The Importance of Hearing from God

The Voice of the Lord in Scripture is likened to the sound of a trumpet. Just as there were many purposes for the sounding of the trumpet in Old Testament times, so it is with the Voice of the Lord through prophecy today.

The Voice of the Lord is a Trumpet

The Voice of the Lord in Scripture is likened to the sound of a trumpet. Just as there were many purposes for the sounding of the trumpet in Old Testament times, so it is with the Voice of the Lord through prophecy today.

The voice of the Lord gathers the people together:

“When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain”.

(Exodus 19:13)

The voice of the Lord alerts the people for war:

“And it happened, when he arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the mountains of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mountains; and he led them. Then he said to them, “Follow me, for the Lord has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand”.

(Judges 3: 27 & 28)

The voice of the Lord lifts up the soul, bringing encouragement and strength for battle:

“When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, ‘The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!’” (Judges 7:18).

The voice of the Lord summons others for reinforcement:

“Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us”.

(Nehemiah 4:20)

The voice of the Lord declares God’s judgement:

“Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins”.

(Isaiah 58:1)

“Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed My covenant and rebelled against My law”.

(Hosea 8:1)

The voice of the Lord brings warnings from the prophets of God:

“Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen’”.

(Jeremiah 6:17)

The Importance of Waiting for the Voice of the Lord

When the Israelites defeated Jericho, it was because the Lord had given them the battle plan. But when the people of the Lord went up against Ai, they thought that they knew best. The men who went to spy out the land advised Joshua:

“Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few”.

(Joshua 7:3)

But it was in not seeking the voice of the Lord, that caused them to meet with defeat.

“So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water”.

Joshua 7:4 & 5)

Had Joshua and the people enquired of the Lord, the Lord may have revealed to them that someone had taken of the accursed things forbidden by God, causing them to be defeated in battle.

“And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things (the things that should have been destroyed and devoted to destruction), lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it

(Joshua 6:18).

“Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: there is an accursed thing in your midst, o Israel, you cannot stand before your enemies, until you take away the accursed thing from among you”.

(Joshua 7:13)

God Appoints Prophets for a Purpose

How many times has man foolishly proceeded without first waiting to hear the voice of the Lord?

There is both a set time and a set purpose for the release of prophecy. As we do not know the set times and set purposes that God has set in advance until He reveals it, we must trust Him in this: that God will speak exactly the right thing at exactly the right time, to enable the fulfilling of His purposes! (not ours).

It is a dangerous thing for any man to assume to know what the Lord is doing before He has announced it.

King Saul was instructed to wait for Samuel the prophet, the anointed of the Lord. But when Samuel did not arrive in the time that Saul had thought, he followed the compulsion of his own heart, taking it upon himself to try to fulfil the call of the prophet:

“Then he (Saul) waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. So Saul said, ‘Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.’ And he offered the burnt offering. Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. And Samuel said, ‘What have you done?’ Saul said, ‘When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering’”.

(1 Samuel 13: 8-12)

Because of the pride and presumption of Saul’s own heart, the kingdom that would have been established forever as his, was given to another:

“And Samuel said to Saul, ‘You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. ‘But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you’”.

(1 Samuel 13: 13-14)

For His purposes, God has set the members of the body, each one in his place:

“But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased”

(1 Corinthians 12:18).

“And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues”.

(1 Corinthians 12:28)

We must remember that God’s appointments are by grace and not that of another. These set appointments are set by God, to fulfil the purposes of God and not another. If man then interferes with the appointments of God, the people will follow not the voice of the Lord, but the voice of another!

The Origin of Prophecy

What, then, is the origin of prophecy? Or, from where does the Word of the Lord come? Does it come from without, or does it come from within? The Word of God tells us that each one of us has an anointing from God that enables us to “know all things.”

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things”.

(1 John 2:20)

This word “know” in the Greek here is “eidō” – meaning “properly” “to see” (literally or figuratively) “to know”: —”be aware” “behold” “consider” “have knowledge” “look on” “perceive” “see” “be sure” “tell” “understand” “wish” “compare” (Strong’s concordance). The Word of God also tells us that this anointing abides (dwells or resides) within us.

“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you”.

(1 John 2:27)

This unction or anointing from God is the voice of the Holy Spirit communicating directly to the spirit of man. It is an understanding deep within our spirits of what God is revealing to us from His Spirit to ours. The bible tells us this is something our minds will be at war with, or fight against because our minds do not have the capacity to understand.

“But the natural man does not receive (or accept) the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”.

(1 Corinthians 2:14)

The Apostle Paul tells us that one of the reasons God gave us His Holy Spirit, is so that we may understand.

“What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit Who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us”.

(1 Corinthians 2:12, NIV)
  • Spiritual things from the Spirit of God can only be discerned or understood with the Holy Spirit’s help.
  • One of the reasons God has given us His Spirit is to help us understand.

The Role of the Anointing in Prophecy

Therefore, what is the role of the anointing in prophecy? Again, the Bible tells us:

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man” (2 Peter 1:20 & 21a).

Peter says: “know this first” because the foundational principle we must come to understand, is that for man to proclaim something as “the Word of the Lord” it must be the Word of the Lord – not the word of man.

  • All prophecy must originate from the mouth of God and not from the will of man.
  • The unction or anointing of the Holy Spirit is the key.

The unction of the Holy One precedes the voice of God

“But holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21b).

The Greek word used here for moved is “Pherō” – meaning “be”, “bear”, “bring (forth)”, “carry”, “come”, “let her drive”, “be driven”, “endure”, “go on”, “lay”, “lead”, “move”, “reach”, “rushing”, “uphold”. When a word of prophecy comes to a person, there is a “stirriing” in the spirit man or an anointing that bursts forth to accompany it.

  • The anointing is the force of the Holy Spirit rushing forth to drive, carry or move the prophecy forward.
  • If we try to prophesy without the anointing, it becomes man’s voice speaking to man.
  • When we prophesy with the anointing, it is the Spirit of God speaking deep into the spirit of man.

The presence of the anointing also sets a Word from the Lord apart; allowing us to differentiate whether the Word we have received is a Word for the body of Christ, or if it is “just for us.” The anointing of God is something we must learn to recognize and, like everything else in life, we can only learn to do that through practice. But if we believe the Word we have received from God is to be spoken out publicly to the body of Christ, but are unable to accurately and fluently speak it, how will the people understand what is said, or the purpose for which it was sent? Therefore, whether the Word of prophecy is given in Word or in pen, we must learn to flow with the anointing, and be empowered by the anointing, so that the people can clearly understand the message that is sent. Paul speaks of the need for tongues to be interpreted when spoken publicly, but the principle he is addressing when applied to prophecy remains the same.

“Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air”.

(1 Corinthians 14: 7-9)
  • Man, by himself cannot release the Word that God has given.
  • The anointing enables us to release the power of the Word.
  • The anointing enables us to release a word that is clearly understood.
  • The word is “borne”, “brought forth”, “carried” or “driven forward” by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God’s Word Will Always Reveal God’s Heart

Just like hearing the voice of our natural father, hearing the voice of our Heavenly Father should be the most natural thing for us as believers. God has not made it hard! Jesus said:

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me”.

(John 10:27)

Sometimes we do not hear well, because we fear what our Heavenly Father’s voice might say; because we fear His rebuke.

Don’t forget the Father’s heart.

Just as at times our natural fathers corrected us out of love for our good and we respected them for it, every time that God speaks to us He is loving us as His children, as true sons and daughters of God.

“And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son’. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness”.

(Hebrews 12: 5-10, NIV)
  • Our heavenly Father’s voice is never separated from His love.
  • Therefore, we have nothing to fear!

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love”.

(1 John 4:18)

In both giving or receiving prophecy, we must learn to recognize and flow with the anointing, but we focus on the Father’s heart. When God reveals His Word to us through prophecy, it will always contain the Heart of God for His people. Because God’s word says: “There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). His Words will not condemn. Because God’s Word says: “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). His Words will be inclusive of all.

  • Prophecy reveals the truth of God about a matter.
  • Prophecy reveals the insights that we need to understand.
  • The truth of God will never distort God’s character; it will never change the principles found in God’s Word (the bible).

Prophecy both Exposes and Reveals. Through prophecy God may Expose individual inadequacies in some, while revealing different aspects of His heart to all.

To understand the heart of a matter, we must understand God’s heart on the matter!

The Value of the Prophetic in Worship

Scripture explains that it is with thanks-giving that we pass through the gates (or the place of entrance) and into the courts of the living God with our praise. In Old Testament times the courts represented the enclosure before the entrance of a building — especially the buildings of the holy tabernacle (see Nehemiah 8:16), or the place where people were formally received by the king (see Esther 5:1 & 2). But the courts spoken of here are also representative of the reception area of Christ. It is in this place that we come before Jesus and are received by Him:

“Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name”.

(Psalm 100:3 & 4)

Psalm 19 declares:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world”.

(Psalm 19: 1-4)

If God’s creation in the firmament (sky) above can utter such speech and reveal knowledge to men, so that “there is not speech or language where their voice is not heard,” how much more should the lips of men? So, of what value is prophecy to our worship? Or, of what value is prophecy to the induction of praise? The answer is: everything!

Prophecy is the entrance to praise. It is the catalyst from which praise flows!

We Come with Hearts Ready to Receive

As we enter into His courts with praise we expectantly await the King’s arrival. We come with hearts that are open and ready to receive His Word. We come with the expectation that God already knows our need and is ready to answer on our behalf.

“For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him”.

(Matthew 6:8)

When we enter the gates with thanksgiving, in faith we are thanking God in advance for the answer to our need!

When we gather together as a people, we do not know the needs of all the people but we have a God Who does. The Lord said to the prophet Jeremiah:

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know”.

(Jeremiah 33:3)

When we prophesy therefore, we speak mysteries unto men:

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”.

(1 Corinthians 13:2)

The apostle Paul said we only know in part. Therefore, we cannot presume to know all that God is doing:

“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part”.

(1 Corinthians 13:9)

When we prophesy we have to trust God with that part that we do not know or understand.

Do Not Limit God With Your Own Understanding

When Jesus spoke, not all listened. When Jesus spoke, not all could understand. Yet Jesus continued to speak just the same! It is exactly the same today. We cannot be troubled by the outward appearance of man. Many may make no outward response, but will be like Mary, of whom it was said: “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19); or like Jacob who “worshipped the Lord while leaning on top of his staff” (Hebrews 11:21).

When God speaks, expect Him to use a language that all can understand. I may come with one need, and my brother may come with another, but it is the Lord Who knows them both. Whilst writing this article the Lord clearly said to me:

“As in times past there has been a meeting of the nations; all is not lost in translation, the essence remains the same. For one may interpret in one way, and one may interpret in another, but it is the Lord who guides them both”.

This means that though only one general Word of prophecy may be spoken out, God’s principles in that Word remain the same. It is God Who then applies the truth of those principles to the individual needs of men.

Again, the Lord said to me:

“Let My people speak, though they do not understand. Let one speak and then another, and I will confirm My Word through the inner witness of a man. Accuracy is not in knowing the specifics of a man, but in hearing the Word of the Lord and revealing that which is shown”.

  • Though a man may speak what he does not understand, the inner witness of the one receiving will confirm it.
  • Though one man may speak, it is the Lord who will interpret, for each man, according to their need.

As God reveals His heart to us as individuals, then our praise toward God naturally flows. We begin to rejoice and worship Him as we receive the revelation He individually speaks to us and our individual needs are met.

God reveals His heart.

Man expresses it.

It results in the praises of men.

Continue to Sow the Word

Do not fear the opposition of others but continue to sow the Word. One may reap a hundred-fold, another may reap ten:

“But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred”.

(Mark 4:20)

Whether in private or in public, continue to sow His Word.

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully”.

(2 Corinthians 9:6)

To him who is trustworthy much more will be given.

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’”.

(Matthew 25:23)

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If you would like to have a relationship with God through accepting His Son Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, please pray the prayer below.

Dear Heavenly Father. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. I am sorry for the sins I have committed and I ask You to forgive me. I now turn away from all the things that I know to be wrong and I receive Your Holy Spirit and Your gift of eternal life. Thank You for this free gift of Salvation and eternal life. Help me to come to know and experience Your love for me more and more, and to now share the love You have given me with others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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What next: Once we have started our relationship with Christ – it is important that we continue to grow in our understanding of Him, and experience His love for us on a regular basis. God does this for us as we read the Bible, which I encourage you to do on a regular basis, asking the Holy Spirit to help you understand it and make it “come alive” to you in a very personal way. May I encourage you to do this every day, and to actively pursue those things that God reveals to you. We also need to be spending time with other like-minded Christians on a regular basis, who are also growing in their relationship with God. We gain encouragement from being with other growing believers. Ask God to lead you to a Bible-believing church (or Bible-believing Christian group) that will encourage your relationship with Christ and help to meet your needs. Ask Him, and trust that He will guide you to the place of fellowship that is right for you.

May God both work in you and through you, those things that He desires, as you continue to submit your life to Him each day.