“My sheep hear My voice…” (John 10:27).
We must hear the voice of the Lord – the Word without the voice does not carry with it the power to obey. In that sense it is like the sign that signifies a speed limit; it is a word of authority but has no power within itself to make man obey.
The Word of God coming from the voice of God is different; the only power to obey is in the presence of God and His voice speaking to us; it is the Word of a Living God who must speak for Himself, if His word is to exert its divine power in us and bring forth the obedience for which it was sent.
This is why most Christians prefer to hear the Word of God from the voice of men; it carries no authority with it and can safely be ignored. For this reason, the Jews preferred Moses to speak to them rather than God;
“You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die” (Exodus 20:19).
As a result, Moses, who heard God’s voice directly, obeyed God and Israel, who didn’t hear God directly but only through the man Moses, didn’t obey. And it is written that God showed Moses His ways but to Israel, only His acts; therefore God said;
“They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways” (Psalm 95:10).
Hebrews 3 tells us that, as a result, Israel could not enter into His rest, and the generation with Moses perished in the wilderness. It all began with refusing to hear from God and preferring to hear from men. Of such as these, Paul wrote that their faith rests on the wisdom of men and not in the power of God. The power of God is not in the wisdom of men but in obedience to God. Human wisdom and human will, no matter how strenuously applied, cannot command the power of God’s voice to bring about obedience in man.
How do we hear from God? God has promised that His sheep will hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27). So that is the place to start; with prayer to God reminding Him of this undertaking given by Jesus. We cannot hear His voice by our own efforts; they must fail; it is only God’s holy presence, consciously and continually experienced that can keep us from disobeying Him. Jesus learned obedience and so must we – in the same way of laying down our self life and our self will. It is only unbroken fellowship with God that will enable us to hear His voice and only hearing His voice directly will give us the power to obey. That is what Jesus had.
Of Jesus it was prophesied; The Lord God has opened My ear” (Isaiah 50:5) and; “Sacrifice and meal offering Thou hast not desired; My ears Thou hast opened” (Psalm 40:6).
As He expects from us the same obedience as Jesus, it follows that He will also open our ear as we abide in His presence, as Jesus did. Jesus Himself tells us that if any man is willing to do God’s will he will know the way (John 7:17). It is His job to speak and ours to hear; but to hear we must be in the holy presence; then will we hear the holy voice and our hearts will be stirred to obey.