Hearing God for yourself is one of the most important spiritual muscles that believers should build. In John 10:27, Jesus says, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. This means hearing God comes from a place of intimacy in our relationship with Him. Those that belong to Him can consistently hear God for themselves. This doesn’t mean that God cannot speak to unbelievers, no, His desire is that no man perishes but all come to the glory of God.
A story is told of a man of God who met his demise after being deceived by an old prophet of God from Bethel. To summarize this story, this man of God had been assigned to speak against idol worship during the reign of King Jeroboam. God gave this prophet from Judah one instruction, not to eat or drink anything in that land. King Jeroboam invited him to his home, but he refused.
Next, when the old prophet heard he was in town, he went after him and invited him to his home. Again he reiterated what God had instructed him saying, ‘ For I was told by the word of the Lord, You shall not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way that you came. ‘ But the old Bethel prophet lied to him and answered, ‘ I am a prophet also, as you are. And an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied to him.’ 1 Kings 13:17-18 AMPC
What happened after that is the premise of this message. The bible tells us that, ‘ So the man from Judah went back with him and ate and drank water in his house. And as they sat at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who brought him back. Surprisingly the same prophet who had lied was still used by God to speak
It says, and he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, Thus says the Lord: Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command which the Lord your God commanded you, But have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which the Lord said to you, Eat no bread and drink no water–your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.
And after the prophet of the house had eaten bread and drunk, he saddled the donkey for the man he had brought back. And when he had gone, a lion met him by the road and slew him, and his corpse was cast in the way, and the donkey stood by it; the lion also stood by the corpse.’ 1 Kings 13:19-24 AMPC
A man claiming to be hearing God in that moment, brought about destruction of another. This story reminds us of the following about the dimension of hearing God:
Spiritual gifts can be manipulated and used for deception
Just because someone is in leadership, does not mean they cannot be manipulated and used by the enemy to deceive, no matter how gifted they are. Some people in the body of Christ have mastered their gift to the point where they have used it for personal gain. You need to be very careful.
Leaders are there to help us become who God has called us to be. I say this respectfully, their word is not always the end-all of God’s communication with us. God desires intimacy with us. Let not you hearing from God be summed up by a bible study, or church service. There are deeper realms of hearing from God.
Test every prophecy when hearing God
Understand how spiritual gifts operate and what kind of fruit comes from them. Also, intimacy with the Holy Spirit allows us to discern deception, even from believers that confess to be hearing God about your life. Not everything good is from God. Just because its accurate doesn’t mean the spirit of prophecy is of God.
Remember the woman who prophesied by divination? This is why you have to avoid consultation of palm readers, fortune tellers because at the root of the prophecy is an exchange. Whilst everything said may be true, association with evil gives the enemy access into your life in the area he has spoken over. When some speaks prophetic words by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we should remember that these are God’s words. Therefore, they are reflective God’s character and nature. The bible tells us that prophecy is designed to bring edification, exhortation, and comfort to the hearer.
God is a Father
At the foundation of hearing God we need to understand that God is a Father and His desire is to talk to us directly as His children. The only time He may reach out to you through His other children is when your relationship is broken. However, His desire is to speak to you personally.
We have been given the Holy Spirit to reveal the mysteries that God has hidden from the foundation of the earth. So you have to be very careful when someone comes to you giving you advise about your life when they are not walking in God’s will. Even if they are, like we have discovered with the old prophet, people will deceive you, use their own agendas to get their way or can be used as agents of the enemy to destroy your calling.
Sometimes personal encounters have become doctrines. Systems and rules within the body of Christ have becomes hinderances to hearing God. This has led to a lot of deception in the church as explained in this scripture: ‘ These people draw near Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far away from Me. So for the sake of your tradition (the rules handed down by your forefathers), you have set aside the Word of God [depriving it of force and authority and making it of no effect]. You pretenders (hypocrites)! Admirably and truly did Isaiah prophesy of you when he said: Uselessly do they worship Me, for they teach as doctrines the commands of men. [Isa. 29:13.]’ Matthew 15:6-9 AMPC
There is no reason why God would want to hide things about our lives from us. He desires to communicate with us often. Prophecy or messages should come as confirmation to what God has already said to you. Take the time to pray on a word that you get through another believer, and be sure to listen in from God for His direction. Check to see if a prophetic word aligns with God’s word, and whether it brings peace and joy.