READER QUESTION: I was curious to know if there are any scriptures relating to hearing YHWH's (Yahweh's) voice and distinguishing his voice from your own line of thinking. For some reason I struggle with that notion. How would I know if I am using my own line of thinking or God's?
GREAT QUESTION! There are actually several ways to "hear" God, with the main one being very simple: “Read the Bible” from cover to cover. And when you’re done, start all over again. The Bible (especially the Torah - the first five Books containing all the “Thus saith the Lord” verses) is our ONLY blueprint for moral, holy living!
Unlike in ancient times, people today have access to Bibles; and therefore, they don't really have an excuse to NOT know what it says. Unfortunately, many don't bother to read it, preferring to listen to a mixture of teachers and so-called "prophets" and their various teachings, whose messages consist of mainly personal opinions and interpretations that usually end up leading people astray. Consequently, many are lost and left in the dark about the real messages contained in the Word....
When we go back to the “beginning” of the Bible, we can see that ADONAI occasionally spoke with an audible voice:
Exodus 33:11 tells us that he spoke to Moshe (Moses) "face to face" (see, also, Numbers 12:7-8, Deuteronomy 34:10). He also spoke to Joshua (Joshua 1:1) and Samuel (1 Sam. 3:1-14). A voice from the heavens was heard when Yeshua was baptized by John (Matt. 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22) and from a cloud that appeared when Yeshua was transfigured on a high mountain (Matt. 17:5, Mark 9:7). And Paul and his traveling companions heard his voice when Paul was struck blind on his way to Damascus to murder Messianic believers (Acts 9:4).
People can also receive messages through the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) as YHWH speaks to us in various ways. Let’s take a look:
· Through the Bible: The Bible is YHWH's living word. Sometimes a passage "jumps out at us" which seems to be exactly "what we needed to hear" at a certain point in time. Often, particular verses come to mind while we read and/or pray, and God uses some of them to speak to us. Hebrews 4:12-13 reminds us that "the word of YHWH is alive" and "sharper than any double edged sword!" This suggests we must continually be reading the Bible if we are seeking God's wisdom and Will in our lives.
· Through prayer: YHWH's Voice is similar to the "voice" of our conscience. Over time we learn to recognize His Voice as He places thoughts into our minds. Of course, we must learn to weigh against the Scriptures whatever we think we might be "hearing"....
· Through others: ELOHIM often uses others either directly (by causing them to "hear" a message for us), or sometimes in more subtle ways such that they themselves are often unaware that they're being used. For instance, during the course of a conversation with someone, we "suddenly" recognize they gave us the answer to something we had been seeking. (Again, it is imperative to remember that whatever is said MUST be weighed against Scripture! For instance, if someone says, "God gave me a word for you: I think you should go ahead with that divorce of yours and not bother to try to reconcile with your spouse" - then you know that did NOT come from God, because YHWH says He HATES divorce (Malachi 2:16)!
· Through visions or dreams. Through the Ruach, God often gives us certain visions or dreams containing, perhaps just some words that "stick with us"; or entire scenarios that we "just know" were meant for us. Again, these visions/dreams MUST line up with the Bible!
It cannot be reiterated enough that, before relying on words, visions or dreams to guide or direct our lives, they should be carefully tested and clearly applicable. If you "hear" or "feel" a message from God, it HAS to line up 100 percent with what the Bible says. (For instance, if you "hear" or "dream" that you are supposed to murder your neighbor or seduce your neighbor's wife, that is obviously NOT a message from YHWH!)
The key is to “listen to the Ruach” and be VERY discerning.