Discover six important and helpful truths about listening to God found in the Bible verse Isaiah 50:4-5. Hearing God in Scripture helps us to develop deeper faith as we learn how to listen to God. Experience the benefits of listening to God when reading the Bible to accelerate your spiritual growth. Enjoy this updated version of one of my most read posts on how to listen to God.
The Bible tells us God speaks in a variety of ways, including Scripture, the church, and circumstances. Listening to God is noticing when He brings truth, understanding, wisdom, guidance, conviction, instruction, or encouragement to our attention. Most of the time, Christians “hear” God through the spirit rather than with physical hearing. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to help us listen, perceiving when God is speaking to us.
Practicing good listening skills makes us better listeners, both with God and others.
Good listening is a skill to cultivate.
“You aren’t listening to me.”
From the kitchen my husband is telling me that the plumber is coming tomorrow at 3. I don’t really hear him, but somehow I still respond, “Hmm..okay.”
Half-listening is getting to be a bad habit. There, but not really present… How many times do you realize you are only half-listening? This can become a bad habit when we don’t give our full attention.
The Challenge of Learning How to Listen to God
Do you long to hear God speak to you?
Learning how to hear God is an even greater challenge. Though there are some instances in Scripture when God speaks with an audible voice, but most often God speaks in less direct ways. We struggle with listening to God, often questioning the reality of His presence when we don’t feel like are hearing from God.
Encouragement for Listening to God
Hearing God isn’t always as hard as you may think.
Before we go any further, let me encourage you with this simple truth. Hearing God doesn’t have to be a confusing or difficult experience. If you’re like me, I’ve often wondered if God will speak to me. We can make a lot of false assumptions about hearing God. Have these thoughts ever come to mind when you’re trying to listen to God?
- Maybe I’m not doing something right, as if there is some magic formula to hearing God.
- I believe God speaks to some people, but I don’t think He will speak to me.
- I’m too sinful for God to want to speak to me.
- God has better things to do that talk to me.
- I have to be a super-Christian or spiritual giant to God to speak to me.
Have you struggled with any of these thoughts?
One of my favorite passages in the Bible that refers to hearing God clearly is in Isaiah 50:4-5 (NASB).
The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples,
So that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.
The Lord God has opened My ear,
And I was not disobedient,
Nor did I turn back.
Many times, God has used the truths in this passage to encourage me in the process of learning to hear God. This short passage has helped me to understand that God is intimately involved in helping us to listen. In fact, God is more interested in our regular practice of listening to Him than we realize.
I love the way the New American Standard Bible translates this passage with the words “He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.” In this passage, the word listen means to hear, listen to, obey, and yield.
Reading the passage in another translation can give us a fuller understanding of the meaning of this passage. Consider how these truths are expressed in the New Living Translation:
The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom,
so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me
and opens my understanding to his will.
The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me,
and I have listened.
I have not rebelled or turned away.
As you read the rest of this post, open your ears to important truths about listening to God. Which of the following truths contains a new thought? Which one encourages you in a special way? Notice what stands out to you as you read both the Scripture and the teaching. These are a few simple things to help you learn how to listen to God more clearly.
Six Important Truths about Listening to God.
Truth #1: The Holy Spirit enables us to listen to God productively.
God is speaking every time we open our Bible. Living and active, the Holy Spirit draws our attention to specific truths. He guides our understanding. He is the Spirit of Truth.
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth… John 16:13.
When the Holy Spirit awakens our attention and opens our ears, listening brings insight and hearing moves us to action. Remember, the definition of hearing in this passage means to hear, to listen, and to obey. It’s important to respond to what we hear by applying it to our lives.
When God awakens us, our sluggish thoughts perk up with increased understanding and discernment. What we glossed over rises above the page and a specific truth, instruction, or detail stands out.
Truth #2: When God speaks through His word, we are experiencing God.
Henry Blackaby writes, “Understanding spiritual truth does not lead you to an encounter with God; it is the encounter with God (Experiencing God p. 105). Many are hearing God more often than they recognize. As the Holy Spirit gives us understanding, we are both hearing and experiencing God.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.–John 14:26.
Truth #3: Practice helps us to recognize God speaking through His Word.
Listen to God daily through reading the Bible.
Morning by morning, God awakens me… Intimate and consistent, there is something very personal about these words. The Spirit can whisper gently, like a mother’s touch to awaken a sleeping child. We may expect burning bush experiences, but most often God speaks quietly through His word.
Without the Holy Spirit awakening us, we would not care, but roll over and go back to sleep. When we’re unresponsive, truth fades into the fog of a sleeping spirit and our lack of attention. Meaning is lost in the murmur of countless thoughts muttering in our minds.
Consistency makes a difference in hearing God.
Morning by morning echoes the constancy of a daily habit opening the day by listening to God. He nudges our attention. He opens our attention to hear, understand, and respond.
Hearing God isn’t a skill that is developed in a day–it is built over time.
This means we need to commit to regular time in God’s word, trusting the Holy Spirit to help us listen and obey.
Truth #4: Listening begins with God.
Isn’t it interesting that most of the activity in this passage is on God’s part? He gives. He awakens. He opens.
Our part is to respond. When we grasp this truth, we can let go of our stress about hearing God. He will help us learn to recognize when He is speaking to us. When we focus on responding to what God brings to our attention, we will hear Him more clearly. Develop the habit of asking God to open your ears to what He wants to impress on you when you read Scripture.
Embrace truth. Take it to heart so that it can begin to work in your thoughts, words, and actions.
Truth #5: Listening to God equips us to minister to others.
When we listen, we are prepared to encourage the weary– “That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word.”
Not just any word. This isn’t a pat-your-hand-and-bless-your-heart kind of word. Who needs that?
Listening to God regularly, He brings a good word at the right moment, speaking to the true need of the heart. What we have heard, we often have an opportunity to share.
When we make a regular habit of deeply listening to God through His word, it comes back out in powerful ways that make a difference in the lives of hurting people.
God can also prompt us to encourage someone, often bringing them to mind with a purpose. Earlier today, God brought a friend to mind with a nudge to encourage and pray. This is another form of listening to God. I gave her a call. Turns out she was having a hard day and was deeply strengthened by my simple response to God’s prompting.
Truth #6: Listening to God changes us.
When God speaks, the Holy Spirit helps us to listen and learn. Reading, listening, and revelation merge like threads woven into a single cord. We embrace the truth He speaks, and we obey: “I was not disobedient, nor did I turn back.”
When the Holy Spirit speaks God’s truth, it has the power to change us–to turn us from rebellion to obedience. We let go of the frustrating cycles of trying to do it on our own, and obedience moves us forward.
How does Hearing God change our lives?
God changes our lives as He opens our ears, awakens our attention, and we respond…one day at a time.
I expanded this blog post in a chapter of my book, Holy in the Moment. For more help and encouragement for hearing God check out the book!
Which of these truths about listening to God encourages you most today?
Hearing and listening to God us to grow deeper with God. Experience the benefits of listening to God when reading the Bible to accelerate your spiritual growth. Click To Tweet
Get My Best Tips on Listening to God
I’ve put together some of my best tips for spiritual growth, included several pages to help you focus your attention to listen to God. Get a page of prompts you can use when reading the Bible to help you listen to God. You’ll also find helpful prayers and other resources to deepen your relationship with God. Click the button below to get your free Spiritual Growth Pack.
More Posts about Listening to God:
- 15 Simple Ways to Overcome Distraction to Focus Your Attention on God (with printable)
- 10 Benefits of Reviewing What We Learn from God
- Do You Have Spiritual ADD?
- 15 Simple Ways to Overcome Distraction to Focus Your Attention on God (with printable)
- Simple Ways Silence Can Deepen Your Faith
- When You Long for God to Speak to You
- Simple Ways to Meditate on God’s Word
- 8 Powerful Ways to Connect with God When He Is Silent
*This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
I think listening takes practice. Jesus knows his sheep and his sheep know his voice because they spend time together. Good thoughts! Visiting from #RaRalinkup.
So glad you’re visiting today, Kristen! It does take practice to learn to “hear” God when we read his word. I love the verse you referenced about knowing the shepherd’s voice. Thanks again for stopping by.
You are so right, Ginger! Half listening has become a bad habit in our culture of multi-tasking. I can’t help but agree that this has a deep impact on our ability to sit still and fully engage in listening to God. I have been working on improving this skill in my own life, and the benefits are so worth the effort!
The multitasking gets me every time. I can barely walk and chew gum at the same time. My husband thinks is it rather funny that I usually stop what I’m doing to say something. May God bless you with increasing insight and discernment as you listen to him.
I did not expect to read these truths. I have been blessed because I did get directed to them by the Holy Spirit and I have gained knowledge that I needed at this exact time in journey to knowing my God. I now know that I do and have been hearing Gods’ word. And the Holy Spirit is showing me how to understand the answers to my questions about mr. Knifing God more and more. Thank you. I appreciate this Ginger. It was great to have read this.
Melissa, thanks for sharing your thoughts today! Yes, we often hear God, but don’t recognize him in the moment. Blessings to you and thanks for reading!
All truths are powerful but I’m especially thankful that you pointed out how our willingness to listen to God can impact our ability to minister to others. Another great post, Ginger.
Hope you are having a good week, my friend! Love what you’re talking about on your blog these days. I think most of us can think of a time when God brought just the right words to mind in order to encourage someone.
Listening and obeying is hard but always worth it and I love this practical but meaningful advice you’re offering here. I’m glad you linked up at #ThreeWordWednesday.
There are so many great posts at #ThreeWordWednesday. I wish I had time to read them all. Community is such a blessing. Thanks for stopping by, Kristin. Hug your beautiful baby!
This is such a great message and I’m glad to be here with your words. This here–> “Never underestimate the power of obeying the words God draws to your attention.” Thank-you for writing this!
I’m so glad that you found encouragement in these words. This is the beauty and wonder of the body of Christ–to learn, share, and grow together. I am praying God will do mighty things through the words He speaks to your heart.
Ginger, Thank you for sharing the six truths of god. I liked your post especially “Truth#6: Listening to God changes us.
Useful post Thanks for sharing it that’s truly valuable knowledge about similar topic. Amazing. Have a more successful day. Amazing write-up always finds something interesting.
Thank for joining us today! So glad you are enjoying the content. Blessings go you:)
Thank you for the 6 truths about listening to God. I do half listen so often. A very useful post. Thnx.
So glad you could join me. This is a topic that I write about frequently as it has been a big part of going deeper with God in my life. I’m glad this has been helpful!