God speaks and we can hear because that’s how God designed us. The big question is then: WHY? Why do we want to hear from God? And connected to that same question is again a ‘what question’.
What do we actually need to hear? Is it just for us to know something or getting confirmation on a choice that we need to make?
So the first point I made in my previous blog was this: Hearing God is part of who we are. It’s rooted in our identity as being His sheep (John 10:27). Now let’s move on to the second point. It’s this.
Hearing God is a matter of a friendly relationship.
Hearing God is not just about information. Of course, information is part of communication. Yet, more than only getting content across, God wants to hear us speak and listen as this is part of a friendship! Friendship is the kind of relationship that God is after with all of us.
I don’t know about you, but a relationship is based on communication, and not just any communication, but a kind of communication that goes both ways. When God is not known that way, or little is known about the fact that God still speaks, prayer (which is communication) is becoming more of a one-way street. God becomes this “Cosmic Santa” or “Genie in a Bottle” to whom we only bring our petitions without ever spending much time with Him and hearing back from what He actually has to say. Yes, God wants to bless us, but even more than that, He wants us to be with Him.
James 4:8 says this about God: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” I think this is amazing. The Creator of Heaven and Earth, who is so big and different compared to us, also became so approachable. He is not just a Sovereign, distant God who made everything. He can be known. He is actually much closer than we think He often is. The whole point of hearing from God or communication is spiritual friendship.
Let me give you a few examples.
Take Abraham for instance. James 2:23 says this about Abraham:
“Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God.” What made Abraham a friend of God? His faith! He believed God.”
It wasn’t exactly a friendship in which Abraham got it right all the time. He made some serious mistakes along the way, but, despite that, Abraham learned what it meant to live in a faith relationship with God and that was accounted to him as being right with God (righteousness). That’s why Abraham is even called the father of the faith. We are part of the faith family through Abraham.
Let me give you another example; Moses.
Moses was also considered a friend of God. Exodus 33:11 says this:
“So, the Lord spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend.”
Was Moses something special? A superman or specially gifted person? I don’t think so. In fact, Moses, when he was still a prince in Egypt in his early years, was someone who had the blood of an innocent man on his hands. He had to flee into the wilderness because of that incident. 40 years of wilderness probably taught him some things about being in a lonely place. Yet, it was his training ground for his big mission to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. When God finally spoke decisively to Moses in the burning bush, Moses realized that he was speaking with God. And it changed the course of his life forever.
We probably know the story of Exodus. Moses, by the strong hand of God, did lead the Israelites out of bondage and as they went on a journey through the wilderness, which was supposed to be only an 11-day trip, God tested the people to see if they could trust Him. That was the point of the Sabbath rest, the Manna in the desert and even the great dependence on provision (think of the food, the water etc.) in a dry place like the desert. The whole point was this: “Could the Israelites understand and live from a place of faith rather than relying on God only when they needed something?”
For Moses it was all about relationship and relationships mean communication. Later on, there is this story where a few men were speaking words from God. We call it also prophecy. Some Israelite leaders saw that and came to Moses petitioning him to forbid them to do that. But Moses had a different idea about that.
In Numbers 11:29 Moses said this:
“Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them.”
Moses was longing to see the day that everyone would have that intimate, personal relationship through the Spirit. Well, newsflash! In Acts 2, on Pentecost, that actually happened and the church ever since is able, through the Spirit to live in such a relationship with God.
One final example of spiritual friendship. This time it’s Jesus Himself. The Son of God. He modeled what it looked like to commune and communicate with the Father. Didn’t the disciples ask him how to pray? It’s not that they didn’t know anything about prayer. In fact, people of all religions, even atheists know something about prayer. What struck the disciples in the relationship between Jesus and God was the way He communicated with Him. So, Jesus gave them, and us, the most famous prayer of all times; the Lord’s Prayer. In fact, Jesus shared many things about His relationship with the Father and He did that because the whole point of being a follower of Jesus is actually doing what He did. It’s all based on a relationship. Jesus shared about fasting, healing, compassion, contentment, money, and many more topics and it was all related to…relationship with the Father.
You see, communication with God is not just about sharing information, neither is it about God passing on orders to His children. What kind of relationship would you feel you have if your father or mother would only relate to you to tell you what to do or not to do…? That’s more like slavery!
That’s why Jesus said this in John 15:14-15:
“You are my FRIENDS if you do whatever I command you. NO longer do I call you servants for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father, I have made known to you.”
Jesus shared “secrets of His heart” with His disciples, not just information. Yes, it’s true that it starts with obedience, but it isn’t slavish obedience while deep inside you actually want to do something else. No, it’s obedience from the heart. Why? Because it’s based on relationship and love! We don’t obey to get something from God. We obey because we love. It’s relationship first and service and mission that flows from that relationship second.
In the third and final blog, I unpack even more what it means to ‘hear from God’ in practice. It’s just the start. More blogs or coming on this for sure.