“Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
Have you ever heard God speak to you?
The Bible is full of stories of God speaking to people. God spoke to Adam and Eve in the cool of the day and instructed them to enjoy all the Garden of Eden except for the tree of the knowledge and good and evil. God spoke to Cain, warning him that he was in danger of making a bad choice. God spoke to Noah, instructing him to build an ark to save the human race. One day the voice of the Lord got Abram’s attention and told him to leave his country and people. God spoke to Jacob the night he was fleeing from his home, giving him a vision of heaven and promises for his life. Joseph was a young teen when God spoke to him powerfully in a dream that pictured the future. God spoke to Moses on the day he was caring for sheep, calling Moses to lead his people out of slavery.
Throughout the Old Testament – the first part of the Bible – we see again and again God speaking to people. Specific words on specific days. Men and women would be going through life living the average challenges of an average day and God would speak.
In the New Testament, we again see God speaks to specific people on specific days. God spoke to Mary and Joseph about being the parents of Christ. He let Joseph know that Herod was coming to kill Jesus. God spoke to Zechariah about the birth of John the Baptist as Zechariah served in the temple. God told Simeon that he would not die until he saw the Christ. God spoke to Peter about including the Gentiles in the Gospel. And, on a specific day God blinded Saul on the Damascus road, calling him to be a servant of Christ. As the church of Antioch was having days of prayer and fasting God spoke saying, “Set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work I have for them.” All through the Bible we see God speaking to specific people on specific days.
The Bible is solid on the fact that God speaks. It is also solid on the idea that we can hear God speak. “Today, if you hear his voice,” the writer says. The concern of the author is not to establish the idea that God speaks but that you and I respond wisely when he does. “Do not harden your heart,” counsels the writer.
Just as the Bible records God speaking it also records how people responded to his voice. Some people hardened their heart to God’s loving words. Adam and Eve resisted God’s voice and lost the paradise where they lived. Cain ignored God’s words of warning and ended up committing murder. The Nation of Israel ignored God’s voice and as a result wandered in the wilderness 40 years instead of enjoying their promised land.
Positively, many people heard God’s voice and heeded what he said. Moses listened and led a nation out of bondage. Joseph and Mary listened and escaped Herod’s plot to kill their child. Saul listened and was transformed. He became known as the Apostle Paul and led the spread of the life changing message of Jesus to the known world. Whenever God speaks the person who he speaks to can accept or reject the message.
How do you respond when God speaks to you? The most important matter God speaks to us about is his Son Jesus. Jesus came to earth to restore our relationship with God. All who trust in his death for their sin become part of God’s family and have an assurance of life with God after death. In our response to Jesus, spiritual life and death hang in the balance. Because of God’s great love for us, and because he does not want us to miss the great blessings that await, he speaks to us about Jesus. Has God ever put on your heart the need to accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord? How did you respond?
God also speaks to us about daily life. Our relationships with family and coworkers, temptations we face or decisions we need to make are matters within the scope of his care. He desires that we live lives guided by wisdom and is willing to help us.
So if God speaks to you today, don’t harden your heart. Heeding what he says opens the way to the life he desires you to have both now and in the world to come.