Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! Hearing from the Spirit of God Today! Part 6
(ver 1.2) This is Part 6 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God. We have covered a lot of information that will not be repeated so if you have not read this from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first. In this series I have been attempting to teach that God speaks to those who will listen. Knowing that God speaks begins the process that allows you to hear from God. But, also knowing how God speaks plays a key role that can change your level of expectation and your ability to find God speaking. Too often people look for the spectacular and miss the simple supernatural. What this means is that you may have already heard from God but since you did not know it was God you wrote it off as not being important. A friend of mine that was a new born baby Christian thought he heard God speaking to him through his car radio and a commercial on the radio. While I do not discount God’s ability to do that, you have to be very careful with that natural approach to communicating with a God who is a Spirit. Expecting to hear God speak to you in a thunderous spectacular voice from heaven will usually leave you very disappointed when He does not do this. Of course you could be like my friend and think that you heard something that was not really there. Since I was not there I did not tell him it was not God. I would have believed it more if it was a Christian radio station and it was a spirit-filled preacher who was speaking, but since it was a secular station I knew God does not speak thru unsaved people who are not led by God to speak. This would make God someone who takes control of a human to make them do or say something and this is not the nature or character of a loving God. I have found that God has many ways of getting you the answer and just when you think you have Him all figured out He will show you a new one to keep you on your toes and help you to grow up spiritually. I’ll start today by reviewing the list of 12 divine methods recorded in the Bible that God has used to communicate with the people on the earth. I have been using this list to teach on this subject and we are getting closer to the end.
- The Audible Voice of God
- The Finger of God
- Angels Sent by God
- Prophets, Teachers, Pastors, Evangelists, Apostles or other Men/Women (disciples) of God
- The Inward Still Small Voice of God
- The Written Word of God
- External Visible Signs from God
- Visions from God
- Dreams from God
- Prayer of an Individual
- The Inward Witness of God / Moral Conscience / Intuition / Internal Knowledge / Spiritual Insight
- Patterns found within God’s Creation
From this list I have introduced you to God’s methods 12, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1 so far using many personal and Bible examples. I will tell you that every method of God that He has recorded in His Word is important to learn, but some are certainly more prevalently used by God than others in the Bible and in the world today. You see you will probably not see God writing in the tablets of stone for a message to the world today. This was an example of a spectacular display of the power of God and He does not normally do things like this to prove His existence to anyone in the world. In the previous lesson I showed you that God uses people to speak to other people on the earth. This is a great revealed truth in the Bible found in almost every book. This method of using a mediator with a message permits God to remain hidden behind the scenes. This method allows all of the people on the earth to have a freewill choice to what they believe. This method also forces everyone to have faith in a God that they have never seen before and to believe in the words of God that were sent. You see if God suddenly appeared in the natural realm everyone would have no choice but to know that God is real. Even if God sent a 12 foot tall angel into the world that suddenly was broadcasted to every TV on the planet, people on the earth would suddenly have an opportunity to see that the supernatural realm was real. However with the advent of movies and entertainment computer graphics, nothing that you see on TV or the internet can be considered to be real anymore. Photoshop and other programs permit creative creations of fiction that are very hard to detect to the untrained computer expert. If a massive angel suddenly appeared in Jerusalem on international TV with a message that the end is tomorrow you would have the majority of the planet laugh and scoff at the creative ways of Hollywood to sensationalize fiction. The book of Revelation teaches us that angels will preach the Gospel during the tribulation, but this proves that they will need to do this because the church is not there to do it. In my opinion it is getting much more difficult to reach the majority of the people in the world because of the growing hardness of their hearts.
Here is another potential complication to the last lesson on God’s usage of men and women that I did not get into. How do you recognize a true man of God? Just because a man says that he is a prophet does not make him a prophet. There is a Bible concept of false that I have not addressed. Everything that God has done that can be considered to be true has been countered with a contradictory opposite called the false that has been authored by Satan. Satan purposefully sends many false speakers and teachers that are designed to cause confusion. The Bible informs us that there are and will be false Christs in the world in the last days. There have been and will be false prophets in the world. There have been and continue to be false teachers in the world. That complicates our lives tremendously doesn’t it? Not only do you have to hear from God you have to weed through all of the false to find the truth. Who you trust and who you place your confidence in will determine if you are deceived into destruction or led into the correct paths of life. This is why you need to learn the Word of God extensively and ask Him for the understanding. Like I told you before God will never contradict His word in anything that He tells you by His Spirit. God’s words are forever established and will never pass away. So how do you recognize the true man of God? You verify what he says by you looking it up in your Bible and seeing if that is really what God says. If you do not see it for yourself, then refuse to believe it. This is a principle taught to us by the early church and Paul. You can read about it in Acts 17:11 and see what the early church did to confirm what Paul was teaching by searching their Bibles. What they did is what you should be doing today as I teach.
PRAYER THE KEY TO HEARING FROM GOD
Today I’m going to continue teaching with number 10 the personal prayer life of the individual. I believe that God hears and responds to the prayers of the people on the earth. There are many people who would disagree with me because they believe God is sovereign and that God predetermines everything that happens in the world and this philosophy is popularly called Predestination, Selection or Election. While you can find scriptures to support this position, what these teachers do not realize is that there is more than one truth in the Bible and they have abandoned all of the others to exalt their one truth to be the complete truth. If those concepts of selection were all the complete truth then why are there so many other things in the Bible recorded that contradict that belief? For example, the recorded prayers of the people on the earth are clearly contradictory to a sovereign God making every decision for man. Why is it necessary for anyone to ever pray if God has already predetermined what will happen? Why did Jesus ever pray on the earth and why did He teach his disciples to pray? Those are tough questions that Predestination teachers ignore.
We are going to talk about the subject of prayer in conjunction with being led by Spirit of God. I believe that prayer is an essential part of a Christian’s relationship with their Father God. You can read over and over where people needed God and they fell on their face to seek Him and He was found. Prayer is certainly more than just asking God for things, but this is certainly a valid part of prayer since God is the giver of all things that are valuable. You can find more examples of men and women asking God for things than you can for any other type of prayer. If I possess anything of value it is only by the grace of God that I have it. You can read about the positive effects of prayer in Genesis 20:17, Numbers 11:2, Numbers 21:7, 1 Samuel 1:12 to name a very few places where men and women prayed and God responded. What would have happened if no one prayed in these examples? Do you think the same outcome would have resulted? I certainly do not believe that at all. I know I oversimplified this introduction, but you should at least begin to see that prayer was a key part of any success that anyone had in the Bible. Let me show you another example in more detail:
Dan 9:17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.
One thing I noticed about reading the book of Daniel is that he liked to pray to his God. Could this be one of the key reasons that God gave him the visions of the end times and the understanding of so much? Prayer has to be a major contributing positive factor for hearing from God based upon only learning about the experiences of Daniel. I personally believe that most people do not hear from God because they do not give God an opportunity to speak to them. Prayer should always be a two way conversation and it never should be a one way directional speech from you only. Think of it this way, what can you ever tell God that He does not already know? Knowing that alone should shorten your prayers considerably when you think about that. However, what can God tell you that you had no clue that you even needed to know? Could it be everything? Yes, God is all knowing (omniscient) and He is the one that we should learn to listen to for everything. But there is a hidden factor that determines if God will tell you anything. The Bible says “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:2). What does that mean? That means God will not force His knowledge upon anyone. If you don’t want to know don’t ask. If you want to know something from God then you must ask Him for it. The Bible also says “If any man lacks wisdom let Him ask from God who gives to every man liberally” (James 1:5). The Bible also says “seek you will find, knock and it will be opened, ask and you will be answered” (Mat 7:7). I know these were my paraphrased versions of these scriptures, but you can go and read them for yourself and see that is basically what they are teaching. The key factor to receiving anything begins by you asking for it. People like to assume God is in control, but according to what I just read if you do not give God control then you are in control. Assuming God to be in control does not make God in control of your destiny. God is going to expect you to ask for His guidance if you want to hear what He has to say. So Daniel 9:17 says Daniel is praying to God and then read down and see what happens:
Dan 9:21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
We can clearly see that the angel Gabriel came from God and shows up while Daniel is still speaking to God in prayer. This is very conclusive evidence that you can hear from God while you pray. It is also direct evidence that it was the prayer of Daniel that was the initiating factor to him hearing from God. If you read in this chapter you can never find where Daniel tells God how to speak to him. Clearly God chose the method of communication and not Daniel. That is a very important point that I wish to drive home again. I also find it fascinating that the angel shows up while Daniel is still praying and not after Daniel is finished praying. The answer from God to what you are praying for can come either during your prayer or after your prayer. There is a major factor that is different today from Daniel’s prayer back in the Old Covenant. In Daniel’s day God was in heaven and heard the prayer and sent the angel Gabriel with the answer from heaven. But, today in the church, the Spirit of God abides within me and you and our prayers do not need to reach to heaven to be heard anymore. Many times Christians believe that they have to bombard heaven with a prayer request and they forget God is inside of them and can speak immediately back to them internally. Today’s prayer conversations with God should always come with replies from inside of us instead of how Daniel prayed and God sent the answer back to the earth from heaven using an angel. Do not misunderstand what I just said. God can still use an angel, but normally He will just speak to you Himself if you are quiet enough and listening.
Dan 9:22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
I want you to notice what God gives to Daniel based upon his original prayer. Believe it or not this is what you should be seeking from God also. Skill is of course ability to do something. Understanding is one of the greatest benefits of knowing God that He can share with you. We are all in need of God’s understanding and wisdom to do anything in the world. These are things that God is looking to give. You can go back and read the story of Solomon and see how he prayed and you will see that because Solomon asked God for wisdom and understanding, Solomon was blessed to be one of the richest men in the world at that time. What I learned from reading Daniel 9 is that prayer is an initiating request for the responses of God. You can clearly see that God sends an angel with the message because of Daniels’s prayers. These are simple but yet profound concepts found in the Bible. Let me give you another example from the prayer life of Daniel.
Dan 10:12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
The angel Gabriel is speaking these words to Daniel and they are very deep. The angel tells Daniel I am sent because of your words. This verse teaches us several things. First, prayer is always based upon words spoken and never your silence. There is no such thing as a silent prayer. Next, God heard the words of Daniel and sent an angel with the answer. Whenever you pray if you do not believe God heard, you will pray again and again and again and this is not scriptural. This is the acts of a desperate man who lacks faith and let’s doubts and fears take away what God has already sent the answer to. God does not answer for your much repetition and constant prayer request needs. God hears you the first time and after that if you want to pray it is not for God’s benefit, but for your doubts that God did not hear you the first time. This is another divine example of the sovereign will of God in response to the request of a man on the earth. Daniel did not ask for an angel, he asked God for the answer and God sent the angel. Learning how prayer works and how faith works are key factors to being led by the Spirit of God.
Daniel 10:12 implies that you do not have to be praying in order to speak words that get God’s response. You see there is another Hebrew word in the O.T. that is often translated as “prayer” and it is not this word that the angel said I am here for. Do not misunderstand what I am saying; I’m not saying not to pray I just think we need to expand our definition of what prayer is sometimes to include every word that we speak. You see sometimes people pray and ask God for a job and then look at the economy and circumstances and say “I’ll never get a job” to their friends. When you do that you have in effect canceled your prayer with your words of unbelief that God did not hear and answer you already. If you do not think your words matter then you are highly deceived. After you pray and ask God for the answer it is time to praise God for the answer until the answer arrives. Everything that you do matters in this world and I could give you Bible verses that teach these last statements, but I’ll try to teach on prayer in more depth in other future lessons.
THE STILL SMALL VOICE FROM A VERY BIG GOD!
Prayer and hearing from God is a very simple linked dependent concept taught to us in the Bible. I could give you many more examples of prayer in the Bible, but they are fairly easy to find so I’m going to move on to another method that God uses to communicate with man called the “Still small voice”. Here is why many people in the world do not believe that they ever hear from God. Many times they expect God to speak in a miraculous spectacular strong way and they miss the very basic supernatural soft voice of the Almighty God. God constantly manifests Himself using a very insignificant small voice and this is not what people expect. Why does the Almighty God do this? I guess you should also ask why the creator of the universe washed the feet of His own disciples. For God to make Himself a subordinate intentionally is a sovereign divine sign of exhibited humility. Humility is the ultimate sign of true greatness. Humility is the opposed force of pride. Did you know that no one who is anyone can ever exhibit true humility? Humility is only possible for anyone with greatness. Since God is the greatest of them all, God exhibits true humility in everything that He does. If you are at the bottom of the spiritual food chain you cannot lower yourself beyond where you are any further so you can only attempt to raise yourself and that is called pride. But if you are at the top of the spiritual food chain then you can display great character by being humble. To exalt yourself above where you are is a sign of pride and this is what Satan did and God is the direct opposite to Satan. Not understanding the character and the nature of God will cause you to miss God many times. How you expect God to answer will affect your ability to hear and recognize His voice. Did you know that this is one of the main reasons that the Jews did not recognize the manifestation of their Messiah? Jesus appeared to be a normal man like everyone else and this confounded the wisdom of the religious men that was expecting a powerful King to rule over them and set them free from the oppression of man. Jesus came as the humble servant to earth and He did not fit the picture of the conquering King that the Jews had in their mind for their Messiah. What I am trying to teach you is that it matters how you expect God to come to you to give you the answer also. If you are not open to a still small very quiet voice then you are probably going to miss out on God’s directions for your life.
1Ki 19:11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
Here is one of the most awesome verses in the Bible followed by an even greater verse in the next coming one that I’m about to give you. This verse is about the prophet Elijah but it also has direct applications to me and you today. The prophet must be seeking God and God is said to pass by on the mountain. Here is a great lesson about God and His character. It just so happens that a very strong wind comes and tears up the mountain as the Lord passed by, but God says in His word that He was not in the wind. Why is that important? God gets blamed for the winds of adversity like hurricanes and tornados constantly and I want to scream at preachers who accuse my God of killing, stealing and destroying things when God clearly says it was not me in this verse. Next you can see an earthquake also takes place and again God is not found in the earthquake either. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Why are you looking at the hugely spectacular expecting to find a God that is clearly not to be found there? That is probably one the most important questions you can learn from this lesson. Here is the verse that I want to focus in on today:
1Ki 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
After the earthquake a fire came, but again the Lord is not found in the fire. Here in the U.S. we have had a major hurricane flood the east coast recently and we have had earthquakes and now we have had major fires in Texas and Oregon and God says I’m not in any of these. Please do not claim these are the judgments of God trying to get America to change or get saved because that Gospel conflicts with the God of the Bible. Look at how this verse ends. A still small voice came to Elijah and guess what, that was God! If you read the next couple of verses you will see that Elijah is finally able to hold a conversation with the Almighty God of Israel. The Hebrew word translated as “still” means quiet and implies a peaceful atmosphere like a very gentle stream of water. The Hebrew word translated as “small” means low or thin as in something crushed. It is technically implying that it can be easily missed or ignored. Finally the Hebrew word for “voice” means audible spoken words. This still small voice from God asks Elijah a direct question to start the conversation. Did you know that you can learn a lot from God asking you a question if you are paying attention? How God asks the question and what is said in the question is almost always much greater than you can imagine. God’s intelligence is so far beyond your intelligence that all God has to do is ask you a simple question and suddenly you know many things that you needed to know. Go through the Bible and see how many times you can find God asking people questions to start a conversation. It might surprise you. God asked Adam two questions in Genesis 3 to start the conversation with the man. God then asks Eve a question in Genesis 3 next to continue the conversation with her. When He got to Satan suddenly the questions stopped. Why is that? I guess I won’t go there today, but it is very amazing to understand.
While I have been reading the Bible and studying a chapter I have had the Spirit of God in His still small voice ask me direct questions like “Did you notice that didn’t say…”. This simple question from the Spirit of God opened my eyes to the hidden meaning of the verses. God was teaching me and God taught me by asking me very simple questions. That is extreme wisdom to follow when you need to try to teach people something. When you ask the right questions, the light bulbs can be turned on in someone’s mind to bring illumination. I want you to learn two things from the example of Elijah that God speaks to him using a very quiet insignificant sound inside of him and that this can be a question that will bring great information to us. Finally I also want you to see that in the book of James written to us in the church, God says Elijah was a man just like us. In other words God is saying what Elijah did you can do and what I did for Elijah I will do for you. That is some amazing facts that God is still the same today as He was with the men in the Bible. Expect to hear God speak to you in a very faint quiet voice and this is usually for your benefit to help you possibly to help someone else.
Today’s lesson has been about two key methods of communication that God has taught us in His Word. Your prayer life will always initiate God’s response. Then your ability to learn to hear the still small voice of God inside of you is another key factor for your spiritual education to hearing from God’s Spirit. I’ll try to wrap this series up in the next lesson by giving you the last method that God uses to communicate with people on the earth that I have found in the Bible. This method is probably the most prevalent method and it could be the most important one also for you to know. Sorry to leave the most important to last. I will be discussing some more relevant examples of God’s communication methods found in the Bible in the next lesson. Finally, in the next Bible lesson on this subject I will explore some related topics that are also very important to learn about in being led by the Spirit of God. I hope and pray that you are learning something new and that this information is helping you to grow to be a better man or woman of God. If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to ask me, for it is as God says “you have not because you ask not”. Thanks for sharing your time in reading my Bible studies and I will bring you another one soon. God Bless.
To continue readin in this series you may go to “Part 7“.
Posted on September 18, 2011, in Bible Basics, Bible Study, Understanding and tagged Being Led, Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Holy Spirit, Religion, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.