It has always been God’s design for all mankind to hear His voice for themselves. As we see in Genesis 3:8 “And they heard the voice of the Lord walking in the garden”, God’s voice was heard by Adam and Eve. In fact, this passage actually implies that they walked and talked with the Lord in the garden. Then a couple of chapters later in Genesis 5:24 we hear that Enoch walked with God and not just that but they had such an intimate relationship that it says “God took him”. They walked and talked together until Enoch simply was no longer on the earth, but brought up to heaven to continue their journey together without facing death.
Then we have Jesus, fully God and fully man here on earth, demonstrating how we are to live out this life. He lived out for us what it is to be in complete union with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
“that they all may be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe [without any doubt] that You sent Me.”
John 17:21 AMP
We are designed for hearing the voice of God for ourselves as we walk out this life and onto eternity with Him.
The issue we have, is that our flesh nature is inherently lazy and seeks shortcuts. Because of this, we can easily drift from hearing the voice of the Lord directly (from His mouth to our hearts and even our ears at times) to relying on others to listen and hear for us. I am not saying that the only way we hear from the Lord is directly from Him because part of a mature walk with the Lord is to hear Him in EVERYTHING. In creation He speaks, through other people He speaks, in circumstances He speaks, and directly to us He speaks. What then is essential to our relationship with the Lord? Intentional listening!
Too many times in my life I have passed on my birthright and my greatest gift from God and tried to live on the leftovers from other people’s time with the Lord. Taking what they heard from Him as my only source of “bread” (spiritual food) from heaven.
“But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ””
Matthew 4:4 NKJV
Here Jesus is explaining to the Satan that man was create to “live” off of every word spoken from God. It simply doesn’t work to live off of secondhand revelation. It might get me by for a short while, but ultimately it will lead me to deception because what is life for the one who is listening directly to the voice of God can become death to the one who is trying to eat day old mana.
“This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.””
John 6:58 NKJV
“When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered a large amount had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered according to his need (family size). Moses said, “Let none of it be left [overnight] until [the next] morning.” But they did not listen to Moses, and some left a supply of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul and rotten; and Moses was angry with them.”
Exodus 16:18-20 AMP
The temptation for us today, in an age where information is available to us 24/7 on our phones, tv, computers, and more, is that we can easily be deceived to think that we are hearing the voice of God when all we are really doing is picking up bits and pieces from someone else’s conversation with Him. This is particularly dangerous if we find ourselves in a prophetic community where the word of the Lord is being spoken on a regular basis. It is a wonderful gift to have a word of the Lord come to us through a prophetic word given to us by someone, but if we haven’t first heard from the Lord how can we properly judge the word to make sure it is accurate? It is our job to weigh every word given to us by the Bible (the written word of God) AND confirm it through what He has already spoken to us directly. Otherwise we become no different than the Israelites in the wilderness who when God called them to come and hear Him speak, they instead stayed back and told Moses to hear from God for them asking him to tell them what God had said.
“Now all the people witnessed the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the smoking mountain; and as they looked, the people were afraid, and they trembled [and moved backward] and stood at a [safe] distance. Then they said to Moses, “You speak to us and we will listen, but do not let God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him [that is, a profound reverence for Him] will remain with you, so that you do not sin.” So the people stood at a [safe] distance, but Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.”
Exodus 20:18-21 AMP
One of the saddest things we can ever do is forsake the treasured gift from God himself that is His voice speaking to us His beloved creation. The result is always deadly. Because of the distance between the voice of God and the people, none of them entered into the promised land (except for Caleb and Joshua). We will see in the next section of this post one of the reasons Joshua was able to enter while the rest did not.
“Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise and stand, each at his tent door, and look at Moses until he entered the tent. Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the doorway of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tent door, all the people would rise and worship, each at his tent door. And so the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his attendant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.”
Exodus 33:8-11 AMP
I mentioned before about Caleb and Joshua being the only ones of their generation to enter into the promised land. We find a key reason why Joshua was allowed to enter over all the others right here in Exodus 33:11. While all the rest of Israel watched Moses enter the tabernacle and worshipped from afar, here it says that Joshua stayed inside the tabernacle even after Moses had left. He encountered the presence of the living God for himself and didn’t want to leave, rather he remained. In the presence of the Most High God we are complete and lack for nothing. We receive both an impartation of His divine nature and hear His voice. It also says in 2 Corinthians that where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom].”
2 Corinthians 3:17 AMP
It also says in the Psalms that in His presence there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Psalms 16:11 NKJV
Knowing that the voice of God leads us to life and His presence contains fullness of joy, freedom, and pleasure without end, how then would we ever want to settle for anything less? Moses understood this as one who knew both His voice and presence and because of this intimate relationship with His creator He told the Lord plainly that if His presence doesn’t go with them into the promised land than he has no interest in going there at all.
“Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.”
Exodus 33:15 NKJV
It is not enough just to hear the voice of God. We must also know His presence, abide in His presence, remain in His presence. The original intent for humanity as purposed by our creator God was for us to walk with Him AND to talk with Him at all times. What was lost in the garden through Adam and Eve’s sin was restored at the cross and resurrection of Jesus. Now that we have the ability to return to our original design we have no reason to settle for anything less. There is no comparison for the real thing! The habitation of the King of Glory within us is the incredible reward of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross that became ours the moment we were saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Anything less is to settle for temporary visitation, which was exactly what was available under the Old Covenant before Jesus came and established a new and better covenant. So, come, let us fix our gaze on the Lord to dwell in His presence through the habitation of His spirit within us and from this place let's intently listen to His voice and experience the fullness of all He has intended for us both now and forevermore.