How to hear God's voice and identify it
I have been asked from so many people how can we hear God and recognize His voice. I believe we can hear and know the voice of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. John 10:27 says “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”
There are three reasons why God speaks to us.
1. God has a purpose for us (E.g. the call of Samuel 1 Samuel 3, The call of Abraham Gen 12:1-20)
2. We ask him to talk to us (In prayer or worship E.G. many examples in the book of Acts)
3. If there is urgency in our life need to be addressed (Daniel, Elijah etc)
The question is how can we hear the voice of God? Of course I am going to share my own experiences when I first heard God’s voice. Yes, can hear the audible voice of God.
Let me share my own experiences first before I go through the scriptures. I was about 10 years all when I started to hear God’s voice.
One day I was walking from school to home and I heard a loud voice, I heard a voice calling my name so clear I looked around and there was no one. I was kind of scared and I run home. This happened so many times through my youth. I started to wonder where this voices coming from. So, I went and talk to several people. Some people say this and others that. No one seems to know for sure.
The question is how do we know if the voice we hear is from God?
Isaiah 8:19-20 When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?  To the Law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
Let us look at some scriptural bases to confirm what we are talking about is biblical. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 4:6 “Do not go beyond what is written." The best and the only way to identify the truth is to verify the voice we hear aligns with the bible and the Holy Spirit comfirm it.
Acts 17:11(KJV) Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
Let’s look at another version:
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
The people of Berea were more open-minded than the people of Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive God's message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true.
The key is always to examine until we become very familiar with the voice of God. The bottom Bible verse is one of my favorite.
Heb 5:12-14 (KJV)
14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
New International Version (©1984)
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Training the mind is the hardest work to do. Most of us would like to hear God’s voice but we don’t like to put the effort to be transformed by the studying, praying, fasting and having quit time to commune with God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
•• Is your mind renewed? Then you will hear God’s voice.
John 10:1-5 (NKJV)1. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.4. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Yes, we need to know the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ the true shepherd. Jesus is saying in the above statement that his sheep hear his voice, know and follow him. The truth is how many of us put that extra effort to listen. Most of us when we pray we ask, present our prayer request before God. However, we don’t take the time and wait to hear what God has to say.
God has a purpose for us (E.g. the call of Samuel 1-3, the call of Abraham Gen 12:1-20)
The Call of Samuel I Samuel 3:2-11 NRSV
At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called, "Samuel! Samuel!" and he said, "Here I am!" and ran to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call; lie down again." So he went and lay down. The LORD called again, "Samuel!" Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again." Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, "Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.' " So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening." Then the LORD said to Samuel, "See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle.
The Call of Samuel:
A woman called Hannah who was a barren cried out to the Lord God, Hannah made a covenant with the Lord if he gave her a child she would give the child back to him.
After the record of the miraculous birth of Samuel in chapter one and the praise full prayer of Hannah in chapter two (1 Samuel 2:1-10). The scene is set for the call of Samuel.
1 Samuel 3:1 said “The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli.” Even though Samuel grew in the church and served God and dedicated his life to serve him. Samuel did not recognize the voice of the Lord. 1 Samuel 3:7 “Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.”
In the same manner many of us who serve the Lord in church through out our lives, Pastors, Elders, misters and lay people may be in spiritual famine. Many people do not hear God speak and recognize God’s voice.
When God called Samuel three times and Samuel run to Eli three times, the bible said 1 Samuel 3:8-9 “A third times the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Christians in this generation needs someone like Eli who knows the voice of God to give guidance and to help us what to say to the Lord when we hear His voice. Many times God calls us for the ministry and for personal directions and most of us don’t even perceive it. Sometimes we pray and pray and pray but it seems that God does not talk back to us. I believe the word of God over our own doubt. Jesus said in John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”
Samuel was a deferent person after Eli told him what to say when he hears God’s voice again. He prepared himself and knows how to approach God. The fourth time God showed up and stood before Samuel and called him. 1 Samuel 3:10-11 “The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.
Once Samuel heard and recognized the voice of the Lord and respond to Him. The conversation between God and Samuel began. Very interesting!
What prevented Samuel from knowing God’s voice?
1. Samuel heard the voice but did not know who was calling him.
2. Samuel did not know God “Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD”
3. The third reason is “The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.” Not known to him.
What helped Samuel to know God and perceive His voice?
Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” In this case Eli helped Samuel to respond to God and told him that was God speaking to him. Once he knew the voice of God and started to have conversation with Him, it was easer to know God and His voice.
It is just like someone calling you for the first time and asking you to know who he is. “Hi it is me. Do you know me?” your respond will be “no” who am I speaking too? But after you know the voice of the person, if the same person call you back again it would be easier to identify who that person is from their voice.
In the same manner with God, we need to be familiar with the voice of God. Jesus said “my sheep know my voice.” We must spend time with him to know what God’s voice sound like.
There are also three lessons to Learn from the calling of Samuel.
- We need to know God
- We need to recognize His voice
- God waits until we respond back to Him before he starts conversation with us.
Even though Samuel working for the Lord in the temple he did not know the Lord (1 Samuel 3:1-7), God called Samuel several times but Samuel could not identify the voice of God. Latter with a little help from Eli he was able to get to know the Lord. After the first conversation with God Samuel became the right man of God. Samuel accomplished many things for God and developed good relationships with God.
We also need to know his voice and develop good relationship with God. By reading the word of God and praying and worshipping daily.
The first action we need to do is to dedicate prayer time daily and commune with God. It doesn’t matter if we hear from Him or not. He is always there.
We need to know how to tune to his voice. Most of the time God’s voice sounds like a spontaneous flowing thought or small still voice. But sometimes God speaks to us with real audible voice.
Take a word of God from the bible and read and reread it and meditate upon it.
Play slow gospel music of praise and worship and glorify God.
Wait upon the voice of the Lord. Usually it sounds like a flow of thoughts.
Journaling is very good place to start. Ask God to give you a scripture verse and begin journaling as the .thoughts flow in your mind.
Samuel sought the Lord and was found of Him. Samuel begins this chapter ministering to the Lord (1 Samuel 3:1) but not knowing Him (1 Samuel 3:7). But, by the end of the chapter, God “revealed himself to Samuel” (1 Samuel 3:21) We also need to seek to know the Lord.
2. We ask God in prayer to speak to us.
John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
John 10:14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--
John 10:16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
1 Samuel 30:8 and David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?" "Pursue them," he answered. "You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue."
Psalm 50:15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me."
Isaiah 65:24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.
Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'
Psalm 91:15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
Isaiah 48:6You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? "From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.
Isaiah 55:6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
Jeremiah 29:12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.