The ever popular ‘The Voice’ reality TV program that aired on NBC April 26, 2011 is an adaptation of the original ‘The Voice of Holland’ which began broadcasting in 2010. The show features contestants vying for the title of ‘The Voice’ by competing against others chosen for competition through mass auditions. Coaches critique the singers who hope to improve their performances and be the viewer’s choice as the next ‘Voice’.
Compelling as this competition appears to be, one ‘VOICE’ surpasses them all in terms of scope, consequence and personal appeal: the VOICE OF GOD. The Lord remarks through Isaiah, ‘Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, THIS IS THE WAY, WALK IN IT’. This word was given to the Jews to encourage them as they considered turning back to the Lord from their sin. The Lord was promising that they would hear Him and would benefit by obeying the command of His voice.
Not isolated to an audible sound or a Jewish audience, the Lord says to each of us to listen for His voice. He says through the Revelation prophet, ‘He who has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’. As believers, we can expect the Lord to use His ‘voice’ to get our attention, to instruct us in His way and to direct our path. Are you hearing His voice? I’m talking about that ‘still small voice’ that compels our hearts to pay attention, learn and walk on in His ways.
We don’t hear that voice shake us to our core every day. That shouldn’t be our expectation. But, as we look into His word, as we pray to Him for insight, as we seek counsel from those ahead of us in His journey and as we meditate on His ways, we will hear Him impress His will on our hearts. So, you ask, what should I be listening for? How, when or where will He talk to my heart? That, dear ones, is not easily predictable. He’s not illusive, coy, pretentious or arrogant. But, He is intentionally and eternally committed to our spiritual maturity. So, if maturing is our goal, we can and should expect Him to speak to us. Here are just a few examples.
Expect the Lord to make His voice heard if our lives are marked by, in the words of Leonard Ravenhill, 1) ‘deeper knowledge but shallower hearts, 2) greater standing with men but less standing with God, 3) religious piety but soul carnality/worldliness, 4) physical strength/body tone but spiritual weakness, 5) worldly wealth but spiritual poverty and 6) social popularity but remain unknown to the forces of darkness because we never engage them in prayer drenched spiritual battle. (As the demons said in Acts 19, ‘Jesus we know and Paul we know but who are you?)
Now a personal illustration. About a year ago, in a brief moment of spiritual awakening for me, the Lord impressed me with a need to deepen my prayer life. His ‘inaudible yet quiet voice’ simply spoke to my heart with this word, ‘I’d like to deepen our prayer life’. That’s all. No lightening bolts and no thunder, but His voice was unmistakeably clear and profoundly moving. It is in that pursuit that I am now engaged.
One of the lyrics in a beloved hymn says that ‘this is my Father’s world…He speaks to me everywhere…’! He is speaking. Are we listening for His VOICE?
For further insight, read through all the concordance references to the ‘voice’ of the Lord. Happy studying.