Why do so many of us fail to hear what God is saying?
We want to know His will for us, but we cannot perceive Him speaking to us. Like David, we pray, "O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest" (Ps. 22:2).
Why can't we hear His voice?
One significant obstacle is that we often consider the act of listening
to be a passive experience
—we assume we can simply sit and absorb what is being said.
Good listening, however, is an active endeavor,
involving both attitude and action.
We will have difficulty listening if we come to God with uncertainty, doubting that He is going to speak.
Instead, we are to approach God confidently and expectantly,
anticipating He will communicate with us.
Such an attitude expresses our faith and
demonstrates we believe His promises.
Another problem is disobedience.
God instructs us, but we do not like His answer.
Perhaps we want more information
before we step out in faith (Judges 6:36-40).
Maybe the Lord is commanding us to release something
that is important to us (2 Sam. 12:13-23)
or directing us to act in a way
that is terrifying, challenging, or unpleasant (John 1:1-3).
Either way, we want Him to change His mind and plan.
The prophet Jeremiah repeatedly reminded his people
that although God had been speaking to them,
they refused to hear Him.
"I spoke to you in your prosperity,"
the Lord declared through the prophet,
"but you said, 'I will not listen!'
This has been your practice from your youth,
that you have not obeyed My voice" (Jeremiah 22:21).
We often have the same problem.
The Lord may be speaking to us,
but we've blocked Him out.
However, we must repent of our faithlessness and disobedience
and immediately do whatever He's commanded.
Sometimes God is silent simply to build our faith
and relationship with Him.
Sometimes He withholds information
until we are prepared to pay attention
and obey Him—
trusting even when we cannot hear His voice.
In such instances, we're told,
"Cease striving, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).
We must approach the Lord with an attitude
of patience and confidence (Ps. 40:1)
and listen for Him actively.
Colossians 3:16 says,
"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,
with all wisdom."
In other words, as we read and meditate on Scripture,
we are to humbly and submissively
allow the truth of His Word
to penetrate deep within our hearts
and overflow to our actions.
We must come quietly to Him
and allow Him to do the talking.
While there is nothing wrong with keeping a prayer list,
a devotional time ought to include
more than just a litany of requests.
We should take time to hear what God says to us.
Pastor Stanley closes by saying:
Keep on listening attentivelyand prepare to submit towhatever the Lord tells you.Your heavenly Father will speak,and when He does, He will bless you greatly.
see page 410
Charles Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible