How to hear the voice of God

Ashley Thaba


A FRIEND recently asked me a pertinent question. We hear so many voices – many voices actually come from people who claim to be women and men of God. How do we actually know it is the voice of God?

It can be so perplexing and many times the various voices we hear contradict each other, leaving us so confused that we aren’t sure if we should listen to any of the voices we hear!

Does the Bible speak to us about this issue? Does God tell us how to test the voices to make sure they are of God and are speaking the truth? We will begin a
mini-series on this subject today, which will go on for the next couple of weeks.

Let’s start with the simple answer to the question. If someone says they have heard from God, how do you know that it is from God and not from Satan?

Their word should be in line with the word of God (Bible). The Bible says God’s word will not pass away. It is eternal, therefore, there will be no spoken word today that God would give, which would contradict His written word.

Let me give an example. Let’s say you have been praying for God to provide for you financially. Then, at a church on Sunday, the offering plate passes by you and a P200 note drops out. No one is looking and you think God has made the provision. You know too well that the money was meant as an offering to the church. You also know what the Bible says about stealing. The same can go for the way we rationalise why we pay bribes in order to get jobs. It is another
fancy word for stealing. God will never lead you to do something that goes against His written Word.

Other believers will back it. This one can be tricky because the opinion of others is not always the safest sounding block to test the certainty of an issue. However, if you have found some people you truly respect and they strongly feel against something, then it would at least be worth a second glance into the scripture and to spend more time in prayer before you jump to make a decision.
Let me give an example. There is a story in the Bible where Paul goes to the elders in Jerusalem and suggests something that for the past millennium would have been heresy! He suggests they start to preach the gospel to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Up to that point, only the Jews were in a relationship with God. But God had gone before Paul and changed the hearts of the apostles, and they gave him their blessing.

Circumstances will back it. The Bible is full of stories which show that God is capable of opening doors if He wants His servants to go in a certain direction. In the Old Testament, He was able to defeat entire armies. In the New Testament, He was able to change the hearts of authorities.

So, if you feel God is telling you something, but the circumstances just aren’t lining up, then either the time isn’t right or you aren’t hearing God. Let me give you an example. I hear of people saying: “I believe God wants me to go to America and marry and get a job there.” Then, the circumstances just aren’t lining up. It could very well be that you want to go to America and you are trying to put God’s stamp on it!

I will give you one more example on this one, because it is something I hear people say often. I believe God called me to marry XYZ, yet XYZ doesn’t like you! Or worse yet, maybe XYZ is married! Remember, God will not contradict His written Word – He would never want you to defile someone’s marital bed. Furthermore, when God is calling two people together, He will confirm that to both of them.

So, again, it could be that you want to marry that person and are putting “God’s stamp on it”.

Meanwhile, you are so busy looking at who you think is the best choice; you might be missing out on the one God knows is best for you!

Maybe, in one of these columns, I will share how I ended up with my husband from Tutume; totally a God thing because my eyes were on another man! But, let’s
save that for another day!

Your spirit will receive it and there will be peace. When God speaks, there is always resounding peace. It doesn’t mean that what He is asking you to do will always be easy, but His peace is always present with His call. You might doubt you have the strength to follow through, but you won’t have this niggly feeling that: “I don’t know. Something doesn’t sit right. Something about this seems off. Is this really what God says?”

The instruction given will convict you and the words will offer guidance, which will lead you to a closer relationship with God and His will. When you truly are listening to God, it draws you closer to Him. You feel a sense of intimacy and that your relationship with Him is growing.

However, if someone is just telling you what God is saying to you and it isn’t leading you personally to feel closer to God, then there is a good chance that the word is not from God, but rather from man. God’s Word always leads us closer to Him!

Let’s leave it there for this week and pick it up next week, as we move on to whether you should ever be afraid of God’s Word to you.