Hearing from God and Other Crazy Ideas
By Jennifer E. Jones
"Build yourself a ship… I'm going to bring a flood on the Earth that will destroy everything alive under Heaven.” (Genesis 6:14a, 17, The Message)
I’m not sure where Noah was when he heard the voice of God telling him to build an ark, but I can only imagine what a nutty scene that was.
It’s a nice sunny day perhaps. His family is in good health. Sure, there’s a lot of evil in the world, but for the most part, all seems well.
Then, literally out of the clear blue sky, God speaks. Genesis 6 shows us that God gave Noah very specific instructions on what was coming and what he had to do.
Build an ark. It’s gonna flood.
What fascinates me most about this story is that there wasn’t a lot of resistance from Noah. Usually when God asks us to do something, our first response is: “But Lord…” Not Noah. He got to work.
… And thank God he did. Soon after God called Noah to build an ark big enough to hold his family and two of every animal, Genesis 7 tells us that God made good on His promise and flooded the earth. The entire course of history depended on Noah listening and obeying the voice of God. That’s a lot of pressure for a 600-year-old guy.
The art of hearing God’s voice is tricky for any believer, young or old. Unless it’s audible, God gets mixed up with our thoughts, the influences of friends, the church, pop culture and of course, the voice of your mother.
In spite of the difficulty, it’s essential to every Christian to stay in communication with the Heavenly Father, and that’s a two-way street. So, I have to ask: what are you going to do when the still small voice talks to you?
Hearing and heeding God’s voice are two different animals, but they must go hand in hand to live that promised abundant life. Here are some keys to remember:
“Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (I Peter 2:9 KJV). “I’ve lost my marbles,” is what you might mutter when presented with a task from God. You think you heard God, but you’re concerned that others will think you’re crazy. Let me reassure you. You are crazy. We all are. We believe in a Supreme Being that we can’t see, who rules the universe and will one day come back for us. We’re crazy. However, I Corinthians 1 reads, “The foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom,” and we know that God chooses “the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (v. 27). So let people think what they want. You only have to answer to God.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7, KJV). I can guarantee you that when God tells you to do something, at first, it will look impossible. God says to start your own business, but your bank balance is in the red. Or God tells you to go back to school, but you haven’t darkened the hallway of an educational institution since the Carter administration. Don’t look at your circumstances. When God sees you, He sees His Son and potential that is far greater than your current situation. Also, what a testimony to God when you’ve arrived and you can credit Him with bringing you into your Promised Land!
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…” (Psalm 1:1, ESV). Not much is said about the people who didn’t make Noah’s boat. We know they were evil, but that’s about it. I can imagine how many of them saw Noah building this monstrosity in broad daylight and had a good laugh. I’m sure many of them tried to talk him out of it. Noah didn’t listen to the nay-sayers and neither should you. When you hear God’s voice, align yourself with people who either get that same divine message or trust God enough to believe you. Don’t let anyone talk you out of your mission.
[Jesus said,] “Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you” (John 14:16 CEV). We have more to work with than Noah did. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us. God placed inside every believer a little “knower” that comforts us and lets us know when we’re on the right track. So when you think you’ve heard from God, let the Holy Spirit take over and point you in the right direction.
My biggest fear is missing God. Who wants to be a fool or look like a nutcase? However, whenever I'm unsure of the still, small voice, the Holy Spirit reminds me of the same words that the Lord said to Jeremiah. I hope they comfort you as well: “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled." (Jeremiah 1:12, NIV)
So like Noah, just close your eyes, take His hand, and believer, get ready, because it’s going to be a wild ride.
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