I felt led to write a post about this subject this morning, and after reading your short note, I decided this should go under the same heading.
I was also much blessed by the Revival Conference message of Dr Stephen Elliott about the importance of hearing and obeying God’s voice. Through my contact with the revival among the Zulus in South Africa over many years, I have learnt the importance of knowing and obeying God’s voice, according to John 10:4 & 27.
But while emphasizing the importance of this, I need also to blow the trumpet of warning (Ezek 33:3-6) concerning this: We do have to be quiet in our hearts before God to be able to hear His voice. But how do we reach this intimate fellowship with God and this inner quietness to be able to hear His voice? Only in one way according to God’s word, the “gospel way”: In 1 John 1 the apostle John shares with us the secret of their fellowship with God, namely walking in the light as God is in the light, and confession of sin. In Gal 6:14 Paul shows us one of the secrets of his life, namely that through the cross the world is dead to him and he to the world, and in Rom 6:10-11 he takes it further, showing that we are “dead to sin but alive to God”. This is the secret, the true way of hearing God’s voice: If through confession of sin we allow God to cleanse us by the blood of the Lamb, and thus to take away that which separates us from Him, and if we are truly dead to the distractions of the world and alive to God, we will be able to hear the voice of God.
There is however a very serious kind of idolatry which has entered the church quietly in the last few years and is leading many astray. It is especially a danger to those like us who desire a deeper fellowship with God and want to be silent before Him to hear His voice: Some have brought Lectio Divina and contemplative prayer into the church and use methods related to eastern meditation to achieve the desired inner silence, for example repeating the name of Jesus or some Bible verse until you have reached the desired state of silence, just as those practising eastern religions make use of a mantra. Making your mind empty of thought so that God can speak His words into your mind (but this opens the way for the devil or demons to do the same, as Jesse Penn-Lewis warned many years ago in the book “War on the Saints”). These practices are very dangerous for the church, because they are taking the place of the true gospel in many churches. (One sees on internet how prevalent this has become, and one can listen to the warnings against it for example Ray Yungen at https://youtu.be/YAKO7CiYohk ). And it seems to be taking the place of the true biblical teaching on how to come into fellowship with God (1 John 1:3).
Others who see the dangers of these practices “throw away the baby with the bathwater” and oppose “listening to God’s voice”, saying that all we need is written in the Bible. Well, all we need IS written in the Bible, but part of that writing is “My sheep hear My voice” and there are many examples in the Bible of what that means, for example in Acts 5:19, 8:26, 13:2 and others mentioned in Dr Stephen Elliott’s message. This true “hearing God’s voice” can only be found if we enter the sheep pen through the gate, John 10:7-9, Jesus Christ and His cross, and then seek the true work of His Holy Spirit, John 7:37-38. So let us seek the “real” with all our heart, but always be careful for that what the enemy wants to plant among us. May the Lord give us discernment!