A stewardess who was giving the usual talk before the plane takes off, you know, the one where they tell you what to do with your tray tables and to have your seat in the upright position--then they grab a dummy oxygen mask with the elastic band? On this particular flight the stewardess decided to see if anyone was actually listening when she said, “If we encounter turbulence and the cabin is depressurized, an oxygen mask will fall down from overhead. Take the mask put it over your navel and breathe normally.” Sure enough, no one was really listening. Is God facing the same challenge that the stewardess was experiencing?
In Matthew 13:14 Jesus quoted a prophecy of Isaiah, “For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing.” The people Jesus was applying the prophecy to were very religious people. They attended the synagogue, brought offerings, chanted the Psalms and attended the ceremonial feast days, yet they had a spiritual hearing problem. They did not recognize God’s voice to them.
I realize that it is possible to become fanatical about “hearing” God and there are people needing psychiatric care who claim to hear God’s voice but it is very clear from the Bible that God wants to speak to us. Are you listening? How does He speak to us? Scripture teaches us there are four main ways we can hear from God and you can remember them with a “W”. God speaks through His Works (Nature) but there are details that cannot be perfectly understood from nature alone. God speaks through his Word (The Bible). The Bible is the gold standard for all other communication we think we receive from Him. If the Bible doesn’t harmonize with the message we think we have heard from God then we can know it’s not from God. However, God does certainly communicate through his Ways (Circumstances/Providence see 2 Sam. 5:24 etc.) and also through his Whisper (The impressions of His Spirit in our mind). Interpreting His ways and His whisper is a bit more challenging than reading the words of Scripture but the more we study the Bible the better we will be able to interpret his ways and His whisper. Jesus wants us to “know” Him (John 17:3). We get to know Him through His voice. He said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27). Are you hearing His voice? I long for this precious experience described in the following quote, don’t you? “Our prayers will take the form of a conversation with God as we would talk with a friend. He will speak His mysteries to us personally. Often there will come to us a sweet joyful sense of the presence of Jesus.” --Christ Object Lessons p. 129