle of this busy world, above the din of lies, tattling or gossip so commonly heard by many. And if our ears are attuned to scandal, backbiting and false reports, we will hear that, regardless of how loudly the principles of love, justice and truth may be proclaimed in our direction.