Hearing God; August 5, 2022

Job 33:14 “For God does speak–now one way, now another–
though man may not perceive it.”

Elihu is something of a mystery because he wasn’t one of Job’s “three friends,” and he appears suddenly from chapter 32 and gives a long discourse that runs all the way through chapter 37, longer even than the space given to the Lord, who is recorded from chapter 38 through 41. 32:6 calls him “son of Barakel the Buzite,” and says he was younger than Job and his friends (as does 32:4). He isn’t mentioned in the Lord’s rebuke of Job’s friends (42:7-9), so who is he? A young man in our church over 20 years ago was fascinated by Elihu because he was a young person speaking wisdom (which is how our church member liked to think of himself) and he advanced the idea that Elihu might have been a manifestation of Christ. I’m not at all sure about that, but he does speak some good truth. This particular verse is something I’ve tried to get through to people for as long as I’ve been in ministry. The world says that people who “hear from God” are mentally unstable at best, because the devil is terrified that we will learn to listen accurately to God and do exactly what He says. That is of course a huge lie, as is everything the devil does. You could say that learning to hear God and obey Him is our prime purpose in being on earth! Most of the ways God speaks that are listed in this chapter aren’t very pleasant, but God speaks in pleasant ways as well. He tells us of His love through the love of parents or other family members, for example. The devil wants us to be afraid to hear God, much as the Israelites were afraid at Mt. Sinai. (Exodus 20:18-19) Moses said that was to teach them to obey God, (Exodus 20:20) but the devil distorts that to make us not want to hear God at all. And then there are the lying spirits that do such things as tell mothers to kill their children, all the while claiming to be God. If you’re afraid you’ll mishear God, then immerse yourself in the Bible; He’s not going to contradict Himself!

The idea of hearing God has never seemed strange to me, but then my upbringing wasn’t exactly ordinary, being an MK and all. I have long thought, and stated, that the first time I heard God speak to me in what might as well have been an audible voice was about 35 years ago, but I now realize He, or at least an angel, was who said “Don’t do that” when I was seriously attempting suicide as a college student. Distinct voices like that have indeed been rare for me, but looking back I can see that God has spoken to me countless times in various ways, and I’m deeply grateful. I only wish I had been more obedient! I remember one time when I had been praying in tongues by myself for a while and I asked the Lord for the interpretation. I’m not sure if what followed was an interpretation as such, but I was blown out of the water by the words that came from my mouth, as God told me He was pleased with me and my faithfulness, and He would use me. I am at times sharply aware of my weakness and foolishness, but God is strong enough and wise enough to use even me, so that’s more than enough reason to listen to Him as well as I can.

Father, thank You for Your incredible grace and faithfulness. That You would care so much about such insignificant creatures as we are is indeed mind boggling. Help me communicate Your love and grace effectively to those around me, so that they too may learn to be aware of You speaking to them, and respond with gratitude, obedience, and joy. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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