Summary: Are You Hearing From God or someone else?
John 12:27"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ’Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." 29The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. 30Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine.
We all have times that we really, really need to hear from God. Usually it is in the time of a great need or great distress that we long to hear His voice. Jesus was in such a time whenever He prayed this prayer and God spoke to Him audibly. God speaks to us through our minds and hearts. God doesn’t often speak to us audibly, but certainly He could if He wanted to.
In our text Jesus says "This voice was for your benefit, not mine." Why did Jesus go out of His way to point out that the voice was not for His benefit? Because He heard God all the time. He was in constant communion with the Father. But the disciples needed to hear it, so they could have faith to believe. Remember, Jesus was about to be rejected by the religious establishment, taunted and humiliated, and executed. So God spoke audibly. God knows when we need a sure word, and works around our lack of maturity in times of great need.
Can you imagine what an impact that audible voice had on those present? Peter had heard that voice before....on the mount of transfiguration. Some 30 yrs later Peter wrote about it...1 PETER 1:16We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." 18We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. Can you imagine?
Unfortunately, most of us have to depend on "hearing God" in our spirits instead of our ears. So, how exactly do we hear from God? How do we seperate God’s voice from the other voices we have in our heads? And yes, we all hear voices in our heads......and we aren’t crazy!
First, I want to show you what happens when you think you are hearing from God, but you really aren’t! In GENESIS 15 God promised Abraham a son. You know the story. That’s great’ that’s God speaking to him. The problem came when after receiving this promise, Sarah suggested an idea to move ahead in the flesh and "assist" God. The "Ishmael" mistake of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar is not uncommon. We are often deceived into thinking that God needs our help. What is praiseworthy of Abraham and Sarah is that after this false start, they remembered God’s promise and got back to simple faith and obedience, believing that God would help them... and not vice-versa.
God calls Isaac "Abraham’s only son" in Gen 22. From God’s point of view, "the flesh counts for nothing" God did not remember Abraham’s sin, only his faith, which was credited to him as full righteousness before God. His mistakes were forgotten. Like Abraham, we need to enter into God’s rest, knowing that what God says He will do.
NUMBERS 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
So why is it that sometimes we "hear from God" and then it doesn’t the way we expected? Did God make a mistake? Did He mis-speak? Maybe He was just wrong about that partiicular thing. No, God is never wrong.....it is because we didn’t discern God’s voice to begin with.
Imagine you are hired to open up an office in Anchorage, Alaska. Your new boss gives you a high-tech looking two-way radio, a policy and procedure manual, and tells you that you will receive instructions once you arrive, and off you go. Upon arrival you hear your boss’s voice over the radio, saying, "I will communicate to you through this radio unit. But take note: our competitors, our enemies, also have access to this channel. They will try to impersonate my voice with false messages to thwart our purposes." "Oh no!" you panic, "Then how will I know if it is you or the enemy giving me instructions?"
Your boss’s voice comes back over the radio: "Three ways. First, considering the situation, check every message supposedly from me against the policy and procedure manual. Since I wrote it, I’m not likely to ask you to violate it, right? Also, if I am not talking, don’t focus in on the noise, pretending that I am. If I am not speaking, let the manual be your guide. Don’t let any impersonating voice mislead you, or your own overactive imagination decieve you"