Obeying God’s Voice for He is Your Life

All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” (Exod 17:1-4, ESV2011)

And he called the name of the place Massah [testing] and Meribah [quarrelling], because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Exod 17:7, ESV2011)

And Jesus answering said unto him, “It is said, ‘You shall not test the Lord your God.’” (Luke 4:12, KJ2000)

In the preceding passages there is much to be learned when it comes to following the Lord and hearing the voice of His Spirit. The people of Israel in the wilderness were always complaining to Moses about one thing or another. As far as I know there is no record of them taking their petitions to God in prayer. They had no faith in Him as their God, but wanted a mere man to provide them with all their creature comforts. They looked to Moses as their king instead of to God as their Provider. Is it any different today among most professing Christians? Samuel had the same problem with the people of Israel, even after they had entered into the Promised Land.

Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. (1Sam 8:4-5, KJ2000 – emphasis added)

As it was with their ancestors in the wilderness, so it was with this generation. They still had not entered into His rest. They put their trust in men instead of in God. So God gave them Saul to be their king and they languished under his rule. It is one thing to be asking God to act according to the needs and ways of our flesh, but it is a whole different matter to know Him after His ways.

But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. (1Sam 8:6-7, KJ2000- emphasis added)

He made known his ways [his course of life] to Moses, his acts [his doings] to the people of Israel. (Ps 103:7, ESV2011)

We can know God as our provider of worldly things and never know His heart’s desire to know us as His spiritual sons and daughters in Christ. To know His life in us and to hear the voice of His Spirit speaking to us as a friend as Abraham and Moses did (see James 2:23 and Exodus 33:11) is what He really desires for us to walk in. Carnal Christians today, even when they pray, most often seek things from Him to make their natural, temporal lives more comfortable instead of those things which are eternal like a new heart with His laws and desires written upon them. God desires to hear us pray as David did,

​Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. ​Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Ps 51:10-12, ESV2011)

When we have hearts that are longing after the things of this world, we know no rest. Our lives consist of the next pleasure, the next possession, the next lofty position, etc. How often we see a pop music legend end their lives in suicide or from an overdose of drugs. They spend their lives climbing to the top only to find out that there is no happiness in there. How different this is from the Apostle Paul who knew God’s rest in Christ who wrote, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2Cor 12:10, ESV2011). How opposite this is from our human natures.

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it [His rest], and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:6-12, ESV2011)

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Notice that He says, “Today!” How much of our lives are governed by minds that are worried about tomorrow or what happened yesterday? To live in God’s rest is to live by faith in the here and now, one day at a time. And part of living in today is to live by hearing and obeying His voice moment by moment. The one thing that keeps us from hearing and obeying His voice is our hardness of heart. As with Israel we turn a stony heart toward Him as we prefer our own will to His. We live as if we are our own gods. Is it any wonder that our lives are filled with UN-rest? We fail to enter into His rest because we do not believe that He desires what is eternally best for us and choose our own way. “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof is death.”

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life… (Deut 30:19-20, ESV2011 – emphasis added)

To choose God’s way for us moment by moment is to choose life even if it seems uncomfortable and inconvenient at the time.

15 comments on “Obeying God’s Voice for He is Your Life

  1. Michael, this is a very good and thought-provoking article you wrote! ⭐

    I was glad to read how you emphasized the importance of listening to God’s voice TODAY. 🙂 Not what we experienced yesterday, last week, last year, or even thirty years ago can help us in the moment right now UNLESS God makes it alive again. You expressed it so properly here,

    ““Today, IF you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Notice that He says, “Today!” How much of our lives are governed by minds that are worried about tomorrow or what happened yesterday? To live in God’s rest is to live by faith in the here and now, one day at a time. And part of living in today is to live by hearing and obeying His voice moment by moment. The one thing that keeps us from hearing and obeying His voice is our hardness of heart.” (EMPHASIS ADDED)

    I just saw another thing as well. On the one hand, it is the hardened and selfish heart that does not trust in God’s best providence for our life. This is, alas, so true. On the other hand, Scripture says, “Today IF…. you hear His voice…..” It seems to begin even earlier, this state of calamity Christianity finds itself in. As I gazed at the picture you posted on here, I felt I wanted to read Scripture related to it also. Reading 1 Sam 3:9 in context then, I saw that the inability to discern God’s voice properly by an unexperienced spirit of man can be a hindrance, too. Little Samuel was only used to hearing Eli’s voice and as the Lord called Samuel at night three times in succession, he always ran to Eli, thinking it would be Eli who had called him. And even Eli needed some time to get it. 🙄

    I can confirm that when God directly spoke to me in my life before – which did not happen that often – I could have easily confused it with the voice of a human being, esp. in the beginning of my walk with Him. However, as that happened many years later as there was no one around, I knew in my heart it was God who had appealed to me more urgently than usual. I believe as we have come to know God’s voice better and better, we won’t be that confused by it anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks, Susanne. Yes, what you brought out about young Samuel with Eli, the high priest is important as well. As a child he was used to hearing Eli’s voice and not God’s. I think that this is how most of us start out. We trust in a human teacher or priest (pastor) to speak to us for God. But as it was with Samuel, we grow out of that as we turn our hearts to the Lord and start hearing His voice for ourselves. This is a critical juncture in our walks because God often has more to say to us (and even contrary to) than our church leaders do. We often are told by them at this point that the voice we are listening to cannot be trusted and that we have to run everything we hear by them for their scrutiny. If these men are all about themselves and their own agendas their advise will often be opposed to what the Lord is saying (antichrist). This is why John wrote what he did in 1 John ch. 2 about antichrists being among us and that we have no need that any man be our teacher, but the anointing we have been given by the Father will teach us all things and lead us into all truth.

    In this case God told Samuel that he would destroy the house of Eli because of their sins as His priests. Samuel dared to tell that old man what he heard and Eli was more honest in his reply than what I have seen in church leadership in these days when he said, “It is the LORD. Let him do what seems good to him.” There is an old saying, “If you don’t like the message and can’t refute it, attack the messenger.” This is the devil’s ploy to try and get us to not trust in God’s voice or refuse to speak out what He is telling us. At this point so many of us find ourselves as scapegoats in the church world. The leaders lay their hands on us and put their own sins on us and send us out into the wilderness to die. I am so glad that as it was with Elijah in the wilderness, God seeks us out and seeks to have fellowship with us and we continue to hear His voice. It is good to have this fellowship with you, my dear sister, as one who knows what this journey is about first hand. ⭐ ❤ ⭐

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, I too am very grateful for this encouraging and strengthening fellowship God gave us, Michael! ⭐ ❤ ⭐

      His anointing teaches us, that is so important, indeed! And the anointing dwells in whom God wishes, not in those who are put by man in a hierarchical order.

      I think Eli was still a humble man. His big fault was not having corrected his sons who did not walk in his ways any more. But did not a similar thing happen to Samuel's offspring later, too? 🙄

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        As for Samuel’s sons, so it would seem. This is why God has no spiritual dynasties. That is something that man does. God has no grand-kids, his children are all first generation and known as “the Church of the First Born.” We cannot give to our children what He has worked into us by His Spirit. They each have to answer His call on their own.

        Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? (Gal 3:3, NRS)

        Praying for them is all we can do.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Very good comment, Michael! 🏆🏆🏆

        Liked by 1 person

  3. There is — as always w/ your posts — a great deal of truth here. Again and again, we place our faith in men rather than in God. I know I have done this. Thank you for the lesson and thank you for your faithfulness, Michael. You are an inspiration. Wishing you and yours a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      You are welcome, Anna. These things I share have come through many hard experiences. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” As we look around this world and see all that man is doing, how much of it remains? It eventually becomes “NOTHING.” Eventually the men we look to to be our leaders fail us and we find that our idol only has feet of clay as it crumbles and falls to the ground. This is God’s doing for He will have no other gods standing before Him. This is the real lesson of Daniel ch. 2.

      Another aspect of our human natures is to point fingers at others as if we are perfect and worthy to be their judges. Those who accuse others of sin so loudly… soon their own sins find them out. We hate in others those things which either we know that we ourselves are guilty of or are fully capable of doing. As Paul put it,

      “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (Rom 2:1, ESV2011)

      The day is coming that ALL of us will stand before God as guilty. “Let God be true and all men be liars.” “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” It is in fully understanding this and rightly seeing ourselves as God sees us… it is here that we finally throw ourselves on the mercy of Christ and not only see ourselves as “the chief of sinners” as did Paul, but we also see that as we judge others, we shall also be judged. Or the up side of this is found in His words,

      “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt 5:7, ESV2011)

      If we stand IN Christ not only for our forgiveness of sins, but ALL that we are. When Father looks at us all HE will see is His Son. All of this is to bring us to that place where we no longer stand in our own righteousness, but rather, we appropriate the righteousness that is ours as we abide IN Christ and live in the mercy He has for others.

      “For you are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were immersed into Christ did put on Christ.” (Gal 3:26-27, Modern Literal Version)

      Anna, I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with a fresh vision of all that is ours IN Christ. We have sooooo much to be thankful for.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia W. Orr (Pat) says:

    Thank you for the blog. I am so grateful that God speaks to us, and that His speaking is life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Me, too, Patricia. We truly have a NEW Covenant more than most Christians realize. As it was written around 67 AD:

      For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. ​For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Heb 8:8-13, ESV2011)

      Like

  5. Kenneth E Dawson says:

    Thanks Mike for the good article—-Now listen to me—-I hope you have a joy day for Thanksgiving!

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Ken. Things got busy for me, so I am just now getting back to you. Dorothy and I had a good quiet time together at home on Thanksgiving. We had tons of family time with, kids, grands and even a great-grand while in Texas two weeks ago, though. 🙂 I hope you also had a good T-day there in OK.

      Like

  6. brucer57 says:

    Michael, you wrote
    “When we have hearts that are longing after the things of this world, we know no rest. Our lives consist of the next pleasure, the next possession, the next lofty position, etc.”
    Yes, unfortunately it takes some of us (as in me) a longer period of time to get weary of the restlessness and going from one experience to the next. I guess it’s the grace of God that we finally wear out from those things.
    Thanks for the encouraging writings.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      You are welcome, Bruce. Thanks for your honesty. All I have to do is start looking on the cares of this world (the news is full of them) and quit looking to Christ as my heavenly rest and I am overcome with anxiety. Yes, it is the working of His grace in us to change us into the image of His Son that is our hope for something that is far beyond what this world has to offer.

      “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:12-13, ESV2011)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Fred says:

    This was very good. I had waited to read it until now, which made it a good time. I have prayed for a new heart many a times. There is a song by Keith green about that prayer and it is one of my favorite songs. I know I have on many occasions stuggled with materialism. I have recently gotten back into that. I guess part of it is feeling that I have struggled to get back to my relationship with GOD that I had some time back and failing to do so and the failing to do so is causing some depression and then more back sliding which results in meterialism. Although that may be why GOD lead me to a book called Brused Reed as that has helped me get out of this bad cycle or should I say is helping me however I did finish the book already. Any way Pray for me if you can.

    Liked by 2 people

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