I always took this scripture to mean that if you are really considered His “sheep”, you will hear His voice. If not, you must be doing something wrong to disqualify you as a “sheep”. Or like the cell phone commercial,”Can you hear me now?” You have to be tuned in, connected,and standing in just the right spot, in order to hear God’s voice. Like we have to be in a spiritual hotspot! If not, you won’t hear His voice.
But as I was reading this scripture today, I had this thought. When the Bible says “hear”, it’s not saying only the exclusive sheep are allowed to hear God’s voice or that you have to be in a spiritual hotspot for God to come in loud and clear. It’s saying, “My sheep hear,or rather, listen to me.” This is something totally different. It changes from the exclusivity of sheep status or spiritual location to simple willingness and obedience. My sheep allow me to speak into their lives. They follow my commands.
The strong’s concordance defines “hear” as “give audience”. To me that means paying attention or being willing to listen. So this means if we are not hearing God’s voice it could be because we aren’t paying attention or willing to listen to Him.
This perspective changes everything! No longer is it about our spiritual status or performance, but rather our willingness to submit, to listen, and to be teachable!
So many times, I’ve had a spiritual moment of panic when I don’t “hear” God’s voice or I feel like I can’t “hear” God’s voice . “Am I not good enough? Am I not doing enough? Am I not doing it right?” Code red!!! God’s voice is not coming in at all! Everybody panic!
But applying this thought, it could be as simple as me stopping and listening. I experienced this a few years back. I was going through a dry wilderness season and I was in full panic mode! I remember sitting in prayer one day and I was at my wits end. I poured out all my worry, fear, panic, and frustration about this season to God. I sensed His presence and it seemed like He was quietly listening and letting me get it all out. Then He gently said, “Stop.” He was speaking! I heard Him! At this point it had been a while since I heard that voice, so I was eager to obey and immediately I became quiet! Then I heard a still, small voice, almost a whisper, deep in my heart, “Stop talking dear one and just listen.” It was a voice I could only hear if I quieted all my senses, thoughts, and emotions. He spoke so deeply into my heart that day and I will never forget that moment when The Lord taught me to stop, be still, and listen!
If you find yourself in the same place I was in, I encourage you today, just as The Lord instructed me, to stop, be still, and listen.