There are numerous examples of men and women in the Bible who speak with and hear directly from our Lord. It started with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Abraham then gets instruction to sacrifice his son Isaac and Moses is told to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. How about Moses seeing a burning bush and receiving the 10 Commandments? Noah is also told to build an ark because the world will flood. David spoke directly to God throughout his entire life.
Yes, these are examples from the Old Testament, but what about the New Testament? Well, besides Jesus living as a human on Earth for over 30 years and giving us countless instructions to live by, we have other examples like Saul on the road to Damascus when Jesus confronts him and asks “why do you persecute me?”. Saul then becomes Paul and is given clear direction from the Lord to spread the Gospel throughout the world. On and on it goes throughout the Bible, God communicating directly with his loved ones.
What about today? Does God speak to us now? Do Jesus and the Holy Spirit give us personal direction for our lives even on a daily basis? I hear some people say that hearing from the Lord is impossible and that he only spoke to people long ago.
What does the Bible say about Jesus speaking to people?
Check out John 10: 2-5 NIV – 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Jesus is our Shepherd and we are His sheep. What does this mean? Well it says that we listen to his voice and He calls us by name. He knows us personally. He leads us and goes on out ahead of us as our Leader. We, as sheep, follow Him because we know His voice.
How about Revelation 3:20 NIV – Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
If I hear His voice and open the door for Him, then He will join me, even for dinner. Think about how we interact with our closest friends and companions. We get together and “break bread” for intimate and personal conversations about life. Jesus wants to do life with us too.
I believe the Bible is clear on Jesus speaking to us directly. Here is one example in my life where the Lord communicated with me and provided specific instructions on something I needed, but didn’t want to do:
A few months ago, I was driving through the state if Illinois after seeing my son in Chicago for the weekend. On the way home, I felt the presence of God in the car as I drove alone down Interstate 55. You see, this was the location where my life fell apart 18 years ago. I became divorced and also a single Dad raising two children full time after my ex-wife had an affair with the neighbor across the street. It was a traumatic event and my heart was broken at the time. Now, 18 years later, I thought I was past the pain and the need for healing from the divorce. God, however, had other plans for me.
During the drive, I invited the Lord in to my prayer time. After a few minutes, He spoke into my heart and said I needed to forgive the man from this affair. He told me to go to his home and tell this man that I forgive him face to face. Needless to say, I wasn’t excited about this great opportunity the Lord was providing me. I wanted to get home instead of having this conversation. However, I had been asking God to speak to me for weeks prior to this day, so I felt the need to be obedient to His direction, no matter how uncomfortable it would be.
Commentary: Jesus speaks to us today in many ways if we will make time for Him. In my case, I was driving alone in a car where there was no competition from a television, a laptop or even my phone at that point. He wants to be our #1 priority. He knocked and I met Him ½ way by having three hours of quiet time on the road. This type of quiet time, even if for 30 minutes each day, is something we need on a regular basis to hear from Him. Ask Him to join you. Ask Him all of your intimate questions. He will respond if you believe and have faith.
Back to the Story: On the way to the man’s home, I looked for any excuse to drive right on by. What would I say to him? Did he even live in the same home? What if his wife came to the door? On and on the questions came as I battled spiritual warfare on how “stupid” I would look if I showed up at his door. As this battle raged, I became more and more confident, knowing that anything was possible through Him.
So I came to the city where he lived and said “God, you need to make this clear to me if You want me to forgive this man now.” 10 stoplights in town stood between me and his home. I was looking for a red light from God, but all 10 lights turned green just as I approached each one. Point made. I felt Jesus say, “Green means go, so go and forgive this man now”.
I then stopped outside of his home and prayed again asking Jesus to send a sign to move me on past this “opportunity” for character building. No sign came to my dismay. So, I walked up to the door and pushed the doorbell. No response. I hit the doorbell a second time. No response again. Was this a chance to leave? “Knock on the door” is what I heard next.
Commentary: Jesus can speak to us in many ways. Sometimes it is directly to us (not audible words, but a stirring in our hearts). Other times, it might be through another person’s words, or through nature, music, books, poetry and so on. It is very personal when coming from Jesus. He knows the words we need and the manner in which we need to receive it in. In my story this time, I felt His presence and words in my heart.
Back to the Story: I then knocked and the man who had the affair with my ex-wife came to the door. He looked at me in shock with his eyes becoming the size of silver dollars. I shared with him that what he did 18 years ago was wrong and also a betrayal. I told him that God asked me to visit him on that day to forgive and release him from the affair. The man stood there speechless and only grinned. No apology came as he just listened to me. I left that man’s home not needing an apology that day. It didn’t matter what he said or didn’t say. There was healing that was needed in my soul (and maybe his) that the Lord provided to me through an act of faith and obedience. I never felt as strong as when I left that man’s home that day. I could do anything through the power of the Lord. I believe that the Lord gives us what we need, even if we don’t recognize it sometimes. He knew I needed healing and spoke directly into my wounded heart. I am so thankful for His gift of a healed heart and for speaking directly to me on that day (many times).
There is no doubt that God wants to speak to us. We just need to have the ears and desire to hear Him.