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-- © GodSpeak International 1998 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org > --

Author: Jim Paul <jimpaul1@iprimus.ca>
EastGate Christian Fellowship [http:// www.eastgatefellowship.com]
Editors: Teresa Seputis, Al Vesper

Prophetic-School MiniTraining Series

Growing In The Prophetic: The Listening Stance

(A four part teaching series on the foundational role of "listening to God" as it relates to the gift of prophecy. These articles will have some excerpts from my recently published book "Prophecy in Practice", by Monarch Books, Crowborough, UK.)

Course 2 -- Part 4

Obstacles to Listening

In our growth as prophetic people, we need to apply the old football axiom -- "the best offense is a good defense". One of the best ways to get on the revelatory "highway of heaven" is to deal with our own obstacles to the listening process.

In my own struggle to hear God's voice, I have identified four obstacles that have been in my way. These seem to be rocks of offense for many who wish to mature in the prophetic. I'm sure there are many more obstacles or stumbling blocks that you could identify. Why not at the end of this article take some time and search out more rocks in the way of His voice?

  1. The Obstacle of Misunderstanding
  2. The crowds experience in John 12:28-29 is all too common when it comes to really hearing God speak. After Jesus announced His soon coming death a voice from heaven said "I have glorified it and will glorify it again". The crowd that was there heard it and said that "it had thundered"! It wasn't thunder. They misunderstood the voice of God. This misunderstanding seems to be repeated down through the centuries - that is that God's voice is loud, brash and thunder like.

    As we become quiet before the Lord we carry out the admonition of Scripture to "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (Ps 46:10).

    Isaiah encourages us to listen for God's quiet, gentle voice with our spiritual ears: "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it' (Isa 30:21). The prophets seemed to hear God's voice in their hearts. A passage in 1 Kings recounts how, in the midst of great personal distress, Elijah heard God (1 Kings 19:11-13). God asked him to stand on a mountain while He passed by. First "a great and strong wind rent the mountains and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord," but says Elijah, the Lord was not in the wind.

    Then, came an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord wasn't in the fire. Finally there came "a still small voice." Elijah recognized God in that voice. When he heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went to the mouth of the cave. The voice said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" Elijah's soul was powerfully touched when God spoke to him through that gentle inner whisper.

    We must learn to listen to His "still small voice" and stop waiting for thunder.

  3. The Obstacle of Impatience
  4. Prophet Habakkuk could teach us a thing or two about listening to God. One sure lesson would be on the danger of impatience. "I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me" (Habakkuk 2:1a). In the very next verse we read that the Lord replied to His waiting prophet. We don't know the length of time that transpired between these two verses. All we know is that God speaks to those who wait for Him.

    Moses was no stranger to the voice of God. He spoke continually with the Creator. However one time he had to wait six days before God spoke to Him on the mountain. Six days, just think about that for a moment. Impatience could be the greatest enemy to a prophetic person. We want God's word "now" and He says wait six days.

    Prophet Daniel also learned the secret of waiting on God. Daniel 7:1,9,11,13 says that "I looked... I kept looking..." This looking was a 21 day process while the archangel Michael fought in the heavenlies to bring revelation.

    Lamentations 3:25-26 has the answer. "The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord". The process is better than the release of God's voice. On a trip to some distant city, the journey is more important than arriving at the destination.

  5. The Obstacle of Fear
  6. There was a great opportunity offered the people of God at the foot of Mount Sinai. The Lord came down and spoke to them from the mountain. The scriptures say that they feared this encounter with God and His voice. "Speak to us yourself (Moses) and we will listen; but do not have God speak to us or we will die" (Ex 20:19).

    Some of us have a similar experience of fear. Either we fear our own worthiness to hear God, or we discount what we hear as coming from God. Of course there are several sources of understanding or insight - the word, the flesh, the devil, our own minds, and the Lord.

    1 Thess. 5:20-21 says "Do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything, hold on to the good". We have the task of testing His voice. But that process should not bind us in fear and keep us away from personal life changing revelations.

    Paul the Apostle goes on to counsel us in Romans 12:6 "We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith." Peter was no stranger to fear. He adds this wise counsel in 1 Peter 4:10-11: "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God". If the Lord is giving you a revelation to share with someone, don't let fear steal that word away from you. It's your Father seeking to speak life to one of His children.

    David said from his own experience that "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him". We should fear the Lord and as a result receive revelations from Him and not the reverse.

  7. The Obstacle of a Lack of Passion
  8. God's voice at times is distant to us because we don't want it enough. The Lord speaks to this issue in Proverbs 2:3-5. "If you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."

    There are times when passion is the only answer to getting through to God. The early church lifted their voice together and cried out when they were told that the Apostles were not allowed to speak of Jesus in Acts 4:24.

    Only spiritual hunger will overcome this obstacle. Jesus said "blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled" (Mt.5:6).

Go ahead and make your own list of obstacles to hearing His voice that have been in your way. Do something about them, obey, intercede, repent and then get ready for His river of revelation!

[Please Note:
This is intended as a discussion series. Please feel free to send your discussion (comments or questions) to prophetic-school@godspeak.net. We will have online discussion each week, MC'd by Jim Paul, the author of this series. These discussions will NOT be put on the course WWW page.

Also, please note that some of the course discussion may be moved from the prophetic-school list to the extended discussion list (email-activation@godspeak.org).]

-- © GodSpeak International 1998 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org > --

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