At one time in 2009, I got a call from a long lost daughter who had disappeared into the Diaspora. As we were speaking, she wanted to talk about a young man that liked her. She wanted some background information from me on the young man, which he was withholding. I had all the information she was looking for. I declined to give it to her, for the simple reason that she wanted to get into a relationship with someone she was not communicating with. I told her that if the young man was hiding something from her, she should hide her life from him. I advised her to find out from him directly. No communication means no relationship.
Whenever you are looking for a relationship, there should be communication. If there is no communication you cannot build a relationship. God by nature is relational. If God is relational, it therefore means, God communicates. If God does not speak, then he is not intent on creating a relationship. So the basis of our knowing that we can have a relationship with God or we can encounter the voice of God is in knowing that God is a covenant keeping God. He is the God of covenant. He is the God of relationships. He establishes a relationship with you by communicating with you, by sharing his thoughts, by speaking to you. There are a number of ways that he speaks to you.
So we deal with a God who is not silent but a God who speaks. Now if I am in a relationship with someone, I need to communicate with them. When I communicate with them I know their thoughts, I know their plans, I know where they are coming from, so for us to know God we need to be able to communicate with him, we also need to be able to hear his voice.
John 10:1-5, 27
1″I assure you, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber!
2 For a shepherd enters through the gate.
3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they recognize his voice.
5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t recognize his voice.”
V 27 “My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Now Jesus is speaking and says I am the good shepherd. He says there are two kinds of shepherds: there is a shepherd who enters into the fold not by the door but by another way, and that kind of shepherd, the porter will not open the door for because he is a thief and a robber. So Jesus says be careful about the voice of the wrong shepherd. But he says the one who comes through the legitimate way, he speaks and the sheep hear his voice. He says when I go before my sheep, I lead them…because when I call out they hear my voice. Therefore God expects you to be able to hear His voice. If He says you hear His voice it means He speaks. You cannot hear a voice of somebody who does not speak. But He says you recognize my voice. So every Christian should come to a point where they can hear and recognize and be clear about the voice of the shepherd. He says my sheep know my voice. So if you are His you get to a point by training, by experience, and by exercise, where you are able to distinguish His voice. I want to put it clearly to you that it is possible to know the voice of the Master. It is possible, it is expected for a Christian to get to a point where you can distinguish and say this is my Father’s voice, this is the voice of the shepherd. So when He leads you He leads you because you recognize His voice. God is more willing to communicate to you and is willing for you to know his voice. He says My sheep know my voice, but the voice of the stranger they will not follow. But the problem is that we have a lot of Christians who are following the voice of the stranger. There are Christians who are experts at discerning the voice of the devil but they don’t know how to discern the voice of the Master. Which voice are you listening to? We are going to learn how to discern, how to recognize that voice. My dogs recognize my voice. Now, we can’t be beaten by dogs. Dogs can’t be more intelligent than we are. God wants to speak to and through his church. Not only does God wants to speak to you so that you can recognise His voice, but once you have recognized His voice He wants to use you to become His voice to the world. But you cannot be his voice unless you recognise his voice. When you hear him speak you are empowered to speak to the world, then you can bring reformation. You cannot bring reformation in the name of the God whose voice you cannot recognise.
Therefore it is important, it is critical for every child of God to be able to hear the voice of God. He speaks to your business. You want to be able to hear Him when He gives you direction about your business. He speaks about your family and you want to be able to recognise His voice when He speaks. He speaks about your relationships and you want to be able to recognise His voice when He speaks. God is interested in the things that happen to you. He is interested in the affairs of your life. So the reason he speaks is because he is keen to share the secrets of your life with you. He is keen to share the secrets of His agenda and purpose with you. Often times He speaks but we do not hear because we don’t recognise His voice. It is possible to train yourself to be able to recognise the voice of God. If I expect to hear his voice, if I really need to hear his voice, and if I diligently learn to recognise his voice, then God will speak to me regularly and sometimes, in amazing ways. You see God is always speaking, but the question is do we always recognise his voice. If you are not operating at the same wavelength you will not be able to pick what he is saying, and then you think God is silent – he is not, he is always speaking.