Jentezen Franklin - An Ear To Hear
I wanna talk to you, just a very simple message, a very instructional message today, about hearing the voice of God, having "An Ear to Hear". The first thing we learn about God in scripture is that God is a speaking God. He is a God of language. He is a God who clothes His thoughts with words. He is a God who conveys His will with His speech. He is a God who gives verbal form to His thinking. In the book of Genesis, our first introduction to God is in Genesis 1, and the third verse of the Bible, "...and God said..." It was the voice of God that walked through the paths of the Garden of Eden. The Bible said, "...the voice of God came walking..."
We have preached it like God came, and He did certainly, but it was His voice that would come walking in the cool of the day and walk through that garden with Adam and Eve. I've told people the reason that it said that His voice spoke in the cool of the day is because anytime God speaks, it's cool. Come on, say amen. On Mount Sinai, the Bible said, "His voice sounded like peals of thunder and the people ran in terror and said, 'Moses, you go hear from God. We're scared of that voice.'" And with the prophet Elisha, "He came as a gentle whisper, a still small voice.'" One translation said like a whisper, "...like a gentle whisper in the ear of the prophet".
John, on the isle of Patmos, heard the voice of God and he said it sounded like the sound of many waters. It was like a thousand Niagaras. It was so strong. So God's voice has nuances. It has highs. It has lows. God has an awesome pitch. He can hit high or he can go low. And if He wants to, with His voice, He can rumble like a thousand Niagara rivers. But if He wants to, He can whisper so softly that you might mistake it for a gentle breeze. But God knows how to speak. His voice is active in the earth today. In the Old Testament, when God would anoint a priest or prophet as His mouthpiece, they would preference their words by saying, "...thus says the Lord". Listen to that, "...thus says the Lord". Why? Because over and over and over, God's trying to get us to have this comprehension that He's a speaking God. He wants to talk. He's always been a speaking God.
Then, at the end of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, there are 600 years of silence. God's voice goes quiet and He will not speak and He backs off. And then, we're introduced to the New Testament with John the Baptist. Listen to the biblical description of John the Baptist. "I'm the voice of one..." Notice the wording, "I'm the voice of one crying in the wilderness..." He wasn't the voice, but he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Why? Because the One he's preaching for has a voice, and he's saying, "I'm His voice. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". In John 1:1, perhaps the most astonishing description of Jesus Christ, "And in the beginning was the Word, and the Word..." Notice the verbal, the Word. "...and the Word was with God and the Word was God". John 1:14, "...and the Word was made flesh".
Notice the description of what Christ was before He took on physical bodily form. He was the Word, the Word. Why? Because God is a communicator. God is a speaker. And He even calls His Son, His Word wrapped in flesh and dwelt among us full of truth and full of grace. God is a speaking God, and even in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, they spoke with tongues as the Spirit gave them the utterance. What is that about? It's, again, God confirming "I speak, I talk, I want to communicate with you".
I see, usually, two extremes when it comes to people hearing the voice of God. There's those on the one hand who pray and they don't ever really expect or take time to even listen to God. They just go pray and they talk, talk, talk and they do all the talking and they really have no expectation of God ever really confirming, or guiding, or speaking to them in any significant way. And then, there's the other extreme of people who say they hear God all the time. God tells 'em where to buy their gas. God tells 'em what kind of cereal. "Don't eat Cocoa Pops. Eat Frosted Flakes". "God told me to". I think the balance is somewhere in the middle. I doubt God's telling you what cereal that you need to eat. You oughtta let your weight tell you that.
Come on, somebody. Why would God waste His Words on stuff like that? But if He's gonna speak to us, He wants us to believe and listen and lean in to hear Him. Usually if you have a speaking problem, it's because you have a hearing problem. People who can't talk plainly can't hear plainly. And you need to focus more on what God has to say than what you have to say. The book of Revelation does not say, "He that hath a mouth, let him talk". The book of Revelation says, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying". "What does His voice sound like, Pastor? What is His voice like"?
Hebrews puts it like this. You have the inner ear, the circumcised ear, one translation said. And that inner ear, that inner voice that will always agree with the Word of God, that will always tell you to do the right thing. There is an inner voice, an inner, circumcised ear, the scripture calls it. And it's almost like God puts in us a GPS navigational system on the inside as believers. And the thing about those navigational systems is they speak to you when you first start out and they tell you what direction to go, but then they go silent. And I hate it when you're on a long trip and they don't say anything for a long ways and you've had a lot of turns and stuff and you're still wondering, "Is this the right... I need you to confirm that I'm doing..." But God seldom repeats Himself.
And sometimes God'll go silent on you, but it's okay because if you miss it, He'll say, "Turn around". And right before the turn, the voice'll come back. And we've gotta grow sensitive to that voice. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying..." So God, one day, comes to Abraham in Genesis 22 and He says, "Abraham, take with you your son, your only son...", a hint of Jesus, "...your only son; take him to a certain mountain that I will show you". Now, I'm giving you direction, but I'm not giving you details. This is how God does it.
Many of you are waiting on God to just drop you a set, an amount, with markings and how your life is gonna be laid out. That is not how God does it. He will give you a certain direction. He will give you steps. The Bible said "the steps". It didn't say the leaps, it didn't say the great, long journey. It said "...the steps of a righteous man..." It's one step at a time. Everything's connected when you hear the voice of God. He says, "Take him to a mountain that I will show you". How would you like for God to uproot you, tell you to take your son, go on a journey; you don't know where you're going. "I'll tell you when you get there". He said, "You're going yonder, to that yonder mountain".
Have you ever read that in Genesis 2? You're going to the mountain that is yonder. I don't need those kinds of directions. I need a clear path of where You want me to go. But God says, "I rarely will give you the specifics". God doesn't give you details. He says, "You walk by faith, not by sight. And it's all about you staying close enough to hear My voice when I tell you to do something. It's not about the destination; it's about the journey. I'm gonna get you to the destination, but you're gonna have to walk with Me. I'm not gonna give you the whole thing so you can take off on your own, but you're gonna need Me for every step of this journey that I'm taking you on that will lead you to your destiny and your purpose. And I'm not gonna let you operate independent of Me. If you wanna do that, then you'll go in circles and you won't get to the high place I had for you. But if you will walk with Me, day by day, I will be the voice that will guide you to your destiny".
God doesn't give you details. He says, "You walk by faith". And if you have too many facts, then you don't have enough faith. And He says, "I'm gonna take you to a place called yonder". Can you imagine Ms. Abraham... "You're going where with my baby? Where are you going with Isaac our son"? "I'm going yonder, just on out there somewhere". What do you mean? Anytime God wants you to do something for Him, He will not give you details because he's not just going to use destination, but the journey to train you to hear His voice. It's not just about where you're trying to go, but the lessons are about you learning to hear His voice along the way. He's training Abraham through a test. He's training Abraham through a trial. And it's all about him hearing the voice of God. "I've ordered your steps, step by step. Take another step. Take another step".
That's how God does it. He's not big on details. He says, "Step into the unknown so I can perform the impossible for you". As long as you are where it's safe for you, in your comfort zone, you'll never experience the supernatural and the impossible. What God's greatest challenge to you and I is, is to hear His voice and to step out of the comfort zone. And as soon as you do, you will confront the fear zone that says, "Get back in the comfort zone. Get back in", because the first zone you have to step out of is the comfort zone. Then you step and immediately you're introduced to the fear zone because you're unfamiliar. You don't know how you're gonna make it. You don't know where you're provision's gonna come from. But God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. And if you will keep going, you'll move from comfort zone to fear zone to victory zone... success zone, destiny zone.
"Abraham," God said, "Go to that mountain". And when he gets to the mountain, He says, "You and your son, go yonder to worship and leave the servants and the donkeys behind". And He says, "While you walk with Me, I'll lead you and I'll guide you. Go to yonder mountain". He doesn't even tell him where it is. Have you ever had God speak to you and you see yourself, and you see and clearly you believe that's where God's called me to go? But what do you do when you know where He's told you to go, but you don't understand where you are? When your word doesn't line up with what He's telling you to do? The question is, can you endure the silence while God is saying nothing? He speaks when it's time to make a turn. He speaks and He's trying to teach you to hear with your inner ear, and the rest of the time you walk by faith. He got to that place that he had to hear God and he took his son and they were three days off, the Bible said... afar off.
"Well, how will you know when you get there, God? I mean, You need to tell me exactly..." He said, "You're three days, go yonder". Well, how will you know? Women have this thing that they understand this point, because women have an intuition when they're shopping. They'll go shopping and a salesperson will come up to them and say, "Can I help you"? And they always say, or at least my wife does, "No, thank you; I'm just looking," which really means, "Leave me alone," in a polite way. But if they're persistent, they will follow you and they will say, "If you would just tell me what you're looking for, I can show you where to go", to which they always say, "When I see it, I will know it".
That's how the will of God is. I don't know how to tell you in so many words, but if you walk with God and He's with you and you're searching and asking Him for His will of what college I should go to or what job I should take or what opportunity I should get involved in and what I should do with my life... All I can tell you is that inner voice will say to you at the right times, on the right steps, "I don't know how I know it, but this is right for me. I have peace about it". And boy, if you don't have that peace, don't do it. There is a place, and God set up trials in Abraham's life so that he would hear the voice in crisis.
Listen carefully. Usually God speaks clearest in dark places. The closer he got to his destiny, the more he had to lose his history. Where God's taking you, you can't take everybody with you. And he says to the servants and the donkeys, "You stay here. We're going there". There are some people that you can't take with you. Dedication requires separation. Don't fight being alone. Don't fight loneliness. Don't fight because that's where you perfect the voice of God. The closer you get to God's will, the smaller the crowd gets. Paul was alone in a jail cell when he wrote the epistles. John was alone on the isle of Patmos when he wrote the book of Revelation. Jesus was alone in the garden when He won the battle over the flesh. Elijah was alone in the cave when he heard the still, small voice of God. It became a whisper, but he heard it when he got alone.
Abraham and Isaac are there and Isaac, he says, "Put the wood on your back and let's climb this hill". And they climbed the hill together, and we think that Isaac is a little child but the truth is he's 17 to 19 years old. If he wanted to resist the father, he could've resisted the father, but he willingly laid down on the altar and when the father built an altar to sacrifice the son, because that's what God told him to do. He told him to take his son up on that mountain. He told him to build an altar, and He told him to kill his son and burn him in a sacrifice unto Him. He said, "Offer me a burnt offering," and he laid the boy down and the boy willingly, he didn't resist the old man who was over 100; he could have resisted. A beautiful picture of Jesus Christ who didn't have to die on the cross, He could've called 10.000 angels, He could've resisted the will of the Father, but He submitted and willingly laid down on the cross.
And Abraham raises the knife at what God has told him to do. And he's about to put the knife in his son's heart and suddenly the voice of God comes a second time, and this is so important, and says, "Stay your hand," stop, don't do this. And all of a sudden, his hand is froze because he's hearing another word. Now, God was the One... "What do You mean, don't do it? I'm doing what You told me to do". "But man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God". It's the proceeding word, and if you don't get the proceeding word, meaning the now word, you will kill your future living off what you heard yesterday. You can't make it off what you heard back then. That's why it's not enough to come to church and hear sermons. You have to read this book so that it will speak to you.
If you will pray, God will speak to you. If you will develop a walk with God, as you walk with God... Because here's the point of the sermon: As His hand is raised... "What do You mean, don't do this, God? You told me to do this". God says, "I don't need your son's blood. Your son's blood can't save anybody. I'm gonna give My own Son's blood. His blood will save". Listen. "It never was about your son". "Well, what was it about? Why did I do all of this"? "It was about your ear. I was trying to develop your ear to hear new direction. Can I trust you enough to give you new direction? Can I trust you enough not to live in the past, that I can change your direction and you will hear Me and you don't care about, you're not so married to your history, that you would kill your future"?
God was speaking, and some of you are killing your future because you've grown deaf to His voice. God already knows who you're supposed to marry. God already knows what you're supposed to do. God knows that you're gonna fail if you do what you think you can do. But He knows your giftings, and the Bible calls it, Paul said, "I press for the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus," meaning this is the highest thing I can do with my life and God has put everything together in me and He's marked the high water mark up here. Now, if I go with God, He's gonna take me to my highest potential. But if I don't, I'm gonna hit down here, down here, down here, down here. But here's where God saw you. But I can't get there leaning on my own understanding. But in all of my ways, I have to acknowledge Him and He will direct my path.
"It's never been about your son, Abraham. It's about your ear. I wanted to know if I could still speak to you under pressure, in a trial, and you hear Me. Because now I know that I've got your ear. Now I know that I can give you fresh instructions and new directions and the next step for your life and you will be bold enough to obey Me. And that's all I ever needed from you. I'll do the miracles. I'll do the multiplication. I'll do the successful things. I'll open the doors. I'll bring the provision. I just need you to hear Me". If Abraham couldn't have heard, he would've killed his future because he couldn't hear the proceeding Word of God.
I'm saying this in closing now. Don't kill your dreams because you've grown deaf to the voice of God. He starts to slay him. God says, "Stop right there. It was never about your son. It was about your ear. I wanted to know if I could hear you". And the Bible said that he untied his son, and here's the amazing thing, when he heard from God, instantly provision came. And he said, "Well dad, what are we gonna sacrifice"? And the Bible said at that moment they heard a ram that was caught in the thicket. His horns were caught in the thicket. The horns are the part that the ram would resist you with, but God tied up all resistance to the resources and provision and had it waiting on...
Listen. God already has all the provision you need to succeed and do well tied up. It can't resist you. It can't get away from you. Nobody can take it. It's there for you. And it's all dependent upon you hearing His voice. Now, I know what I'm preaching about right here 'cause I started out with nothing and I'm telling you we've watched God meet every need of this ministry miraculously, all we've got going for us...
Turn to somebody and say, "My, what big ears you've got". If you will hear God, God'll send you to college and pay for it. If you'll hear God, He'll start that business and you'll succeed. If you'll hear God, He'll help you get a house and you'll pay for it. If you'll hear God, He'll bless your family for generations to come. Somebody shout and praise God for big ears. These young people need to hear. He's still Jehovah-Jireh and He will provide. If you're hearing from Him, the money's already tied up. Isn't that amazing? And what has He already tied up on the other side of your trial, just wondering, "Will you hear Me? Will you move at My Word? Will you walk with Me? Will you stay uncluttered enough and not get distracted that you will stay in tune with My voice? Because if you do everything that you need I will supply".