Hearing God Speak
By Donald Parker
Through out the Bible we see phrases that say, “and God said.” God just said, God just spoke through His word and yet we often miss what He’s saying to us. I’ve heard people say many times, “I don’t hear God talking to me.” The truth is God is always speaking to us; not in an audible way, but He stills speaks to us. He speaks to us through prayer, through His word, through circumstances and through other people. The problem is we’re not always listening.
In the seventies, CB radios where a popular item that many people had installed in their cars. All you had to do was get on the same channel with a clear signal and you could talk to all your friends. People had their own language when using CB radios. They used phrases like, “Put the pedal to the medal” “Ten-four good buddy” and “Have you got your ears on?” That meant are you tuned in? Are you listening? Jesus said something like that some two thousand years before the CB radio; He said in Luke 8:8 “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” In other words, are you tuned in? Are you listening?
Jesus tells a parable (a story) in Luke chapter 8 that help us better understand how we can hear God speaking. This parable is about a farmer who scattered seeds. The point of the parable is there are four kinds of soil and the four kinds of soil represent four kinds of attitudes, and these attitudes are going to determine whether or not we hear God. What Jesus is saying is, depending on the type of soil (the attitude of your heart) you’re going to response to God in one of four ways when He speaks.
First, you must be willing to hear from God. In verse five of chapter eight, Jesus said, “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the paths; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up.” As the farmer scattered the seed over the plowed soil, some of it would fall along the path or road, where the soil was hard and packed down and it couldn’t penetrate the soil to grow. So, the birds came along and ate the seed before it ever had a chance to sprout.
Jesus goes on to say in verse 12, “Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” What Jesus is saying is, a path represent the first kind of mind and heart we can have. Sometimes we never give God a chance to talk to us because our minds are already made up. We don’t want God to talk to us. We want to do what we want to do, not what God wants us to do. So, our hearts are hardened and we’re not willing to listen.
Next, you have to make time to hear God speak. You must slow down and be still and quiet to hear God speak. You cannot hear God when you’re in a hurry running around busy doing a million other things. Jesus said in verse 6, “Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.” He goes on to say in verse 13, “Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.”
It says the rocky soil represents those who hear the message with “joy.” They’re thrilled, but not transformed, and the get up walk right out the door and forget all they heard. That’s shallow soil friend. It also says, “they have no roots.” You develop deep roots by spending time reading Gods word and in prayer, as well as connected to a Bible teaching church to help you grow in the understanding of Gods Word.
Something else you must do in order to hear God speaking is to clear your mind. God can’t get through to you if your mind is preoccupied with other stuff. Jesus said in verse 7, “Other seed fell among the thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.” Then in verse 14 He says, “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.”
Worries, riches and pleasures are weeds that keep us from hearing God speak. You can become so distracted by worrying about the pressures of life that you’re not able to hear from God. You can get so distracted trying to pay the bills and get out of debt, that you don’t have time to hear God. You can get so distracted pursuing pleasure that you miss hearing from God; all of these are weeds.
We all know that you don’t have to do anything to grow weeds in your garden; they just grow all by themselves. A garden full of weeds is a clear sign of neglect. When you neglect time with God, I can promise you the weeds will start growing. Your mind becomes preoccupied with other things, the weeds, and it keeps you from hearing the voice of God.
Jesus continues in verse 15, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” The soil God wants you to have, the heart God wants you to have, and the attitude God wants you to have, is to hear His word, retain it, cling to it, remember it, obey it and produce a harvest from it!
I encourage you to make plans today to be in church this Sunday. If you don’t have a church family we invite you to join us at FBC Van Horn, A Place to Belong. We met at 11am, Also, this Sunday following our morning Worship Service we will be having our church-wide Thanksgiving meal and would love to have you join us.