How do we hear?

I had a recent exchange with someone about how we hear God’s voice and I thought it might be worth sharing here.  I hope and pray this encourages any who may read it.

Henry Blackaby said,  “God speaks through a variety of means. In the present God primarily speaks by the Holy Spirit, through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church.”  I would agree with Blackaby whole-heartedly.  1 Corinthians 2:10-16 makes this point clear; we who hear the voice of God hear him speak to us in our spirit.

The point was made in our exchange that perhaps also, God speaks to us through our inner witness or “gut” and through our intuition.  To which I replied with the following:

Wouldn’t all those fall into prayer?  That is if prayer is considered an open and ongoing dialog?  Just a thought.

Also, I don’t know if I would include intuition in there.  A semantical issue but an important one nonetheless.

Here is the etymology of the word “intuition”:

intuition (n.) Look up intuition at Dictionary.commid-15c., from Late Latin intuitionem (nominative intuitio) “a looking at, consideration,” noun of action from past participle stem of Latin intueri “look at, consider,” from in- “at, on” (see in- (2)) + tueri “to look at, watch over” (see tuition).

The Bible teaches us that faith comes through “hearing” and “hearing by the word of God”.  (Romans 10:17)  Taking into light our ongoing dialog concerning the important Biblical symbolism of seeing/hearing, it seems intuition would be a derivative of the former rather than the latter.  An arrival at the Truth through self initiated effort via sight, apart from God’s graced revelation via hearing.

Just a thought but I think our “gut” is, for a lack of a better word, a fair description for how we hear God’s voice.  When you say we hear God’s voice through our “gut”, I take you to mean that there is a certainty, a knowing in our gut of some thing, in spite of a lack of understanding or reason.  This is the essense of the voice of God.  Manna, “what is it?” (Please read and prayerfully consider the following Scripture.  Exodus 16 and John 6. Specifically; John 6:26-27, John 6:35, John 6: 47-51, John 6:63)

Remember, what is faith?  “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Faith, at its root, is certainty apart from reason.  “I can not see it but I know it is there.”

Man is graced ears to hear by God himself and graced to receive revelation by the Word of God; the still small voice of our Creator.

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

Unfortunately, the most common response to hearing the voice of God is fear, but fear is soon followed by the reassuring voice of our Shepard, who perfects our love and drives out our fear, “Be ye not afraid, it is I!”

The reason we can hear the voice of God in our “gut” and not through our “intuition” lies at the very character of who He is and who we are.

We his sheep, are ones who run, prone to wander, prone to leave the God we’ve loved.  We are rebellous. We are hard of hearing.  We are foolish and often find ourselves trapped in the trouble we’ve caused.  We are easily frightened and quickly slaughtered by the wolf.  At our root, we the sheep, are self righteously prideful believing we can arrive at a knowledge of the Truth apart from hearing – by our intuition – our own eyes and efforts.

But He.  He is the Shepard who goes after lost sheep.  He is loving.  He is full of grace.  He is patient and reassuring.  He is long suffering and full of mercy and his steadfast love knows no bounds.  He is the good Shepard who lays down his life for his sheep and crushes the wolf under the might of his righteousness.  He calls softly his sheep by name and they hear His voice and they follow it for they will not follow another.  He understands his sheep’s hopeless condition and in a wonderful display of his glorious grace He grants them ears to hear and words to receive that they might eat and have their fill.  He does this so that they might not fear their Shepard’s voice but know for certain – in their gut – that they have tasted of the Lord and He is good.

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6 Responses to How do we hear?

  1. tencadesign says:

    Search Resultsin·tu·i·tion
    /ˌint(y)o͞oˈiSHən/
    noun
    noun: intuition1. the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
    “we shall allow our intuition to guide us”
    synonyms: instinct, intuitiveness; More

    You need to read the Book “The Spiritual Man” By Watchman Nee

    • Frederick,

      Thanks again for this comment. I don’t think that Nee chose the right word when he used intuition. It could be that he was trying to convey some truth he had received from the Spirit but used the wrong English word due perhaps to his sometimes faulty understanding of the language. I don’t know, I could be wrong, as I’ve not read this book, just a guess.

      Consider the difference between “knowing” and “understanding” in the scriptures. I think if you pray and ask the Lord to reveal this to you he will and you will see there is a significant difference between the two words and how they apply to us.

      Knowledge of the Lord always precedes understanding. Knowledge is received by revelation through hearing. Understanding is gained through sight. Ask the Lord this, “with whom does the initiative lie with hearing and with seeing?” I believe this is at the root of the issue.

      Grace and Peace.

      • Every Dictionary I look at says the same thing. And I fill that it is my intuition that has spoke to me and some time’s my gut say’s do it! Fred

        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        Intuition may refer to:

        Intuition (philosophy), immediate (not inferred) a priori knowledge or experiential belief
        Intuition (psychology), acquiring beliefs in ways that bypass ordinary justification

        Origin:
        1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin intuitiōn- (stem of intuitiō ) contemplation, equivalent to Latin intuit ( us ), past participle of intuērī to gaze at, contemplate + -iōn- -ion. See in-2 , tuition

        Related forms
        in·tu·i·tion·less, adjective
        Dictionary.com Unabridged
        Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013.
        Cite This Source |Link To Intuition
        Explore the Visual Thesaurus »Related Words for : Intuition
        hunch, suspicion
        View more related words »

        CollinsWorld English Dictionary
        intuition (ˌɪntjʊˈɪʃən)

        — n
        1. knowledge or belief obtained neither by reason nor by perception
        2. instinctive knowledge or belief
        3. a hunch or unjustified belief
        4. philosophy immediate knowledge of a proposition or object such as Kant's account of our knowledge of sensible objects
        5. the supposed faculty or process by which we obtain any of these

        [C15: from Late Latin intuitiō a contemplation, from Latin intuērī to gaze upon, from tuērī to look at]

        intu'itional

        — adj

        intu'itionally

        — adv

        Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
        2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
        Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
        Cite This Source
        EtymonlineWord Origin & History

        intuition

        late 15c., from M.Fr. intuition, from L.L. intuitionem (nom. intuitio) "a looking at, consideration," from L. intuitus, pp. of intueri "look at, consider," from in- "at, on" + tueri "to look at, watch over" (see tuition). Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
        Cite This Source

      • Hmm, you may be right. I could definitely be wrong about the actual meaning of the word intuition. Either way, I don’t believe the exact meaning of that word is what’s important here.

        I think Nee and I agree in principle. Whether he calls it intuition or my friend calls it our “gut”, the idea remains the same. That is, that man can know a thing, with certainty, apart from reason or logic or the need for empirical evidence to confirm what he already knows in his spirit to be true.

        I could be wrong but I believe that is what Nee says in his writings. And with this assumption I would agree. As I said in my previous reply, knowing always precedes understanding. At least when it comes to knowing the Truth. And knowing can only come through revelation (something revealed to man by God himself) and that typically comes through faith by hearing and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

        What intuition actually means is not important. The concept that man can know absolute Truth with certainty and how a man comes to know this Truth is what is of first importance.

        “Ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make ye free.” John 8:32

        “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

        “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;” – Proverbs 2:6

      • tencadesign says:

        Thank you, I will Pray and ask are Lord on that. I know this! That I ask the lord “God” in “Jesus Christ” name that he Gives me the gift of loving the father God with all my heart mind and soul. Amen! Thanks again Frederick

      • Amen, for flesh and blood has not revealed this love to you but your Father who is in heaven and He is faithful. He who started this good work in your heart will bring it to completion. Peace be with you brother.

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