Announcer: Hello and welcome to the Taco Tuesday Theology show, I am your
host, Danny Powell. For many of us, going through life in an increasingly
secular world is proving a challenge to navigate. Each week, I take your
questions from modern life and answer them using the lessons revealed through
the Scriptures. If you have a question you’d like to have answered from a
Biblical world view go to our web site, www.tacotuesdaytheology.com, and
click on the “I have a question” button. You can record your question right
from your smartphone or computer. Now grab yourself a taco and let’s get to
that first question!
Question: Hi, my name is Marissa, I live here in East Texas, and my question
basically is, is “How do you know that you’re hearing the voice of the Lord
when you’re in such a hard season? You can’t really tell what is the voice of
God or what’s just the voice of your flesh.”
Danny: That is an excellent question and one that i’m sure many of us, including myself, have asked throughout the ages. When we are listening for God’s voice, how can we know that He is the one speaking?
In the Old Testament is the story about a man named Gideon. Gideon had a physical revelation from God. But he, like you, wasn’t sure if he was actually hearing God speaking to him or if it was his own fleshly desires so he requested proof of God’s will by three miracles. The first sign was having the Angel of the Lord, appear to Gideon and cause fire to shoot up out of a rock and then two signs involving a fleece, performed on consecutive nights with opposite results.
Samuel heard from the Lord but didn’t even know it until he received council from the Prophet Eli. From First Samuel, chapter three, verses one to ten we read:
Scripture Reading (Rachel): “The child Samuel ministered to Yahweh before Eli. Yahweh’s word was rare in those days. There were not many visions, then. At that time, when Eli was laid down in his place (now his eyes had begun to grow dim so that he could not see), and God’s lamp hadn’t yet gone out, and Samuel had laid down in Yahweh’s temple, where God’s ark was; Yahweh called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” He ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.” He said, “I didn’t call. Lie down again.” He went and lay down. Yahweh called yet again, “Samuel!” Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.” He answered, “I didn’t call, my son. Lie down again.” Now Samuel didn’t yet know Yahweh, neither was Yahweh’s word yet revealed to him. Yahweh called Samuel again the third time. He arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.” Eli perceived that Yahweh had called the child. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down. It shall be, if he calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Yahweh; for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Yahweh came, and stood, and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak; for your servant hears.””
Danny: Those two examples are from the Old Testament. What about now? In the New Testament, Jesus tells us in John ten twenty-seven, “”My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” If someone is a born-again believer, then we know that person *can* hear the voice of God because Jesus said so. Yet, Christians everywhere seem to not hear Him. The problem is there are so many voices we hear every day it gets confusing. This is a tactic Satan uses to keep us distracted. Distraction. That’s the primary reason we don’t recognize God when He speaks to us. We have so many people and ideas speaking into our lives that sometimes God gets drowned out. Our spouses, our children, our parents, our co-workers, our friends, the government, the media, so many voices! Everyone telling you what to do and giving you advice!
Is it any wonder so many of us can’t discern when God is speaking to us? How does one know which of the voices they’re hearing is actually God?
The answer is actually quite simple. It’s in a relationship. If your best friend calls you on the phone, do you recognize their voice? Why is that? It’s because you are invested in that person. You spend time with that person. You take interest in knowing all you can about that person.
Since our question is about discerning God’s voice from a counterfeit, let’s look at it with this analogy regarding telling true from counterfeit. Employees at a bank are trained to recognize counterfeits by studying genuine money so closely that it is easy to spot a fake. The majority of their training is handling cash. They get to know the cash so well that when a fake bill is put in their hands, they immediately know something is wrong. It’s the same with hearing God. Spend time with Him. Invest in that relationship.
If we’re not hearing from God, or we can’t tell if what we’re hearing is actually Him or not, there’s something missing in that relationship with Him that is distracting us from him. The distraction doesn’t always have to be obvious sin, addiction, pornography, fornication, thievery, etc. It can be that we’re so busy “doing church” or “doing ministry” or “surviving” that we aren’t actually spending any quality time with God.
One of my pastors, Marty, declares this phrase every chance he gets: worship, word, and prayer. We can’t have a relationship with God without doing those 3 things daily. We have to dedicate time to the One we love. Imagine marrying someone you only visited for a couple of hours one morning a week if there isn’t a game on and maybe, just maybe an hour in the middle of the week for years before getting married. Would that marriage ever happen? No. We spend hours upon hours each week investing in the person we want to marry. So, it must be with God. Scripture teaches us,
“… you shall worship no other god: for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14, WEB)
We develop our relationship with God with worship, word, and prayer.
Let’s look at those 3 disciplines. We’ll start with worship:
I found this explanation of “worship” in first Chronicles, chapter 16, verses 23 to 31:
Scripture reading (Rachel): “Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his place. Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!””
Danny: Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!””
So worship isn’t a ceremony. It’s not reciting prayers from a book or singing songs reading the lyrics off a screen. It’s not sit, stand, kneel, pray or any other ritual. Throughout history mankind has had many religious rituals. God spoke to the prophet Isaiah regarding religion just for the sake of religion:
“And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,” (Isaiah 29:13, ESV)
let us read from John, chapter 4:21-24
Scripture reading (Rachel): “Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.””
Danny: The overall lesson about worshipping the Lord in spirit and truth is that worship of God is not to be confined to a single geographical location or necessarily regulated by the temporary provisions of Old Testament law. With the coming of Christ, the separation between Jew and Gentile was no longer relevant, nor was the centrality of the temple in worship. With the coming of Christ, all of God’s children gained equal access to God through Him. Worship became a matter of the heart, not external actions, and directed by truth rather than ceremony.
Next let’s look at prayer:
We need to understand what prayer is. When I say, “Let us pray,” everyone knows that someone is about to speak. If I ask someone to pray, we all know that person is about to address God. We associate prayer with talking to God. I looked up the word “prayer” in several dictionaries and the vast majority define the word as talking to God or some variation of that. However, Scripture also teaches us that we are to “pray without ceasing.”
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NKJV)
That can’t possibly mean that we are to talk non-stop to God. Prayer cannot simply be a monolog. How do people react if you talk all the time and never allow them a chance to speak? When we talk to God, we are talking to our Father, Abba, daddy. That is what prayer should be, a conversation with God.
A familiar expression is “be still and know that I am God.” It comes from 1 Kings 19. Elijah is hiding out on a mountain top in Horeb hiding from Jezebel’s soldiers. He gets word that the LORD is about to pass him by there on the mountain. First he hears a great wind splitting and crushing rocks, then he hears the earth quake. In verse 12 it reads, “and after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a sound of shear silence.” It was in the shear silence that Elijah heard the Lord. Elijah had been talking to God up on that mountain, but it wasn’t until he was quiet and listening that he heard what the Lord said to him.
To “pray without ceasing” means that we are always in communication with God. We converse with Him all day every day. We are to always be aware that He is with us and inside of us.
Now the third discipline required to be able to both hear God and to recognize when He is speaking to us. The Word. I recently saw a meme online from a satire site, the Babylon Bee. It showed a guy praying at a table about 2 foot from a Bible. The caption read, “Man prays to hear God speak with Bible 2 feet away.” If we are to hear God speak or recognize what He tells us, we need to be like those bank employees I spoke of earlier and immerse ourselves in His word! The Bible is amazing in that there were forty very different human authors with diverse backgrounds and diverse writing conditions, from palaces to the wilderness. There are multiple genres of writing, from poetry to history. And it’s all written over 1,500 years. However, there is profound unity, as God’s story unfolds from Genesis to Revelation. There is unbelievable factual and theological agreement throughout the Bible. There are over three hundred forty thousand cross-references in the Bible demonstrating a single thread throughout. What best explains this? A single Divine Author, working through human authors.
The Bible is the story of our spiritual journey. It is God’s love letter to us. In it, we learn of our wonderful creation. We read that we began in the garden with God, but then we were unfaithful to Him and we had to leave. As we go on through the Bible we read of our trials and tribulations, of God’s yearning to reconcile us to Him. God wants us. He loves us. We all know John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotton son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have ever lasting life. Because God is just and because of the promises made to Israel, God had to sacrifice His only son. That sacrifice bought each of us out of prison and makes us presentable to God.
he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,(Col 1:22 ESV)
THAT is how much God loves you. He goes after us regardless of what we do. He does anything it takes to make us presentable to us. Jesus said
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13 ESV)
Announcer: Thank you for listening to the Taco Tuesday Theology Program. If you have a question you’d like me to answer from a Biblical world view, please visit my website, www.tacotuesdaytheology.com and click on the “message” button. You can send your message right from your computer or your smartphone. Maybe next week I’ll answer your question! New episodes post every Tuesday afternoon. Until next week, pass the guacamole and keep praying!