Can You Hear Me Now
For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence firm to the end, while it is said, “Today if you will hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts, as in the rebellion.” For who, when they heard, rebelled? Wasn’t it all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? Hebrews 3:15–16 WEB
When Joshua and Caleb returned to the Israelite camp after spying out the promised land, they encouraged the people to cross the river and begin taking possession of it. But the people gave into fearful reports from the other spies and decided to stone Moses, appoint a new leader, and return to slavery in Egypt. As they gathered rocks to stone Moses and Aaron, the Glory of the Lord descended on the tent of meeting, and He was very displeased (Numbers 14:4-12). God said to Moses: “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?”
This is called “the rebellion”, and it is what the writer of Hebrews is referencing. God told the people to do something, and they said “No.” They heard God’s voice, but they did not take action, and their hearts were hardened. This is a dangerous pattern to fall into.
When the Lord speaks to us, two things can happen:
1) We obey His voice and become more sensitive to the prompting of His Holy Spirit, and it will be easier to hear Him the next time He speaks to us.
2) We choose to ignore Him, and we become hardened and less sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Eventually His word bounces off us like water off a duck’s back.
For example, you may hear a message about “bla bla” and feel convicted, but you brush it off. The next time you hear about “bla bla”, it’s a little less convicting. Soon, when you hear someone passionately preach about “bla bla”, you won’t feel a single thing. You become desensitized to His word, spiritually hardened, and the breakthrough that He wanted to bring about in your life, you may never see. When that happens, is it His fault? No. It is our own. He can lead us to the promised land, but we have to choose to follow Him across the river and not let our fear hold us back.
Whenever we come under conviction while hearing the truth, we must take immediate action, or suffer spiritual loss. If the Holy Spirit is urging us to pray for someone, then we must pray. If He is urging us to give something, then we must give. If He is urging us to encourage someone, then we should encourage them. Our faith is proven by our actions, and we have to do our part for faith without works is dead. Too many today have ignored God’s voice for so long that they can no longer hear Him at all. It is a spiritual deafness.
If God is speaking, we must answer or suffer spiritual hearing loss. If we continue to ignore His voice, we will eventually not hear Him at all. If we practice listening and acting on His words, then we will sharpen our hearing and increase our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. A great oak tree starts as a small seed, and so it is with our faith and our hearing. Practicing will make you better at it.
Jesus spoke a lot about people hearing the Spirit, and He made it clear that not everyone can. A phrase that He used a lot was: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” This is quoted at least sixteen times in the New Testament.
The Pharisees in the Gospel accounts had become so hardened that they could no longer hear God speaking to them, even when He stood right in front of them, face to face. They were spiritually deaf. Jesus said in Luke 8:18 “Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
If you ignore His voice, eventually He will stop speaking to you about it, until you begin listening. He does not waste His time by speaking to spiritually deaf people. Jesus did not spend His time begging the hardened Pharisees to listen to Him. Instead He taught the spiritually thirsty. We can improve our hearing anytime we choose, by simply listening and obeying.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. No matter what has been in the past, we can make a new start today. If God is speaking to us, we must not put off our obedience. It is always the right time, to do the right thing.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray that You give me another chance at hearing Your voice. Help me know when You are speaking to me, and give me the grace to obey, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
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