I was thinking about John the Baptist recently, and I realized that he never made it to Pentecost! He never saw the tongues of fire, he never heard the mighty rushing wind. He never saw Jerusalem shaken and multitudes converted. But, John said that his joy was fulfilled! He had heard something better than the rushing wind — better than good reports — better than the sounds of a joyful bride. Instead, he had heard the Savior’s voice!
“The groom is the person to whom the bride belongs. The best man, who stands and listens to him, is overjoyed when the groom speaks. This is the joy that I feel” (John 3:29).
John had tasted the greatest joy a follower of Jesus can know. He said, “I stood still and I heard him talk to me. His voice made my heart leap. He talked to me personally. I listened to my Lord and that’s my joy. Just hearing his voice.”
Just prior to this, in referring to the disciples of John the Baptist, we read that John’s disciples got into an argument with the establishment Jews, over the nature of baptism. They came to John the Baptiser and said, “Rabbi, you know the one who was with you on the other side of the Jordan? The one you authorized with your witness? Well, he is now competing with us. He is baptizing, as well, and everyone is going to him instead of us.” But John wasn’t phased and answered: “No one can do anything unless God in heaven allows it. Certainly, you remember how I told you that I am not the Messiah. I am only the one sent ahead of him? (John 3:27-28)
John could complain that he missed all the excitement of outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the Church, but could still say, “O yes, I loved him. I worshipped at his feet and told him how unworthy I was. But my joy isn’t in what I said to him, my joy is in that he spoke to me! I heard his voice, and I rejoice just in the sound of that voice.”
The sad reality is that today, some people teach that the Lord no longer speaks to men except through the revealed Word. They can’t believe men can be directed and blessed by hearing that still small voice today.
Jesus said, “My sheep know and hear my voice; they hear it whenever I call . . . ” My friends, these days we are afraid of all the abuses, afraid we will be led to revelations contrary to the Word of God. But, all the abuses aren’t God’s fault. Every fake vision, false prophecy, false leading is a direct result of man’s own pride and self-will. Men abuse every gift of God. Nevertheless, God still speaks directly to the hearts of those willing to hear.
“Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing people in different ways for centuries. but now he is speaking to us directly through his Son” (Hebrews 1:1).
That ought to be exciting the bejeebers out of you! As the Holy Ghost says, “Today, if you hear his voice, don’t harden your heart” (Hebrews 3:7). Keep your heart soft and pliable and watch Him fill your day with an abundance of joy.
Your first step in hearing His voice is to simply acknowledge that He still speaks! Hopefully, you understand that. Any low expectations will undermine your efforts. If you know He is the Word who always has something to say, we won’t give up easily when you are seeking to hear Him speak to you. Most of all, we must believe — a prerequisite to receiving anything from God. Faith opens our ears. But don’t simply believe that our Father is still speaking, but that He is speaking to you! He is calling you into a relationship, and relationships are based on communication. Conversations with God are normal — you were designed for them. Believe and listen — and know that you will hear.
Oh, Lord, the Living Word, I invite You to speak to me. I know You have been; so, please open my ears to hear. I want to learn the sound of Your voice and know Your thoughts. In faith, I’m listening.
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.