Our world is filled with a lot of noise. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to detach ourselves from noise and distractions and find a quiet place where we can rest, reflect, and draw closer to God. You might even be asking, “Is there any such place as a quiet place any more?”
Well, yes…but you have to go to Minneapolis to find it. There you will discover a room that’s 99.99% sound proof. Interestingly, Steven Orfield, whose company is responsible for creating this sound proof room, said, “The quieter the room, the more things you will hear.” In fact, it’s so quiet that the longest any person has been able to stay in the room is 45-minutes. What does that say about our culture?
God understands the need for quiet. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” It’s in the “stillness” that our hearts and minds are calibrated to the presence of God. It’s in the stillness that we hear God. That might sounds strange to you…maybe even bizarre. But God is active in our world today, and I believe He desires to speak to you and me. He doesn’t have a permanent case of laryngitis, unable to speak any longer. He loves you…and like any “love” relationship, He wants to speak, not just listen. But how do we listen? Where do we begin? And how do you “hear God” without others calling you a lunatic.
As you reflect on Scripture, you will discover a truth that is at the core of hearing the voice of God. In fact, it’s a truth so simple that we often miss it:
Relationship, Not Role, is the Context for Hearing and Obeying the Voice of God
So what does Jesus have to say about the topic of hearing God? In John 10, Jesus says that he is the “gate for the sheep.” In other words, he’s declaring that he is the way—the entry point—to a relationship with Father God. But then Jesus begins contrasting a good shepherd and a hired hand. I want you to notice the difference Jesus points out between the two:
- The shepherd makes sacrifices while the hired hand looks for security – John 10:11-12a says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming.”
- The shepherd knows his sheep while the hired hand knows of the sheep – Verse 12 says, “A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock.”
- The shepherd cares about the sheep while the hired hand cares about his salary – Verses 13-14 say, “The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.”
So what do these differences between the shepherd and the hired hand have to do with hearing God? One word: RELATIONSHIP. The hired hand had a role, but the shepherd had a relationship. The sheep recognize the voice of the one with whom they have a relationship.