When God Speaks
- 2001 7 May
It's a beautiful fall afternoon. As I'm walking down the street I start to wonder about the morning's events. I start thinking about why I couldn't find my plastic containers to put my lunch in, a seemingly insignificant matter. "Oh, well," I thought, "God must want me to buy lunch today." As I arrive at my destination, a caf that I had never been to before, I notice a man sitting alone at a table outside the caf. He looks sad and something about him catches my attention. He doesn't look homeless; he's not dressed shabbily and he doesn't have a cup, but for some reason, my spirit is pricked by him. I turn my attention to the caf as I walk in. I pick up a salad and some soup, pay for my meal and walk out. As I leave, I pass the gentlemen again and a voice as clear as day says, "Andrea, don't pass that man!" I walk a couple of more steps and turn around. As I'm walking back, I'm thinking, "What am I doing?" I arrive at the man's table and suddenly the words come. "Is there anything that you need?" He says, "Yes, ma'am. I 'm hungry and I don't have any money. I was sitting here trying to figure out how I was going to get something to eat." I give him six or seven dollars and say, "God loves you and will always take care of your needs." He says, "Thank you, ma'am", as I continued down the street with tears in my eyes.
Has something similar happened to you? Have you been going through the routine of your daily life and suddenly God speaks? Here are a few things that I have noticed when God has spoken to me.
The first thing that I have noticed when God speaks to me is that it usually doesn't make sense. God has asked me to do and believe some things that my rational mind totally rejects and my logic just doesn't comprehend. And therein lies the first conflict when God speaks. Are you going to listen to what the word of the Lord says or are you going to use human rationale to justify all of the reasons that you shouldn't believe or shouldn't obey? It's really about the constant war that rages in all of us - the flesh against the Spirit. When God speaks, your spirit will receive the word; the Spirit bears witness with your spirit. Your spirit recognizes the voice of God, but the flesh will not receive it. I Corinthians 2:14 says, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." In other words, to your mind what you're hearing doesn't make sense; it's only when you're walking in the Spirit that you will hear and understand the things of the Spirit.
Does building an ark when there's no rain make sense? Does a 90-year-old woman having a child make sense? Does sacrificing your promised son on an altar make sense? Does walking around a wall seven times to make it fall make sense? None of these things made sense to Noah, Sarah, Abraham or Joshua, but they obeyed in spite of it defying logic. At the moment that God speaks, you have a choice. To believe or not to believe. To do or not to do. To walk in the Spirit or after the flesh? It's at this point that many of us straddle the fence. If we don't understand it, we don't want to do it. When God speaks, He's not talking because He has nothing better to do. God speaks for a purpose. Usually it's to tell you about an action that He wants you to take or about something coming in the future that He wants you to be aware of. Ultimately He speaks to see if you will listen. Will you obey when what He says seems illogical? Will you heed His voice even when you don't understand? Oh, yes. It's a test. Make the right decision.
When God speaks, many times He will confirm it. He will confirm what He spoke using a number of different methods. He can confirm it through His word, possibly through a sermon preached or a scripture that you are led to. Whenever God speaks, it will never contradict Scripture, for God cannot contradict Himself. He may also confirm it through a situation in which you know that God is saying, "Yes, I said that. Yes, I want you to do that." He may confirm it through a godly person such as a pastor or spiritual mentor or advisor. The Lord may also give you a sign (possibly a dream) to let you know that you did indeed hear from Him.
There have been times when the Lord has spoken to me and I have immediately picked up the phone and called my best friend and said, "Girl, you won't believe what the Lord told me!" There have been times when I've told her just because she's my best friend and other times I've told her because I wanted her to tell me that I didn't need a straitjacket! Resist the urge to believe or disbelieve depending on whether or not one person agrees with what God said. Romans 8:31 says, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" When God speaks, He doesn't need a majority. He is the majority. He doesn't need two-thirds of the stockholders to agree. He just does what He wants to do when He wants to do it. And when He speaks, who can disagree?
Numbers 23:19 says, "God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of a man that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?" We all know that God doesn't lie, but when God speaks and it defies logic, our trust in God is put to the test. It's at this point that we find out how much we really trust God. And sometimes we may find out that we're not where we thought we were. We may find out that we haven't totally surrendered our will to Him. We may find out that we trust him with our family situation, but not with our finances. Or we may find out that we trust God, but only to a point.
When God speaks, many times it's to open our eyes so that we can see where we really are in our relationship with Him. But even if we aren't where we should be, God still loves us. He loved us so much that He gave His only Son for us. And if He would do that for us, He certainly wouldn't tell us to go left if we really should go right. He wouldn't send us down the path of destruction. That would go against His nature. Has he ever steered you in the wrong direction in the past? Of course not. So even if what He says doesn't make sense, you can believe God. He can be trusted.
I've noticed something else when God speaks to me. When He speaks, I have a tendency to look at my own limitations - all the reasons that I can't accomplish what God has asked me to do. Moses had the same problem when God asked him to go to Pharaoh and "tell Him to let my people go." Moses said, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" Moses thought of every scenario possible and asked God, "what if this and what if that?" Isn't that just like us? To concentrate on all of the reasons why we can't do a thing and forget all of the reasons that God can? Don't look at your limitations, look at God. Don't look at your past, look at God. Don't look at all of the plans that you had for your future, look at God. For if God told you to do it, wouldn't He provide you with all of the resources that you need to carry it out? Why would God tell you to build a church, knowing you don't have the finances, and not provide a banker willing to give you the money? Why would He tell you to leave your six-figure salaried position to go into ministry full-time if He already hadn't provided the means to take care of you and your family financially? We don't serve a God that does not prepare. He will make sure that everything we need will be provided for. He just wants us to listen to what He has to say and step out on faith.
Just because God speaks doesn't mean that the Enemy will be silent. He will do everything in his power to try and make God look like a liar. His whole purpose in life is to make God look bad. He will make every circumstance around you look to defy what God spoke. He will make it look virtually impossible for you to do what God spoke. Don't be surprised if obstacles start to come out of the woodwork after God speaks. That's Satan's job and he does it well. He'll remind you of all of the reasons that you shouldn't listen to God. "What if you do this and you fall flat on your face? What if you obey God and things don't work out? What if you believe what He says and it never comes to pass? You will have wasted all that time and energy believing something that didn't happen." Satan is a liar. He CANNOT tell the truth. He is the father of lies, so don't listen to him. Remember, "let God be true and every man a liar."
When God speaks, it's ultimately to get us to a place of trust. But it's also to help us train our spiritual ear so that we can listen and recognize the voice of God. In your future, there may be situations where there won't be time to ponder whether you should or whether you shouldn't. Time may be of the essence. So when you hear the voice of God, listen to what He has to say. His children recognize His voice. John 10:2-5 says, "The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep ... the sheep listen to His voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them ... his sheep follow him because they know His voice." And you will know His voice too.
Read Andrea's articles, From the Prison to the Palace and Are You Trying to Get Rid of the Wait?.
Andrea R. Williams, the Project Coordinator with the Washington DC Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. (The GRAMMY Awards), is a singer, songwriter and pianist. In addition to being a writer for Gospelcity.com, she also is a writer for Hallelujah Magazine and Gospelflava Magazine and will be writing for Gospel Today and Gospel Industry Today in the future.