Hearing God

This is Where God Speaks to You about Everything

And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. Exodus 25:16-22; 37:7

CaptureWith over 800 verses dealing with the Tabernacle, and the Bible declaring it was modeled after the one in heaven, I think we can conclude that God is trying to communicate something important to us. In fact, I believe this is where the believer can enter the “sweet spot” of Christianity; that is if they are willing. It is here, in this place, where we will find the answers about life. As one of the most overlooked road maps in the Bible, our book The Inner Journey helps believers understand the 3 stages of spiritual growth described in the Tabernacle. This journey leads to a place the Lord is beckoning all of us to reach. Today this “meeting place” takes place inside our soul, in the Spirit. Everything that touches our lives presents an opportunity for us to access this holy place. Be encouraged, over time, God will come into focus. This is the place where God communicates with us, here on earth…about everything!

In summary, in the third level of spiritual growth we see the Ark of the Covenant or box containing the Ten Commandments of God, where He “lays down the Law”, even writing them in stone. Here sin is judged by a sin-hating God. Yet on top of the Ark of the Covenant we see the Mercy Seat and two cherubim, the merciful side of God. Covering the Mercy Seat we see something red and astounding. We see blood all over the place, but not just the blood of bulls and sheep. This is in reality, Jesus’ blood. Jesus presented His blood in the temple in heaven at His ascension in Hebrews 9:24.

Notice that God doesn’t do away with the Law written on stone tablets. He doesn’t explain away and remove or diminish the parts of the Bible like some in the liberal side of the Church tend to do. Also notice the mercy and forgiveness He offers us through His shed blood. He doesn’t categorize certain sins as unforgivable as some in the conservative side of the Church tend to do.Ark

The In-Between Place

Furthermore we see God speaking to us from above (the box) the Law and the Mercy seat, from between the two gold cherubim. These guarding cherubim protect the parameters of the conversation. These two cherubim were hammered out of one piece of gold so they would face each other and the Mercy Seat.  This shows us that God speaks to us about an issue when we are “hammering things out” face to face, over His throne of Law and Grace.

God speaks somewhere between and above Law and Mercy. We need to pay close attention here. . This is where our solutions will be found! Seeing Jesus shedding His blood, suspended between heaven and earth, gives us a picture of how expensive and precious this in-between place is.

Not the Middle Ground

It is also important to note here, we are not talking about the “middle ground” but the “in-between” place. This isn’t about being a moderate. The Spirit of truth speaks to us within these Biblical parameters. Like playing a guitar, the music may require a different movement between the bridge and tuning keys. It may be necessary to lean to one side or the other periodically. This is where the binary thinking of unregenerate humans often miss potential solutions because they are looking for a black or white, either or scenario. Yet we serve a “trinary” God, Who speaks from the Law and Grace as well as from the in-between places. It’s not your way, or my way, its Yahweh.

Contrasts – God’s Tool to See and Hear in the Spirit

ContrastTo help illustrate this we’ve included 24 Biblical contrasts found in the Scriptures. It seems in order for the Lord to communicate eternal spiritual truths from His dimension, He has to use parables or juxtapose contrasting examples to lead us to the in-between places where He speaks. This is where the Lord seeks to teach us to discern between the Good & Evil, the Holy & Unholy, the Clean & Unclean and the Right and Wrong. (Leviticus 10:10; Ezekiel 22:23-26; Hebrews 5:12-14).

24 Biblical Contrasts

  1. Tree of Knowledge & Tree of Life – Genesis 2:8-17; 3:1-24
  2. Cain & Abel – Genesis 4:1-15
  3. Abraham & Lot – Genesis 26:27-32; 12:1-9; 13:1-18; 14:1-24; 19:1-38
  4. Ishmael & Isaac – Genesis 16:1-15; 17:1-27; 18:1-15; 21:1-21
  5. Abraham & Isaac – Genesis 22:1-19
  6. Esau & Jacob – Genesis 25:20-34; 26:32-35; 27:1-46; 28:1-22
  7. Jacob & Israel – Genesis 32:1-32; 33:120
  8. Joseph & Brothers – Genesis 37-50
  9. Joshua/Caleb & 10 Spies – Numbers 13:1-33; 14: 1-38
  10. Saul & David – 1 Samuel 1-8 – 2 Samuel 2
  11. Israel & Judah – 2 Samuel; 1 Kings – 2 Kings
  12. Righteousness & Justice – Psalm 89:14
  13. Mercy & Truth – Psalm 25:10; 61:7; 85:10; 86:15; 89:14; 100:5; Prov. 3:3; 16:6; 20:28
  14. Wise Builder & Foolish Builder – Matthew 7:24-27
  15. The Four Soils – Mark 4:1-20
  16. Five Wise Virgins & Five Foolish Virgins – Matthew 25:1-13
  17. Martha & Mary – Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-44
  18. Prodigal Son & Older Brother – Luke 15:11-32
  19. Sheep & Goats – Matthew 25:31-46
  20. Moses & Jesus – John 1:17; Romans 2-8; Galatians 3; Hebrews 8:1-13; 10:1-4
  21. Barabbas & Jesus – Matthew 27:15-26
  22. Hagar & Sarah – Galatians 4:21-31
  23. Christ & Anti-Christ – 1 & 2 John
  24. Harlot & Bride of Christ – Revelation

Why Does it Seem like God is Hiding from Us?

HidingAs we read the Bible it seems as if God regularly appears to the saints of old. By the time we get to Israel leaving Egypt God is showing up almost daily to these wandering Jews. But as you read on it wasn’t all that great for God or His people. Just as God found it nearly impossible to live among sinful people, the Israelites found it nearly impossible to live with a holy God in their midst. They even turned down the opportunity to talk to Him, preferring Moses meet with God on their behalf (Exodus 21:19). We see that even though God dwelt in their midst in the Tabernacle, fed them daily with Manna, led them by a cloud and pillar of fire, executed instantly those who rebelled, and gave them a meticulous code of ethics called the Law, they still lacked faith and obedience…which is what God was looking for in the first place. Their true condition made it virtually impossible to be near God. Some kind of greater work or transformation needed to be done to their souls.

Even those of us who want God to reveal Himself with supernatural signs and wonders must admit that the fireworks of Moses, Elijah and Elisha were just a blip in Israel’s history that produced little lasting faith. We submit that the miracles in Egypt, the supernatural victories during the wars of Israel, the awesome ministry of Elijah and Elisha, and the signs and wonders of Jesus and His disciples had more to do with them dispossessing the power of the Devil than trying to prove God’s existence and create faith in God’s people. Jesus Himself even said in Matthew 16:4, “a wicked and adulteress generation seeks after a sign.” In effect He was saying, “You won’t be faithful to me unless I give you an incentive to be faithful.” Try telling that to your spouse and see how long your marriage will last.

You see, when God tried to reveal Himself, He was often misunderstood in the eyes of a sinful people. Sin keeps us from seeing God with eyes that can behold and understand Him as He truly is.

His Presence Would Overwhelm UsHiding 2

God also seems to limit His exposure to us so as to not influence our behavior in His favor. Take the story of Job for example. God didn’t sit down with Job and explain the existence of a terrible Devil who desired to destroy him, although most scholars believed the ancients knew of the Devil from the oral traditions passed down from Adam. God simply allowed Job to be free to respond to his circumstances according to his own will. God gave Himself no advantages.

Philip Yancey says it like this, “The gambler would say God stacked the deck against Himself. The cynic would say the Creator is taunting and toying with His creation”. But only an all-knowing God truly knows the delicate balance between revealing Himself and holding Himself back in order to produce true obedience in the heart of the believer. Remember, God has had a plan from the foundation of the world that we free-will, yet sinful humans would stand before Him blameless and in love. (Ephesians 1:14). Somehow He will make us blameless and we will truly and freely love Him.

This seeming unwillingness for God to reveal Himself fully to us can be better understood in a story told by one theologian about a King who was in love with a humble maiden. Yancey quotes the story about a King in love.

The King of the Universe Falls in Love

“There once was a King like no other King. Every statesman trembled before his power. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty King was melted by love for a humble maiden.

loveHow could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his very Kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist — no one dared resist him. But would she love him? She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know? 

If he rode to her modest forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving their bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget he was a King and she a humble maiden and to let shared love cross over the gulf between.

The King, convinced he could not elevate the maiden without hurting her and crushing her freedom, resolved to descend. He clothed himself as a beggar and approached her cottage incognito. It wasn’t just a disguise but a new identity he took on. He renounced the throne to win her hand.” (Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God. Zondervan 1988 p.103, 104).

This love story gives new meaning to the following Scripture.

Who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:68

During the Old Testament, anytime God appeared to man He would have to tell those He was speaking to, to “fear not”. Through Jesus, anybody could walk right up to God Himself, shake his hand, walk right on by, or spit on Him. The humiliation God has gone through to relate with us and reveal His love for us is staggering to comprehend.

As much as we want God to reveal Himself in a big way, through signs and wonders, we should remember “The Big Picture”. Our God wants genuine love from us because of who He is, not because of how powerful He is. It is really to our advantage that God limits the physical revelation of Himself so that we might choose Him as a person and not His power. It is as we embrace the characteristics of God will we be prepared to meet Him face to face.

Another reason we need to recognize for God’s apparent hiddenness is because He is communicating to a deeper part of our being. He is speaking to us but He speaks in the spirit realm. You can learn more about how He does this here… Be Encouraged, God Will Come into Focus.

Earth is crammed with heaven, and every common bush is afire with God. But only he who sees takes off his shoes. Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Excerpt from “It Really Is God’s Book”

Be Encouraged, God Will Come Into Focus

FocusFor all those who wonder if they will ever hear (or sense) God speaking to them, let me encourage you. God is still speaking, even if it feels like God is hiding. Heaven’s radio station transmits all the time. It does require some fine tuning on our part. Over time, you will gradually distinguish the voice of the Lord from all the other competing voices in your life. You can also discover the place where God speaks about everything.

This process usually takes time because God speaks from realms and in frequencies that the normal, natural you, doesn’t readily discern. In fact the Bible states;

But the natural man does not receive 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

Unsaved and unregenerate human beings fret against the ways of God.

The foolishness of a man twists his way, and his heart frets against the Lord. Proverbs 19:3

Not only are we are not inclined to listening to God but we hide from the truth in His voice. Hear

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. John 3:19-20

However, once we surrender our lives to God through faith in Jesus Christ, a new spirit is birthed in us and we are given the capacity to hear and receive from God. Yet the self-dependency of our natural thinking from birth still governs us most of the time. We will need to be intentional about steering our wagon out of these mental ruts. As time goes by we gradually recognize subtle indications and unctions from the Lord from all kinds of circumstances in our life. We increasingly become aware of coincidences, impressions and confirming words or signs that keep pointing us to a wiser, loving intelligence at work in our life. If we live in a prophetic community this process of recognizing God’s voice is accelerated.

The truth of the matter is we often simply wear out from resisting God’s way of doing things. We become tired of seeing no fruit from doing things in our strength. In our depleted state of resignation we begin to recognize and acknowledge God’s agenda is marching on… sometimes without us. This awakens us to Who is really in charge of our world and we begin to humbly acknowledge the still small voice of God in our life. Another factor that determines the time it takes to develop a hearing or listening ear is that at each step in our walk we have to choose… we have to volunteer to cooperate when the Lord speaks to us regarding the things that are not pleasing to him. It’s as if there are trees and bushes blocking our “inner satellite dish” that need to be removed before we get the full signal. If we cooperate with the Holy Spirit working in our lives, as months and years go by, we hear and see more clearly.

Help From a 400 Year Old Book

If you would like some practical tips to receiving more from the Lord when reading your Bible, you can do yourself a favor by getting a copy of “Experiencing The Depths of Jesus Christ” by Jeanne Guyon, written over three centuries ago. The first 20 pages will radically change how you read your Bible.  Also “Four Keys to Hearing God’s Voice” by Mark Virkler is one of the best resources available to help you tune into the voice of the Lord. The good news is; if you will give yourself to regularly reading and mediating on the Word of God; if you incline and apply your heart to understanding; you will hear the voice of God. The Lord will relentlessly break though every hindrance and barrier in your life, like a plant pressing its way through a concrete sidewalk. You will begin to see and hear God come into focus.

My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5