A critical aspect of seeing the kingdom of God advance in our day is the ability of God’s people to recognize and respond to the Lord’s voice.
Here’s an excerpt from JESUS SPEAKS: Learning to Recognize and Respond to the Lord’s Voice about misunderstanding the Lord’s voice.
It’s possible to hear the Lord correctly but misinterpret what He’s saying to us. Even the Lord’s own disciples experienced this difficulty when He was on earth.
Jesus made a statement about how Peter would die. Peter then asked Jesus how John would die. The Lord’s response was simple: “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:22).
The disciples misunderstood what the Lord said and started a rumor based on their faulty interpretation of His words. John recorded the incident, saying, “Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple [John] would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?’ ” (John 21:23 nkjv).
The same happens today. We may hear the Lord speak to us, but that doesn’t mean we have interpreted what He’s said correctly. We can unintentionally distort it. The perfection of the speaker (Jesus) doesn’t guarantee the perfection of the hearer.
Consequently, one must seek to understand what the Lord says, especially before acting on or repeating it to others.
As we’ve already pointed out, the Lord in His mercy often speaks to us in unclear ways to allow us the space and time to respond or to seek Him for more understanding. This forces us to grow into His mind, which is so different from ours (Isa. 55:8).
So the Lord’s voice sometimes causes us to struggle to understand, forcing us to exclaim with the psalmist in frustration:
Oh, that You would rend the heavens!
That You would come down!
That the mountains might shake at Your presence. (Isa. 64:1, nkjv)
During such times, the Lord is wanting us to patiently seek Him for wisdom, to get counsel from those who are spiritually mature, and to never move in haste.
All those biblical texts about waiting on the Lord and seeking His face come into play when we strive to avoid misinterpreting the voice of the Lord (Isa. 40:31 nkjv; Ps. 27:13–14 nkjv; Lam. 3:25 nkjv; Ps. 130:5–6, nkjv; Ps. 27:14; Ps. 37:7).
Order JESUS SPEAKS: Learning to Recognize and Respond to the Lord’s Voice on Amazon.