Hollywood has produced many creative versions of what talking with God might look like. Such movies as the 1977 comedy “Oh God!” starring George Burns appearing as God to a supermarket manager Jerry Landers, (John Denver). Jim Carrey talked with God in the 2003 movie “Bruce Almighty” with Morgan Freeman playing God and then Freeman appeared again in the sequel “Evan Almighty”. “The Ten Commandments” (1956) staring Charlton Heston had the most biblical portrayal of God’s voice coming from a pillar of fire and a burning bush.
There’s a lot of mystery around how someone hears God’s voice. Unfortunately, most of the movie portrayals of people hearing God’s voice take extreme creative liberty or depict a psychotic character.
As Christian leaders, we want to hear God’s voice. Tough decisions surface every day and we long for divine direction in the choices we have to make. In the Old Testament, Samuel learned how to hear God:
Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel! And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:7-10 NLT)
Without trying to address all the theological implications around hearing the voice of God, let me just say there are some basic principles in this passage that can help guide us a Christian leaders.
First: Seek out godly mentors who have followed faithfully after God for a long time. They will have fruit in their life and leadership that has been produced through wisdom and discernment.
Second: When you are not sure what to do, pursue wise council from those godly mentors in your life.
Third: You have to be still and willing to listen. Start with the simple prayer, “speak Lord, your servant is listening”.
We have two amazing advantages over Samuel when it comes to hearing the voice of God. We have the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to guide us in His truth. Begin there. God’s voice will always be consistent with His written word because what we read is what was spoken by God to the writers of the Bible.
Take time today to meditate on God’s word and be still, you are in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to reveal His truth to you, seek wise council and begin hearing God’s voice.