“11 The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.’”1 Kings 19:11-12 (NIV)
How are your listening skills? I know I get easily distracted when trying to listen to someone. Or, in my mind, I am already trying to form my response to the person instead of just listening to them. And, I don’t think I am alone with these issues. As a society, I think we have lost some of our abilities to listen well. But it is not unexpected because we filled our world with constant noises that compete for our attention.
My mother-in-law taught school, and she used to say that if you want to get someone’s attention, whisper. She employed this technique in her classroom and with my children, and it worked. I think people associate whispers with a hidden message, so with their curiosity piqued, then employed their best listening skills.
[bctt tweet=”Listen for God’s voice in everything you do.”]
I love the above verse from 1 Kings because it speaks volumes to me about all the distractions that hide God’s voice. How often do we search for God’s voice in the world’s noise? We listen in the storms, the fires and the earthquakes of life, but never slow down enough to listen during the quiet moments of our lives. And what would we do if we really heard the gentle whisper of God? Would we listen and obey or ignore it?
Listening to a Whisper
Many years ago, I experienced something that I will never forget. I read the paper one Saturday morning and saw an ad for a Christmas sale at a local shop. The store announced that it would randomly pick three people that day to receive all their purchases for free. I scoffed and turned the page, but as I did, I heard that gentle whisper that said, go. Money was tight in those days and it sounded great to get some Christmas stuff for free. Was it God or my imagination? I told my husband, and he laughed. “Do you know what the odds are that they will pick you?” He said. But something felt different about this voice. I knew the idea sounded crazy, but I listened and obey.
Well, long story short, I went by myself, because my family thought it crazy. And as I stood in line, I saw the manager glance my way. She walked over to me and said you are one of our winners today. Some might think it a coincidence, but I know better. God whispered to see if I would listen or not. I think this was the first time God whispered to me, but it was not the last time. I often think God tested me that day to see how I responded. Once I passed, He knew He could trust me with other, more important assignments.
Verses on Listening for God’s Voice
God can speak to us in many other ways, too. For example, He speaks through friends, songs, Bible verses or sermon. The important key is that we listen for His message. There are several other Bible verses that remind us to listen for God’s voice.
- Proverbs 3:6 (MSG)—“Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.”
- Deuteronomy 30:20a (NIV)–“and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”
- Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)–“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”
Discerning the Whisper
When God whispers to us, we can discern the voice to make sure it is not our own. Here are some ways we can use in this discernment:
- Look at the scriptures–God does not speak to us with something that does not align with His Word.
- Seek Godly counsel–a trusted person can offer a healthy input into knowing if what we hear is from God or man.
- Following a godly whisper will bring us peace, not turmoil.
- Does it line with God’s characteristics like love, justice and truthful, for example.
Back to my story. At the store, I loaded up my shopping cart with Christmas decoration in anticipation of God’s blessing. But then I again heard a voice that whispered not to be greedy. So, I listened again and only kept a handful of items. One item, an animated Santa, sat on my hearth for many years, and reminded me of joy of listening for God’s whisper.
Dearest Heavenly Father. Please help us slow down and listen for your whispers. We want to hear your voice and follow you all the days of our lives. So, please help us silence the worldly noises and make us still our busy minds. Thank you, Lord, for guiding my steps. In Jesus’ most holy name. Amen.