A few weeks ago we sang “Word of God Speak” in our chapel service. That is one of my favorite songs because it seems to usher us to the throne of God where we can sense the comfort of his presence.
For many reasons, the phrase “Word of God speak” has been my personal prayer since that time.
I have experienced the truth of God’s voice for a lot of years now and I wanted to write this blog post to teach, remind, or encourage all of you that his voice is a gift we should cultivate for our souls.
Sometimes when I am praying for a person who needs healing or a sense of peace or direction I pray, “Word of God speak.” I want to pray in his will so I ask for him to author my prayer with his words. Often, I want to pray for direction for my own life and choices so I pray, “Word of God speak . . . I want to hear your voice and follow your lead.”
There are times we need to hear God’s voice of comfort and love. During those times I often pick up the Bible and pray, “Word of God speak to me from pages. Speak to me from your truth.”
When you need his voice, you will learn how to pray and how to listen.
Frederick Faber’s teaching is wisdom
Frederick Faber was an English theologian and hymn writer in the mid-1800s. Faber struggled most of his life with poor health and eventually died of Bright’s disease at the age of forty-nine. His spiritual journey was marked by a brilliant theological education that he then applied to the needs in his life. His faith was strengthened even as his body grew physically weak. So many times, God redeems the hard times by using them to sanctify our souls.
Frederick Faber has a quote that has been a goal and a strength to my own soul, especially when I need God’s direction or comfort in my own life. I wanted to share it with you all today. When you need God to speak, consider Faber’s teaching as truth for your life. He said:
There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is whispering to us well nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear these whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not always hear because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.
What does the prophet Isaiah teach about God’s voice?
Isaiah 30 is a great education in our need to listen for, and to, the voice of God. It teaches us why those words by Frederick Faber are spiritual truth.
We never have to wonder if God is speaking. God gave us his Holy Spirit so we could live with his voice. So why then do we struggle with knowing God’s will and obeying his voice?
Isaiah 30 provides some answers.
The chapter begins with the words “‘Ah, stubborn children,’ declares the Lᴏʀᴅ, ‘who carry out a plan, but not mine, who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin’” (Isaiah 30:1).
Have you ever wondered how many mistakes you would have escaped if you had just asked God first?
Have you ever prayed for God’s direction only to immediately begin charting your own path?
Sometimes we even say, “Lord, I’m moving ahead so stop me if I’m making a mistake.”
The Israelites didn’t care what the prophets told them to do and didn’t want to wait for God to work in his timing. They made their own plans and did what they thought was right, not what God had shown them was best. That’s why God said in Isaiah 30:15, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Then the prophet told the people, “You were unwilling.”
God speaks all the time and God speaks when it is time. To move forward with our own ideas after praying for guidance is like turning on the faucet to fill the tub and then allowing the water to continually run while you take a shower instead.
Let’s just say not to wait for God’s answer is to cause yourself a big mess and maybe significant damage.
The grace of God’s answers
As I’ve said, I’m not a fan of waiting, but I have learned that I am a fan of waiting on God.
It is amazing to pray and then see God’s direction unfold through my circumstances. It is profoundly humbling to hear God speak his direction into my thoughts. When I choose to act on his words, I often realize that the Almighty God spoke into my life to call me to his purpose.
God really does speak “well nigh incessantly” just like Frederick Faber said. His answers come with his grace and his understanding. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Isaiah 30:21. I discovered it almost three decades ago through my personal study of God’s word. I needed to know when and how to hear the voice of God in my life. I rarely take the time to offer that verse in the full context. But consider the passage so you can know that “your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying . . . .”
Isaiah promised the nation of Israel and God’s people today:
For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!” (Isaiah 30:19–22).
That is a long passage, but this is the “Janet Denison” rewording of those verses because of the way they have come to be God’s truth for me whenever I need to “hear” the Word of God speak. I would write this passage to you this way:
One day, every Christian will dwell in heaven and never shed another tear. Until then, know you have a gracious God who hears every word you cry out to him. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.
God will allow you to endure adversity and affliction on earth, but the Holy Spirit of God, the Presence of Jesus, is there to guide you through each moment. You can see him if you will search for him. You can hear him if you will listen. You will hear God speak to you in your quiet moments of worship or as random thoughts that aren’t random at all.
God will most often speak straight from the pages of Scripture. God will tell you, “This is the way, walk in it.”
And, when you realize the God of the Universe has spoken, you will throw away or submit the lesser things that might influence your choices and trust what you know is the true answer from God from the leadership of his Spirit.
Word of God speak
If you need to discern the voice of God, stop, study, and listen until you do.
Pray without ceasing and give God the quiet attention his answers deserve.
How do you start?
I’d advise you to begin with one of my favorite worship songs, “Word of God Speak,” then move to a careful study of Isaiah 30. Listen and read prayerfully and hear God’s voice guide you to the verses that constricted your soul and spoke to you. Live with that truth and then adjust your life to obey.
That is how God speaks and how he directs our path.
Trust him to know what is best and God will say, “Here is the way. Walk in it.”