God does not customarily operate that way. He speaks to us,
but He does not chatter away, day in and day out, the way some
people claim He does. This has been my experience, and it is
the concept that is in accordance with the biblical record.
The Bible says that we can tell if someone is a prophet by seeing
if what he has said comes to pass (see Deuteronomy 18:22). That is
a very pragmatic test, and it works.
A friend who purported to hear from God told me, "My second
child is going to be a boy. God told me." His second child
was a girl. He said, "Well, God told me that it was not the
second child who was going to be a boy, but the third child."
His third child was a girl, too. At that point I determined,
that brother isn't hearing from God. It was clear: He made
a statement, supposedly from God, that did not come to pass.
There is no shortcut to spiritual understanding. You have
to learn to walk with God and to know His voice; otherwise,
you will mistake your own voice for His. You even may be fooled
by the voice of Satan, or you may hear the clamoring voice
of the world. It is so easy to get these voices mixed up.
Usually, God speaks to us in a still, small, quiet voice (see
I Kings 19:11-13). It takes time, prayer, and waiting on God
to hear His voice.
Nor does God scatter His pearls around recklessly. He said,
"You will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and
with all your soul" ( Deuteronomy 4:29). God does not reveal
Himself to every casual onlooker who would take sacred things
and play with them like toys. I have known some adults who
treated the gifts of God as if they were just little baubles
to play with. To please God and to receive counsel from Him,
people must be both determined and serious.
How do we succeed in hearing God's voice? By spending time
with God. The ultimate is not merely to get direction from
God; the ultimate is to know God. God can make it difficult
for us to get into His presence because He wants to see if
we truly will expend the spiritual energy and exercise necessary
to do so. Will we stop certain sins? Will we get rid of things
that hinder us? Will we truly seek Him with all of our hearts?
Some people only want a quick fix -- "God, tell me how to
make money on this business deal, please. See You next time!"
And then that is the end of it. But God wants to be treated
with reverence and deference that His nature warrants. He
wants to change us, not merely give us quick answers to difficult
problems. We will never be changed unless we come into His
presence, spend time with Him, and allow Him to purify us
from our sinful nature.