Do you long to hear God speak? The Bible tells us that God does speak to us, and that His children recognize His voice and follow His leading (John 10).
There have been times I have longed to hear a “special” word from God — an audible voice, some ordering of circumstances, a change in situation, a prophecy from another Christian, even just a sense, or an unction — something of personal significance to feel close to God, assured of His love and our relationship, or to give me special guidance and wisdom.
And yet, in the Bible, we possess all that is necessary both for being born into His kingdom as well as living in a manner worthy of His calling (2 Peter 1:2-4). God’s Spirit speaks to us through His written word.
Sheep Know their Shepherd’s Voice
In John 10:3-4, Jesus says that His sheep “hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”
Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He calls us out of sin and into salvation. His own true sheep are those who hear His call and believe Him. Just as we heard His call to salvation and followed Him, in the same way we hear His voice as He leads us day by day in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
If you have believed on Christ, how did you hear the voice of your Shepherd when He called you into salvation? You heard and you believed His voice when God opened your eyes to the promises of Scripture. (Romans 10:17)
The Holy Scriptures, which are “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus,” are the only necessary milk for the Good Shepherd’s little lambs. By that milk of the word of God, we grow into maturity as Christians (2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 2:2).
How Does the Shepherd Communicate with His Sheep?
Jesus tells us that we live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). What word is it that our souls long to hear and our hearts need to believe?
Do we need Him to teach us?
Are we ripe for rebuke?
Do we long for Him to speak to us and correct us in our way?
Are we waiting for a word from Him that trains us in righteousness?
We want to walk in the good works which He has prepared for us, but how will we know whether to veer left or right? Which direction is His will?
Won’t our Shepherd speak to us a word in due season to equip us for our calling?
2 Timothy 3:16 says that the Bible is our Shepherd’s voice for each of these situations:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
We learn to hear God speak by tuning our hearts to His word, the Bible. God’s written word is sufficient for our salvation, and it’s also sufficient for Christian living.
How do we hear His voice when the direction we should go is not spelled out in Scripture?
Little lambs listen eagerly to hear that voice behind them that whispers, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). But sometimes we may feel like we’re straining unsuccessfully to hear our Shepherd’s leading. We simply don’t know if a thought or some sudden inspiration or word is indeed from God or if it is from some other place (our own selfish desires? some demonic influence? a well-intentioned but misguided friend?).
God sometimes brings direction and clarity to our situations through circumstances, advice from a pastor or friend, or a sense of peace about one way over the other. 1 Thessalonians 5 tells us not to despise a “prophetic utterance,” but as verse 21 instructs us, we must “test everything” against the word of God and “hold fast what is good.”
When we immerse ourselves in His written words, our senses and discernment skills are trained by constant use of God’s promises (Hebrews 5:14). This ancient book is not an idle word — it is our very life! We take hold of the whole Bible as the tender voice of God revealing Himself to us, and the Holy Spirit applies His life-quickening, powerful word to our unique situations.
Search the Scriptures, hear the voice of your Shepherd, heed him, and follow Him. His Spirit will help us as we ask Him to guide us. His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path as we walk in freedom and liberty under the watchful care of the Great Shepherd of our souls, our precious Lord Jesus.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Amanda Criss is a wife, stay-at-home mom, and blogger at Bless Your Heart and Home. She writes to encourage the hearts of women through the good news of Jesus Christ. She and her husband, Jody, have two children and live in their home state of Mississippi