How to Hear from God1
Last week, I talked about God-given dreams. Have you started dreaming yet? If so…great! If not…why not?! It’s never too late to hear from God about the dreams he’s prepared for you!
Right now, some of you are probably thinking, “Okay, Jeff, I get it. But how do I hear from God?”
Great question! The answer is found in the experience of a man in the Bible named Habakkuk. His story tells us how we should go about hearing from God.
As a Jewish prophet, Habakkuk was responsible for hearing God’s dreams and communicating them to Israel. It was a hard occupation because he lived in a very difficult time. Here’s what was going on…
People from the country of Babylon were conquering everything in sight. Babylonians were well-known for their ruthless tactics. As pagans they despised God and God’s people. In this story we would consider them “the bad guys,” but they were winning the war!
Eventually they seized Jerusalem and ruled Israel.
Habakkuk was really upset about the situation, so he complained to God: “Lord, there’s a whole lot of evil stuff going on and you’re not doing anything about it…”
In so many words God replied “That’s because I have a plan!”
Here’s how the Bible said it:
”I [Habakkuk] will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he [God] will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.”
- Habakkuk 2:1-2 (NIV)
Let’s look at the five things Habakkuk did to hear from God...
Withdraw - Habakkuk climbed into his watchtower because he needed a place to get away for a while. There’s value in changing your location because it changes your view. Jesus did this often.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
- Luke 5:16 (ESV)
You rarely hear from God in the busyness…that’s not the way he spoke in Habakkuk’s day...and it’s not the way he speaks now. You can hear God more clearly when you withdraw to a different place with the intent of hearing from him.
Wait – We don’t like to wait on anything. We have fast food, fast cars, and fast communication. We don’t like to wait, but that’s what it takes to hear from God. Habakkuk withdrew…then he waited…just like Psalm 46:10 says to do:
“Be still and know that I am God.”
- Psalm 46:10 (NLT)
As you’re waiting, ask yourself some questions, such as “What is God doing in my life…my family…my church…my part of the world?” You’ll be surprised as how many times God will speak to you through the answers.
Read God’s Word – You may need to stop listening for a voice and looking for a verse….’cause maybe for you, God has already spoken.
2 Timothy 3:16 says the Bible is God-breathed. It will teach you and inspire you. I believe we need to return to the authority of God’s word. That would clear up a lot of misconceptions and clarify our direction very quickly!
When I started studying God’s Word for myself, I discovered a lot of things I thought the Bible said weren’t there at all. But other things I thought God would never say...are exactly what he said!
Write – We often overlook this critical step. God told Habakkuk to write his words down because people would have a hard time believing what he was going to do.
When you learn God’s dream for you, write some notes! This is important now, and for the future.
Review – What happens when you look at pictures from your past? Some of the same thoughts and feelings you had then come back! I’m sure you’ve had that experience.
Taking a few moments to look back at what God has done will build your faith and refresh your vision. When you review your written dreams, you’ll remember how important they are! Review is really helpful during challenging times, when your dreams become fuzzy.
Now you know what it takes to hear from God! You withdraw, then you wait. You read God’s Word, then you write down the dream…and you review it time and time again. The process is the same today as it was back then…and it works!
I challenge you to try this process…you’ll be amazed at what you discover! And when you do hear, let me know. I’d love to know the dreams God puts in your heart!