In the middle of the night Raymond heard the voice. Clear, distinct, without question. “In the morning, I want you to take Brian on a camping trip. Excuse him from school and go to Powell Springs campground. I want you to kill him and burn his body beyond recognition!”
Raymond never doubted that he heard God’s voice. He prepared to take the instructed actions. Would you?
Does this sound like the voice of God? For a man 4000 years ago, it was. His name wasn’t Raymond, but Abraham. His son’s name wasn’t Brian, but Isaac. You can read about it in the following passage.
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
What makes the voice Abraham heard any different from the voice Raymond heard? What makes it different from any other “crazy” who slaughters innocent people because of a “voice” they heard in their head?
How do you know when you’re hearing the voice of God?
How To Hear God’s Voice
God ALWAYS speaks in line with the PURPOSE He has for your life.
Ask yourself why did God make me? When you can answer this question, you’ll be able to hear and understand God’s voice in you (To find your purpose read my post, How To Find Your Specific Purpose in Life).
Abraham could hear and understand God’s voice in his life because he understood his purpose. He knew who he was and who Isaac was in God’s plan. So when he heard God telling him to kill his only son, He knew it was God, not a demonic spirit.
To appreciate this, you have to understand the BACK STORY of Abraham’s life. What would lead Abraham to believe that God wanted him to sacrifice his only son?
During Abraham's life there were two distinct camps of men. There were the Sons of God and the Sons of Men.
The Sons of God
The Sons of God were of the lineage of Abel. The line of Abel received the prophecy given to his father, Adam, at the time of his fall. That prophecy, which was to become legend among the people, was that a Messiah, a lamb of God, would come and die for the sins of the people. Everything that the Sons of God did dramatized this point. We see Abel sacrificing a lamb on the alter of God to demonstrate God’s promise (Genesis 4:4).
The Sons of Men
On the other hand Cain, Abel’s brother, was the father of the Sons of Men. The Sons of Men didn’t see the significance of the slain lamb. They believed in God, they just didn’t see the importance of following God’s metaphorical pictures. They did God their way. Cain offered God fruits and vegetables, not a slain lamb (Genesis 4:3). Cain didn’t pursue God’s purpose for his life, he pursued HIS purpose for his life. He did great things from an earthly perspective. His lineage was renowned. They built great cities and became know as the Nephilim— GIANTS (Genesis 6:4). Goliath was a descendant of the Nephilim.
While great in the earth, the Sons of Men displeased God because they advanced their own purposes, not God’s. God looked for men that would advance His purposes on earth. Those purposes were to bring a Messiah that would die for the sins of the world and restore the Kingdom of God on earth.
The Messiah’s lineage would pass through the line of Abel and appear in a man named Abraham. Abraham was a man of FAITH. Faith simply means that you can see in your mind’s eye the purposes of God and that you align your life to follow those purposes. Faith isn’t about you, it’s about God. Faith SEES God. It sees HIS purposes.
As a result of this great faith, God promised Abraham and Sarah they would have a son that would be a “type” of the Messiah to come. He would be an only son. He would be the product of a miracle. He would be a blood sacrifice, a lamb— just like the coming Messiah.
Isaac was born to Abraham when he was 100 years old. His wife, Sarah was 99 and barren. It was impossible that they could ever have children, but God had promised a miracle and He delivered it through the birth of Isaac. When God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac at 16 years old, it came as no surprise to Abraham. He had been waiting for it. After all Isaac was a prototype of the Lamb of God that was to come. Abraham was following God PURPOSE for his life.
Even though that purpose was frightening, Abraham wasn’t worried. That’s because Abraham was aware of a second aspect that allowed him know God’s voice.
Abraham knew God’s CHARACTER. The Bible refers to Abraham as “the friend of God” (James 2:23). He knew God was not a murderer. He knew God was loving and faithful in all that he did. We know Abraham felt this way because the author of Hebrews records Abraham's thoughts as he is about to slay his only son Isaac.
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could RAISE THE DEAD, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
Abraham moved forward with God’s purposes for his life because he trusted God’s character. He knew that if he went through with it God could RAISE THE DEAD. He had confidence that God’s purposes in his life would bring out the character of God. God would not leave his son dead. No, God would raise him up so that his offspring could be realized through him. God had good things in store for him.
Good things are accomplished in God’s purposes even when it SEEMS otherwise.
Abraham was a Son of God. He had faith in God’s purpose for his life because he knew God’s character. He was willing to let God live His live THROUGH him.
Listen to His voice. Find God’s voice by understanding WHY He made you. Discover His purposes for your life. Then TRUST him, like Abraham did— even when it’s scary. God is faithful. He will make your life work.