Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts. – Hebrews 4:7
14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,
15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me.
Effective communication requires more than the exchange of information. It involves not only listening with our ears. But also requires making an active effort to comprehend what we hear. Understanding the message is essential. Prophets have control over their own spirits. It is also important that the bearer of the message slow down and take time to be certain that hearers not only hear the words but also understood them.
1 Corinthians 14:32 The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.
If the hearers do not understand, communication has not occurred.
On the other hand, the hearers are not passive, but active. They are to engage in active listening. Active listening involves empathy, that is, putting yourself in the position of others. Without being judgmental, empathy is seeing things from point of view of others. Empathy includes affirming body language. Often all it takes is a warm countenance, a friendly smile, and good eye contact. A bit of encouragement goes a long way in allowing the other person to feel understood, respected, and valued.
Excellent communication with the Father begins with our personal relationship with Him. To hear Him, we must know Him.
Our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ begins when we hear His voice and respond in faith and come to Him (John 10:27-28). Once we have come to Him, the lines of communication are thrown wide open. As we continue to hear His voice, our relationship with Him deepens.
Sadly there are times when we draw back and harden our hearts. The brakes go on and communication skids to a halt.
Hebrews 4:7 Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.
To maintain a vibrant and growing relationship, it is incumbent upon us to keep the lines of communication open.
REFLECT & PRAY
Active listening and comprehension require a bit of flexibility. No procedure or methodology is set in concrete. Expect the unexpected. Be ready and alert.
Father encourage and enable me not just to hear, but also to actively listen, comprehend, and take appropriate action.
1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many different ways to our ancestors through the prophets.
2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son, he created the universe.
The Father because of His great love and compassion, desires to communicate with the children of the King. He has done so in a multitude of ways over the millennia. There is no formula that He is bound by. The Father has not placed Himself into a box. He has used many different modalities and styles, as well as individuals of diverse backgrounds, professions, education, and training.
In the Old Testament, the Father sometimes spoke directly to people: Adam (Genesis 3:9-19), Noah (Gen 6:13 – 9:17), Abraham (Gen 12:1-3, 7), to Moses (Exodus 33:11), Samuel (1 Samuel 3:2-14), and others. On various occasions, the message came through angels. For example, this is how he communicated to Hagar (Gen 16:7-12), to Lot (Gen 19:1-22), to Manoah (Judges 13:2-23), and others. The Father frequently spoke through dreams and visions.
Sometimes the communication process was totally unexpected, even astonishing: a whirlwind (Job 38:1), a burning bush (Exodus 3:1-2), a talking donkey (Numbers 22:28-35), a still small voice (1 Kings 19:13).
During the Old Testament period, the Father’s primary means of communication was through His servants the prophets (2 Kings 17:23; 21:10; 24:2; Jeremiah 25:4; Daniel 9:10; Amos 3:7; Hosea 12:10). In New Testament, along with prophets, He spoke through apostles and ultimately His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Father used people to reveal His truth to the world. The process was initiated and carried out by the Holy Spirit. The Father communicated directly and personally with each of His messengers. The written Word of God is the product of His working through people.
2 Peter 1:20-21
20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding,
21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
An example of this personal interaction is seen in the Book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah “heard” from the Father. The Father put on Nehemiah’s heart what He wanted him to do. The Father prompted, directed, and guided Nehemiah.
Nehemiah 2:12 I didn’t tell anyone what my God had laid on my heart to do for Jerusalem.
A commonly asked question among the children of the King is, “How can I hear from God?”
What does it mean to listen to the Father? Nehemiah offers a glimpse. He records how the Father spoke to him. Nehemiah provides the Who and the what, but not the how. Remarkably and unseen, the Father formed a plan in Nehemiah’s heart and mind. The Father placed thoughts, ideas, feelings, and a strategy into His servant Nehemiah.
Perhaps, like any good planner, the Father outlined the major steps of the task, and then as needed, filled in the blanks. The Father had Nehemiah’s back and continued to involve Himself in the step-by-step everyday challenges.
Guided with the Father’s thoughts and plans, Nehemiah went on a nighttime fact-finding mission to reconnoiter the lay of the land. Then at the right time, the perfect time, the Father’s plan set in motion. As a result, Nehemiah was able to rebuild the wall in record time, while simultaneously fending off enemy combatants.
When the Father speaks, listen.