Knowing His Voice

For from Him and through Him
and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2)

Voices that are not God’s might sound like Him, but they are deceptive. They want us to cause division in the body of Christ. The enemy tries to get us to agree with that which is demonic. It might try to flatter us, to get us to speak instead of God. It makes disciples unteachable. It does not yield to Christ. It perpetuates secret sins.

When your thinking changes, it means you are repenting. To repent means to turn from that which is wrong and walk towards what is right. Punishing yourself is not repentance — it is self-righteousness — refusal to accept that Jesus has already paid the price in full.

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” This is the Lord’s declaration. “Therefore, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds who shepherd My people: You have scattered My flock, banished them, and have not attended to them. I will attend to you because of your evil acts”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “I will gather the remnant of My flock from all the lands where I have banished them, and I will return them to their grazing land. They will become fruitful and numerous. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them. They will no longer be afraid or dismayed, nor will any be missing.” This is the Lord’s declaration. (Jeremiah 23)

So Jesus said again, “I assure you: I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me[a] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

14 “I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, 15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life so I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from My Father.” (John 10)

Enter God’s Rest

The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years. God worked many miracles and brought them out of Egypt. They were entering into freedom, but they had 400 years of slave mentality when they approached the edge of the promised land.

We also are born into a slave mentality. The Bible describes satan as the prince of this world, and we are born believing that we have to work to earn righteousness of any kind. There is a guilt and condemnation that comes, wondering if someone else perceives our work as good enough, or being punished when work is not good enough.

The Israelites were about to enter God’s rest, a land described as flowing with milk and honey. But when you have a slave mentality, you can’t accept that something so beautiful could be a free gift. When someone tries to give us a gift, we insist that we must pay them back somehow. We’re still hearing the voices of the taskmaster.

You have the faith to believe – but do you have the faith to enter into His rest? Can you rest in Him before you see an answer?

God told the Israelites He was giving them the land. But the people couldn’t blindly accept that – they decided to go check it out for themselves, sending in 12 spies to bring back a report. 10 of the spies said, “We can’t do this – there are giants in this land,” but 2 of them said, “Let’s take the land!” Because they didn’t believe, they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness, until only those 2 spies were left of the original people. They were the only 2 original people who got to enter into the promised land.

Listen to God. Don’t rethink the direction in which He sends you. Knowing God’s voice is part of being in His rest. Will you listen to the majority (the 10 spies), who speak of fear and doubt? Or will you listen to those speaking His truth (the 2 spies)? Follow Christ, even if His voice isn’t the loudest.

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

Today, if you hear His voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
and saw My works 10 for 40 years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation
and said, “They always go astray in their hearts,
and they have not known My ways.”
11 So I swore in My anger,
“They will not enter My rest.” (Hebrews 3)

Rest is grace – it is undeserved, but the Lord gives it anyway. It’s easy to read the account of 12 spies and think, “If I had been there, I’d have listened to Joshua and Caleb (the 2 spies).” But in our own lives, we have giants, and we waver and don’t trust Him.

God has lots of time. If you won’t enter into His rest, he’ll wait for your kids, or grandkids, or whoever else will enter His rest. But He intends His rest to be for you, today. Jesus is the Good Shepherd; He wants to lead us into green pastures – places of rest.