Scripture shows the way in learning to listen.
Posted in , Sep 14, 2020
Our family was on a late-summer hike along the Appalachian Trail, going up and down through the woods, treading carefully over the rocks—at least I was—and chatting the whole while, enjoying each other’s company.
Then my nephew Kirk said, “Let’s be silent for a while. Spread out a bit and just walk.” (Kirk is a middle-school math teacher and even though I still think of him as a kid, he can put on that teacher’s voice of authority.)
“Good idea,” we said. We spread out along the trail so that you could only see one person ahead through the trees, and we hiked in silence. Afternoon light shimmered through the branches, dry leaves crunched underfoot, a marmot darted along the path. What a difference it made.
When I was a kid in Sunday school it baffled me how people in the Bible heard God speak to them. “How?” I wondered. This seemed to be a good example. God’s creation was speaking loud and clear. We just needed to get silent for a while. Here are some Bible verses to help you hear God’s voice.
1) Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. (Psalm 37:7)
In an age of texts, emails, minute-by-minute news updates, it’s so easy to forget the importance of being still. Not for nothing do I leave my phone in the other room when I sit on the sofa each morning to get still with God.
2) If one gives answer before hearing, it is folly and shame. (Proverbs 18:13)
I’m terribly guilty of this. Thinking of the clever thing I’m going to say instead of fully listening to another. Is it not possible that I do the same thing with the Lord? Why would my answer be better?
3) My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. (John 10:27)
One of the things I love about sheep is how they move together—either shepherded by a dog or a person. How wonderful to think that we might hear best in groups (at church or in a Bible study) by our good Shepherd.
4) For God speaks in one way, and in two, though people do not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the nights, when deep sleep falls on mortals… (Job 33:15)
I write down my dreams first thing in the morning when I can remember them. They can be confusing and compelling all at once, but in Scripture we see how God spoke to people in their dreams. He still does.
5) So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17)
Jesus didn’t leave behind a big building or a list of rules or a signed manuscript so how do we know the word of Christ? Through His followers. The stories they told and retold and put down that we can read and retell and live.
I don’t know if my Sunday school teacher would give me two or three stars but I would say, yes, I think I know how God speaks to us. Through others, through listening, through reading, through dreams and through stillness—a silence that speaks volumes.