"Don't be afraid," he said, "for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!" As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, "Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me" (Dan. 10:19d).
The first time God spoke to me personally, I didn't know it was Him. I thought it was my mother. When I was 5 years old, she would tell everybody, "This is my little preacher!" It embarrassed me at the time. But looking back, it was God speaking through her. After 36 years in ministry, I am still preaching. It's humbling, but the Lord will often speak to us through the least likely people as part of our training before we can hear His voice for ourselves. The Lord uses unique vessels. Like iron that sharpens iron, they often are the keys that unlock our spiritual ears.
As a new Christian, out of the gate running, hell took its best shot at me to abort the innate desire to ever hear God's voice. A wedge of contention drove deep between my Bible teacher and me the moment he said, "God spoke to me." Those words were alien to me. Immediately, my whole being was flooded with doubts as the enemy unleashed those infamous fatal words: "Indeed, has God said?" (Gen. 3:1). Surely this man had a big ego problem, thinking God Almighty would take the time to speak to him personally among the billions of people on earth.
I left the Bible study in frustration that evening, thinking he was certainly out of his mind. That crazy teacher kept me awake. An hour later a question walked into my bedroom, "But what if you could? What if you could actually hear God speak to you?" As I began to faintly consider the possibility of an answer, that question lit a fire within me that has never gone out. I thought to myself, if God could actually speak to me, I would be willing to wait 30 or 40 years to hear him speak one word: not a whole sentence but just one word.
God wants to speak to you. Two hours later, the Lord Himself walked into my sleepless night. He said, "Son, I want to speak to you more than you want Me to."
From that moment, my journey began listening for His voice. Now you know what I live for. I live to hear God speak. My worst days have taught me: When God speaks, you live. When God speaks, you're healed. When God speaks, you're delivered. Storm clouds scatter. Dead dreams thunder with life. I'm not talking about man speaking, but when God speaks, you live. His voice has brought me through hell and back, changing doctors' reports and adding years to my life. The devil's best shot missed me.
Whispers In Secret
I sense the Lord saying we must begin to hear His voice at a whole new level for the crucial hour we are in. I have discovered I hear better in crises. It is during a crisis that we are primed to hear God at the deepest depth. In those moments, we are thinking survival, not revival, to overcome the perils of life. Crises come with spiritual upgrades in hearing God's voice.
These upgrades hinge upon a vital question God asked me recently: "Son, can you keep a secret? For I will begin to whisper secrets to many that must be kept between them and Me alone. I must be able to trust them to digest what I show them until I release them to share it with others. Some will hear and see what no other generation has."
I must ask you, the reader, the same question: "Can you keep a secret?" Not many of us can. It is tempting, when you are told not to tell anyone, to want to tell everyone. I believe many are wondering where the vision and the dream went that God began talking to them about years ago. I believe many, including myself, were so excited when the Lord began speaking to us that we left off listening to tell the world what God said. But He wasn't finished giving us the details and blueprints for our lives. In His mercy, He is now putting His fingers in our ears to complete those conversations.
My favorite Scripture on hearing in the Spirit is 2 Kings 6:8-12:
Then the king of Aram was fighting against Israel, and he took counsel with his servants, saying, "At such and such a place will be my camp."
But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, saying, "Take care not to pass through this place, for the Arameans are marching down there." The king of Israel sent word to the place of which the man of God spoke. He warned him and was on his guard there more than once.
The mind of the king of Aram was troubled by this, so he called his servants and said to them, "Will you not tell me who among us sides with the king of Israel?"
Then one of his servants said, "No one, my lord, O king. Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom" (2 Kings 6:8-12).
Something goes all through me when I read this account. My heart cries out, "Lord, let me hear like that." I believe this is the next upgrade in hearing. He wants us to be so in tune with hearing His voice that even the plans of the enemy whispered in his bedchamber will be overheard by us. To cancel the devil's assignments before he can execute them against our lives, families and nation is a must in this day in which we live.
Purging Our Ears
I worked in a steel mill for seven years. After five years, I noticed my hearing became difficult. I went to the doctor and he looked into my muffled ears. Deep within was a blockage. He flushed out my ears with warm water. The moment my ears were flushed I could hear crystal clear. I could hear the whispers of people.
In the Spirit, I see the Lord is going to flush your spiritual ears out to hear like never before. You will hear God's whisper. You will hear what others have not heard. Can you keep a secret?
I believe there are those who have received what sounded like a personal prophetic word from someone, but they missed hearing God for you. Those words brought confusion and have hindered you from hearing God directly. The Lord wants to flush out those words and things we thought were of Him but aren't, and other things we thought were not of God but are. In this season, the ear specialist has set up His office and is taking appointments.
Bill Yount has been a member of Bridge of Life in Hagerstown, Maryland, where he is now an elder and a home missionary for the past 40 years. He faithfully served in prison ministry at Mount Hope Inc. for 23 years and now travels full-time, ministering in churches and Aglow circles. He is currently an adviser at large for Aglow International. Bill has authored several prophetic books. His latest book is The Power of Real / Transparent Prophetic Encouragement. His prophetic email list is: billyountweekly.com. Visit Bill's website at billyount.com.
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