Can you hear the voice of God? I do not mean only when you are in the Scriptures, for it has been said, if you want to know the mind of God, read the Scriptures, if you want to hear Him speaking to you, read them out loud. What I am referring to here is what some call the prompting of the Holy Spirit, that still, small voice within you that informs you without a doubt that God Himself is speaking to you.
Not too many who sit around and wait for our Lord to put something in the mailbox, as it were, can hear His voice, and those who cannot, both of the lost and those who are saved, give anyone who says that they can a sort of sideways glance, a knowing look that says perhaps you should seek psychiatric help. There are fewer and fewer each day I believe who can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit inside of them, and in each of these it is because they have begun to dull their own spiritual ears, they have left the cup of their soul partially filled with the dregs of the world and its cares still.
“And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.” (2 Sam.5:24) Think about this image, David and his army in the valley of Rephaim, the Philistines spread out before them like locusts, and they are told to wait in the mulberry trees by the Lord, wait for the “sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees.” Patient anticipation, this is the path that our Lord sometimes calls us to, be still, be stationary, wait for Me to lead. It can be a difficult place in the life of a born-again believer, a slave of Jesus Christ whose one and only desire is to constantly serve, to be ever useful. When we do not wait on the Lord, when we forge ahead without the knowledge that it is He whom we serve that has placed the task before us, we will fail, or at best, it will be works of the flesh only that will be accomplished, things done that will hold no eternal value.
Here is the teetering point that those who serve Christ have always had to balance in their lives, profitable, eternal fruits, and patient anticipation. Those who will not rest in these moments, these “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) moments, will fall into one of two categories, it is an almost virtual guarantee. The first will stop altogether, the time of resting in the Lord and waiting turns into a full-time profession of nothing but resting, their ears grow dull, their ambition and zeal that they may have initially had at the moment of their salvation diminishes, their Bible grows dusty, church becomes an obligation not a joy, and the fellowship of the world slowly encroaches upon their lives.
The other group will march on valiantly, but in the wrong direction, they will begin to work for the sake of the works themselves, and not in obedience to the will and Word of God. Church for many of these becomes all important, the Bible itself becomes of more value to them than the Lord Jesus, and it becomes almost impossible for them to understand that it is self they are serving, that Christ has become nothing more than a means to an end. We can see the proof of this in the Scriptures in many places, the sons of Jacob grumbling in the wilderness, those who followed Christ as long as He fed them and healed them would be two that would be of the first example, for the second, both King Saul and Judas Iscariot would fit the instance.
Samuel was sent to King Saul at exactly the right moment, he was not late in arriving as the king thought, Saul was told to wait on the Lord, but he became impatient, and the result was the loss of his kingdom. “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam. 15:22) Patience is not just a virtue my friends, it is one of the fruits of the Spirit of God that we are to bear. (Gal. 5:22-23) “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6) Both King Saul, Saul of Tarsus, Judas Iscariot and far too many who profess the name of Christ today have decided that they can determine the path that they should be on better than Almighty God, they have followed their heart instead of being obedient and waiting to be led. But the inverse of this truth is also just as prevalent today, many have tired of waiting, and have as a result become unable to hear His voice clearly, they have quenched the Holy Spirit inside of them. (1 Thess. 5:19)
Instead of using their shield to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, (Eph. 6:16) they have not only lowered it down, but have stopped listening altogether. Opportunities abound each and every day for the child of God to glorify His name, the first group found no reason to any longer, and the second category, you will find only doing so within the confines of the church setting. There are very few Christian soldiers anymore, but they are still out there, they are easy to spot, they are the ones that make both the first and second groups that we have categorized here feel bad, when they speak in love they are bracketed as too adamant, too contentious, to “on fire” for Christ, and as such they become ostracized not only from the world, but from many who profess Christ as Lord.
These are they that are doing all they can to be obedient to the will of God in no matter what form He requires it of them, they care little of the perceptions set upon them by others as long as they are sure that it is Jesus Christ they are following. Slaves represent their masters; they do not seek any glory for themselves. There are some among us who know how to be still and wait on the Lord, while at the same time studying to show themselves approved so when the wind starts to blow in the treetops, they are prepared to move. Be one of them.