My Sheep Know My Voice
Jesus said in John 10:27: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me"
Then how can we be deceived? It seems the voice we have heard at times sounded like the voice of the Lord, in fact was very sure it was the Lord. But later found this voice had led us in the wrong direction. What went wrong? Does God lie?
The scriptures say. "God is not a man that he should lie" (Numbers 23:19). Yet we see in 1 Kings the 22nd chapter what seems to be a contradiction, we see the Lord sending a lying spirit to deceive Ahab. (1Ki:22:23) "Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee."
Paul explains in 2 Thessalonians 2:10b-11, "...because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie".
These scriptures are showing us that God does not lie, but he will give us over to a lie if we do not want to believe or obey the truth. In this way, it is our own hearts that is lying to us.
In 1 Kings chapter 22 mentioned above, God only gave them the answer they were looking for. God saw their heart and knew they didn't want direction from him; they wanted God to bless what they wanted, not what God wanted.
Ezekiel:14:3-4 Says, "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols"
In the 22nd chapter of Numbers there is the story of Balaam who wanted to hear a word from the Lord to curse the children of Israel. The Lord told Balaam that the Israelites were blessed and not cursed. But Balaam was not satisfied with that answer. Balaam had been offered a bribe to go with the Princes of Moab and curse the children of Israel. So he went back to ask of the Lord again, this time God gave him the answer he wanted. God told Balaam to go with the Princes of Moab. But when Balaam left to go with the men from Moab "...God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him" (Numbers 22:22) and would have slain him if his donkey hadn't gotten out of the way of the angel.
An idol is anything that is placed above God and His will, including preconceived ideas with self-will being the most dangerous and evil idol. Should we ask the Lord for direction if we are not willing to believe it or follow it? It is the most dangerous thing if we have self-willed motives "before our face and inquire of the Lord". We may get the answer our flesh wants rather than the truth that could have been used in the process of conforming us into His image. "...because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
We should examine our own hearts by asking ourselves if we would be as willing to go in the opposite direction of what we thought and wanted if that was the Lord's will. If we would not, then we have an idol. We should ask the Lord to deal with our idol first.
We need to be careful not to put our religious beliefs, "good works" or assumptions of what is right before the true direction from the Lord; these are also idols and can be a "stumblingblock" for us. This is why there are so many different beliefs in the "Christian faith" and they all say that they have "heard from the Lord".
Not to be confused, there are different reasons why we don't all hear the same things from the Lord at the same time; it is not always the "idols" of our heart that can causes this. We all have our place in the Kingdom of God and He leads us in His timing giving us what we need in relationship to where we are in Him and what our individual needs and callings are.
Years ago the Lord began to teach me how to trust Him in all areas of with my life. He began by leading me to total dependence on Him for my health. The word was so loud and clear to me I would have thought all Christians would see it and live it this way. I also though it meant the Lord would always heal me if I got sick and keep me in good health. But as I grew in the Lord He taught me that He didn't always lead His children this way, some He would, but others He would never require it of them. As I learned to trust in Him more and more in different areas of my life, He also showed me how to trust Him even if He didn't always heal me; I just needed to trust Him in whatever state I was in. He showed how we have been bought with a price and we are His to do with as He pleases. He has a purpose for us that is much larger than our health or happiness that comes from the things of this world. His purpose is to transform us more and more into His image and He chooses the course it takes to get us there. Let Him brings us to a place where we will say in EVERYTHING, "not my will Lord, but your will be done", just as Jesus prayed, "not my will, but thine be done".
God assures us, if we really want to know the truth, no matter where it takes us, he will give us the truth. There are so many preconceived ideas and self-willed ways that must be laid down at His feet, allowing Him to rebuild the truth in us so we can have confidence that "if we ask we will receive"!
Above all we must truly desire the Lord to lead us in every aspect of our lives in spite of our own "wisdom". We have to be willing to wait on Him even if He doesn't answer right away and resist the temptation to return to our own understanding for answers and get ahead of the Lord; we need to trust that He will lead us. The ability to hear the Lord comes from Him, we do not have this ability in ourselves (thank God it doesn't rest on us, only our willingness and desire for Him) as this is only done through Him in the Spirit. This too is a process through trials and tribulations as He teaches us to depend on Him and not our own understanding as we learn to wait on Him. He will lead us more and more to recognize His voice so we will "not follow another".