Romans 10:17 (KJV) “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Emphasis Added).
A well-known saying is, “One picture is worth 1,000 words.” While this statement may be true in most cases since “Seeing is believing” for most people, hearing is an extremely important avenue for acquiring knowledge. I am primarily an “auditory” learner. God has given me excellent hearing. Normally, if I hear something, I remember it!
Indeed, the Bible places much emphasis on hearing the Word of God! However, the Word of God has a minimal effect in transforming the hearer if he or she does not follow up the hearing with obedience to the Word of God.
James 1:22 (KJV) “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (Emphasis Added).
If hearing is not followed with obedience, the effect is as if we had not heard the Word. God’s desire is to lead us in the way of righteousness that models His character. Those who are heirs of His marvelous Gift of Eternal Life will exemplify His character only to the extent that they both hear and obey His Word. Only those who “hear” will truly understand and follow this principle.
Mark 4:9 (KJV) “And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Emphasis Added).
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” – what do you think this statement means?
Hearing and Obeying the Word of God requires…
- RECOGNITION – Acknowledgment
The Word of God is Absolutely True! God’s Word and Voice is unlike any other…
Numbers 23:19 (KJV) “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Emphasis Added).
2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (Emphasis Added).
As children of God through Spiritual Re-Birth, we must come to the realization that our Savior has a Voice that is distinctive from all other voices – just like our earthly parents had. As surely as newborn babies learn to recognize their mother’s voice above all other voices, we too must learn to recognize Christ’s Voice.
Recognizing Christ’s Voice involves…
In Bible times a shepherd would tend a flock of no more than 100 sheep, because that was all he could care for properly. The shepherd did not simply lead and watch over his sheep in a flock, but he gave each sheep individual attention. He gave names to his sheep, he knew each one, and each of his sheep recognized him.
John 10:4-5 (KJV) “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (Emphasis Added).
In this well-known passage of Scripture, Jesus used the example of a shepherd in relation to his sheep as an analogy to His role as the Good Shepherd to believers. Sheep come to their shepherd when called by name, but they do not respond to a stranger who called, because they distinguish their shepherd’s voice from other voices. This requires an “intimate” relationship.
John 10:4-5 (MSG) “When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it” (Emphasis Added).
Like the shepherd of Bible times, the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, guides and gives individual attention to His sheep – those who believe in and follow Him. All who are led by Christ follow Him because they recognize Him as their Savior, Lord, and Master. They respond to His voice, which they hear speaking through the Holy Scriptures, Gospels, and by the Holy Spirit. They have an “intimate” relationship with Him.
John 15:7 (KJV) “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (Emphasis Added).
“God speaks to us not only once in a while, but always.” — Henri Nouwen
John 15:7 (MSG) “But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon” (Emphasis Added).