Speak, LORD, for your servant hears…

9Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

1 Samuel 3:9-10

To begin with, does The Lord still speak in our time?  Yes, He does; in fact, He has never stopped. In the introductory words of the epistle to the Hebrews, the writer states that The Lord has always maintained an active communication with man of all times, and assures that He, and we quote, has spoken many times and in many ways in another time;[1] this knowledge might be novel to those who are used to understand that what The Lord had to say, He already said, and there is nothing more to add; however, since we are moved by the purpose of teaching that the nature of The Lord is to create, and that even He continues to create,[2] we pose the following question to introduce us with it to the subject of The Lord’s messages to contemporary man, in what ways has The Lord spoken? The Lord has spoken sometimes by prophets,[3] sometimes by dreams,[4] sometimes by the “signs of the times“,[5] and sometimes by the Spirit of Truth who establishes occasion and time for everything.[6]  The Lord has always spoken and communicated precise instructions to whole peoples, and at other times, to particular individuals.

So, it is not a question of demonstrating that The Lord speaks, but rather of seeking the reasons why there are believers who have never ‘heard’ the voice of the Lord. We will study the conditions that regulate whether someone ‘hears’ the voice of The Lord.

Hearing the voice of the Lord is not only a matter of spiritual sensitivity; it is heard by those who act according to the Truth, and indeed by those who are willing and able to hearing to His voice.

Spiritual sensitivity and discernment

The first, and perhaps the most outstanding condition of all, is the spiritual sensitivity that the person has to ‘discern’ the voice of The Lord. It is not that The Lord does not speak, but that there are those who do not understand that The Lord is speaking to them.[7]  The purpose in The Lord of ‘speaking’ to a people or a person is to correct their behavior and to lead them to develop righteousness in the integrity of Truth.

What is spiritual sensitivity and discernment? How is it defined? Spiritual sensitivity is not a gift, to the surprise of many, it is the ability in the spirit that each one can develop to ‘tune in’ to the obedience of instruction, everything begins with an instruction; the following texts clearly establish this:

And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.

Jeremiah 25:4

But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.

Zechariah 7:11

Note how both texts emphasize the attitude of not tilting the ear to hear, and even, in the second text, of covering the ears not to hear.

In that sense, spiritual sensitivity and discernment is an exercise, it develops from man’s decision to follow instructions; this is what Jesus referred to when he established the teaching: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”.[8]   Jesus was thereby establishing, to paraphrase, that whoever wants to attend to instruction must obey it. Hearing does not mean listening, it means obeying and acting. When the man and woman decide to ‘obey’ the instruction, and follow it, the decision establishes the basis of spiritual sensitivity, and from there the ability to discern is developed, not before.

The subject of spiritual sensitivity is presented in the Scriptures under the term ‘discernment’,[9] and consists of the ability to distinguish between good and evil, and between the holy and profane; it is the spiritual capacity to stand without fluctuation before events where there is apparently a divine manifestation,[10] and to determine when The Lord speaks, and when The Lord has not spoken. The apostle John presents it as the ‘testimony’ that the heart gives about the things that are part of the believer’s daily life, to know how to distinguish between what is from The Lord, and what is not from Him.[11]  The apostle Paul defines it as the “guidance” that a person receives from the Spirit to develop his or her life of faith.[12]

As can be verified in all the texts noted, spiritual sensitivity and discernment develops at the will of the person, and depends on his or her ability to follow instructions.

We should not take lightly the fact that The Lord wants to speak to man; His messages are not information for personal use, they are instructions to establish order and life in the regions; the fidelity in attending to His instructions will lead us to develop the dignity to initiate projects of Revelation to awaken entire communities.

Walking in Truth

Walking in Truth is the second condition that regulates one’s ability to hear The Lord.

To walk in Truth is not a life of habits and customs, it does not refer to the moral integrity which religious philosophy preaches; to walk in Truth means to conduct oneself within the express Will of The Lord;

The Psalmist David recognizes in one of his psalms that there is a unique way which contains the Lord’s Will for man, that if man comes to know it he will walk in Truth:

Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.

Psalm 86:11

The prophet Ezekiel is much more precise because he expresses in detail what is the express Will of The Lord for man:

But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, and hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman, and hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; he that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.

Ezekiel 18:5-9

To walk in Truth is to develop the consciousness of establishing no ambiguous word;[13] it is to stand firm in decisions as to faith, and not to allow variation of thought or feeling because of external pressures, even because of persecution;[14] to walk in Truth is not to disguise as righteous that which feeds only pleasure and personal benefit;  To walk in Truth is to renounce all personal planning,[15] whatever man may wish to do for himself under the slogan that it is to serve The Lord, is only the excuse for keeping alive all personal aspiration, The Lord the only thing He needs from us is obedience.

Wanting and being willing to hear the voice of The Lord

Do we really want to hear what The Lord is talking about? do we know the spiritual risks of hearing The Lord’s voice and not agreeing with what He is talking about? On the other hand, what does The Lord speak? what is the purpose of His messages?

To begin with, The Lord does not speak just to ‘inform’, The Lord’s messages to man are not intended to make man aware of what is happening, or will happen; in the account of the serpent’s intervention to bring Adam and Eve into denial of the Creator’s Word, in chapter three of Genesis, the text refers that the argument the serpent used to convince Eve was: ” God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil“,[16] a real and true argument, because in the same chapter it also refers that precisely because of the veracity of such argument is that Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden.[17]  The question that arises here is, why did Adam and Eve have no knowledge of that reality? Why did such an argument dazzle Eve so much? The answer is simple, The Lord is not an informer, He speaks only what is necessary for man and woman to keep doing what they were commissioned to do, man exposes himself to the risk of spiritual death when he looks to ‘other’ sources for auxiliary knowledge; The Lord will tell you what you need to know, what He has not told you is because you do not need it, do not look for it outside of Him.

What does The Lord speak?

  • The Lord speaks to establish demands.

To hearing to The Lord is to be willing to meet His demands.[18]  The Lord’s demands are corrections to man’s walk; The Lord’s first demand is addressed to all mankind, and it consists of the call to repentance, it is the demand to man and woman to repent of walking away from His Presence, and to return to Him:

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:

Acts 17:30

The Lord’s second demand is similar to the previous one, except that it is addressed only to the men and women who know him and have decided to walk under his shadow,

20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; 21 shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

Psalm 44:20-21

And along with this, the demand to stand firm on the vows and promises that man has made,

When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.

Deuteronomy 23:21

There are demands of Holiness,[19] not to spill innocent blood,[20] not to eat blood,[21] to maintain sexual purity,[22]  not to eat food from unclean animals,[23] not to eat meat from dead animals.[24]

In general terms, the demands of The Lord are summarized in the following words:

but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

Jeremiah 9:24
  • The Lord speaks to bring out the hidden facts of people. The judgments of The Lord.

Hearing the voice of The Lord brings to light the hidden facts of people. Many people do not want to hear The Lord’s voice, because their deeds are evil.

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John 3:19-21

The Light manifests everything; only he who is willing to listen to the voice of the Lord can free himself from the bonds of darkness,

But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

Ephesians 5:13
  • The Lord speaks to establish order and healing

Hearing the voice of The Lord brings order to the life of one who is willing to hear; many diseases of man are a product of the disorder under which the person walks,

I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

Psalm 85:8

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

Psalm 46:6

to him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.

Psalm 68:33

In conclusion, the Lord is still speaking, it is man who has not wanted to hear his voice, and as a result of man’s neglect of The Lord’s voice, man has fallen into poverty, sickness, madness, crisis, chaos, disgrace; the demand of the Spirit today is to become friends with him.

For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Psalm 95:7-8

Come now, and let us reason together,  saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Isaiah 1:18

The Lord’s demands are in force for us today, His most important demand is to hear His voice, and not to be forgetful listeners,

Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

Deuteronomy 13:4

 save when there shall be no poor among you; for the Lord shall greatly bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it: only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day.

Deuteronomy 15:4-5

All biblical quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Pastor Pedro Montoya

Twitter: @pastormontoya

[1]     Hebrews 1:1

[2]     John 5:17: but Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

[3]     Nehemiah 9:17: and refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not. Isaiah 30:9: that this is a rebellious people, lying children,
children that will not hear the law of the Lord; Zechariah 7:11: But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.

[4]     Job 33:14-16: 14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; 16 then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,

[5]     Matthew 16: 3: And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? Amos 4:6: And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.

[6]     John 15:26: But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: John 16:13: Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. Ecclesiastes 9:11: I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

[7]     Isaiah 42:25: Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart. Hosea 7:9: Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.

[8]     Matthew 11:15 (13:9; 13:43; Mark 4:9; 4:23; 7:16; Luke 8:8; 14:35)

[9]     Nehemiah 10:28: And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding; Hebrews 5:14: But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Leviticus 10:10: and that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; 1 Kings 3:9: Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? Job 6:30: Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things? Ezekiel 44:23: And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

[10]   Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Luke 17:23

[11]   1 John 3:20-22:  20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us notthen have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

[12]   Romans 8:14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Galatians 5:18: But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

[13]   Matthew 5:37: But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

[14]   1st. Corinthians 15:58: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1st. Corinthians 16:13: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Ephesians 6:11: Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 1st. Peter 5:9: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

[15]   1 Samuel 15:13-15: 13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord. 14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? 15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.

[16]   Genesis 3:5

[17]   Ditto 3:22: And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:

[18]   The term in Hebrew is דָּרַשׁ (darash), and in Greek is παραγγέλλει (parangeli)

[19]   Leviticus 20:7: Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God.

[20]   Genesis 9:5:And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.

[21]   Leviticus 17:10:And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.

[22]   Leviticus 15:18: The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even. Leviticus 20:18: And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people. Leviticus 18:22: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 20:11: And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:17: And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.  Leviticus 20:15: And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.

[23]   Leviticus 11:8: Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.

[24]   Leviticus 17:15: And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the eve: then shall he be clean.