Monday, July 25, 2005

Opening Your Heart to the Voice of God

He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your heart.
(Psalm 95:7-8)
The LORD is our God, but He is also our Shepherd. David brought this out very well in Psalm 23. In the New Testament, we see Jesus declaring, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Then He says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

Notice that in Psalm 95, after calling us the “sheep of His hand,” there is an invitation, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your heart.”

Now, notice that the vehicle for hearing the voice of the Shepherd is not the ear, but the heart. Jesus said a number of times, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” but He was not talking about the flaps on the sides of our heads, He was talking about our hearts.

If you want to hear the voice of the Lord, you must open your heart — the core of your being — to receive His Word. Faith comes from hearing the Word, and will be followed up by willing obedience. As James said, “Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). Hearing without obedience is a deception, a hardness of heart.

Our hearts have long been discipled by the world, conditioned to be hard toward the voice of God. But God has given the Holy Spirit as an anointing oil to soften up the hardened heart.

Perhaps you are thinking, “It’s too late. My heart is already too hard to hear. What’s the use?” But I tell you there is something you can do. You can go to the Lord, whatever your condition, confess your heart to Him and ask Him to change it:
  • Father, my heart is hard toward You, but I want to hear Your voice. Please soften my heart.
  • Father, my heart does not even want to obey You, but please come and open my heart to Your words, and give me a heart of joyful obedience.
  • Father, there are things in my life I want to hold on to, even though they keep me from You. But come and change the desires of my heart to line up with Yours.
God will not turn you away. He is ready to come and do a powerful work in your heart and change your life for the better. Listen to His promise:
I know the thoughts that I think toward you, say the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD and I will bring you back from your captivity. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
Open your heart to the LORD and you will hear His voice. He will reveal His heart to you and bring you into the blessing He has prepared for you all along.