10. Listening for the Holy Spirit's Voice


Audio (33:39)

Edward Burne-Jones, detail of 'Samuel' (1873), Vyning Memorial Windows, Christ Cathedral, Oxford.
Edward Burne-Jones, detail of 'Samuel' (1873), Vyning Memorial Windows, Christ Cathedral, Oxford.

One of the most important -- and least understood -- roles of the Holy Spirit is to communicate God's thoughts to us. Listening for God's voice is extremely well documented in Scripture, both in the Old and New Testaments. But since it is subjective and relational (that is, arising out of a relationship between you and God), some people are afraid of it. They don't want to be seen as a fanatic or a kook.

But if you seldom or never hear the whispers of the Spirit, or feel His nudges, then you're missing out on one of the great blessings of your heritage as a child of God. You're also missing out on one of a disciple's greatest spiritual warfare tools -- an instant message from headquarters on what the enemy is doing and how to proceed. It's that important!

I've written a book-length study of this topic, Listening for God's Voice (JesusWalk Publications, 2017) that you can reference to go deeper, but I'll try to condense the main points into this lesson.

God's Voice as a Bible Pattern

Listening for God's voice is a Bible pattern that we see throughout the Old and New Testaments. God communicates to us by means of his Spirit. For example, Peter is in a house in Joppa, and has a vision while napping on the roof. When he wakes up, "the Spirit says to him, 'Simon, three men are looking for you.'" (Acts 10:19). He goes with them and the first Gentiles hear the gospel, believe, and receive the Spirit. Instantly, the gospel moves beyond the Jewish and Samaritan worlds into the Roman empire and beyond. All because Peter heard the Spirit's words and obeyed.

Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place (Mark 1:33-38)

The Holy Spirit provides the channel for God's communications to us. We see this by examining Jesus' own patterns.

Jesus' healings and exorcism bring immediate fame throughout Galilee. Because Jesus is staying at Peter's house, it is mobbed by sick and needy people from the all over the area.

"33  The whole town gathered at the door, 34  and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

35  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36  Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37  and when they found him, they exclaimed: 'Everyone is looking for you!'

38  Jesus replied, 'Let us go somewhere else -- to the nearby villages -- so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.'" (Mark 1:33-38)

Simon Peter and his friends search for Jesus to tell him he is needed. But Jesus has talked with the Father and knows what he needs to do next -- preach in other parts of the region.

Going away to pray and listen to his Father is a vital pattern in Jesus' life, one that he seeks to demonstrate before his disciples for them to emulate. Luke's Gospel seems to focus on these.

"At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place...." (Luke 4:42)

"Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." (Luke 5:16)

"One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God." (Luke 6:12)

"Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, 'Who do the crowds say I am?'" (Luke 9:18)

"He took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray." (Luke 9:28b)

"One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.'" (Luke 11:1)

"Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, 'Pray that you will not fall into temptation.' He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed." (Luke 22:39-41)

It is often difficult for Jesus to pray alone, to get away from the people who are demanding things from him, but he makes the effort. It is his characteristic pattern. Notice, however, that he doesn't necessarily exclude his disciples from these times of prayer. By example, he is teaching them how to seek the Father.

The Son Can Do Nothing by Himself (John 5:19)

A second key verse for understanding Jesus' approach to ministry is in John's Gospel:

"I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees[210] his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19)

We studied this verse in Lesson 2, where we learned two important truths:

  1. Jesus doesn't minister on his inherent power as the unique Son of God. Rather, he spends time with the Father to know what the Father is doing. Then,
  2. Jesus ministers in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Just as Jesus is dependent upon hearing from his Father; so are we. No doubt he talks with the Father throughout the day also, but it is Jesus' practice of getting away to pray that characterizes his prayer life. Jesus shows his disciples how ministry is done by living it out before them

We, too, need to seek a meaningful time alone with God each day -- preferably at the beginning of the day -- to commune with God, not only to pray and read Scripture (which we must do), but also to listen for God's whispers so that we might be ready for the day he brings to us. This is part of the "abiding" that Jesus talks about in the Parable of the Vine and the Branches (John 15:1-9).

Q1. (Mark 1:33-39) What pattern do you see emerging in Jesus' prayer life? Why do you think he spends Quiet Time with the Father before the day begins? How does this prepare him for his ministry? Why does Jesus minster through the power of the Spirit instead of in his own power?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1821-q1-prayer-and-sensitivity/

We Have the Mind of Christ -- through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11-12, 16)

As we've mentioned several times previously, Paul explains that the Holy Spirit is a link between our spirits and the mind of Christ:

"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have ... received ... the Spirit who is from God.... We have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:11-12, 16b)

As you read these verses in context, you'll begin to see how the Spirit helps us know God and know his heart. The Spirit is the connection between God's mind and ours.

Of course, the Bible records God speaking (through the Spirit) to many of the Old Testament saints, including Moses, Samuel, David, Gideon, and Simeon. The difference is that while the Spirit was "upon them" for a particular task, the Spirit is now "in" us continuously, and in all truly born-again believers. He talked to the Old Testament saints; how much more, then, does he want to talk to us in the New Testament era.

It's All about Relationship

We need to pause to look squarely at the central point. God's voice and nudges are not part of us learning some "spiritual technique." No! They are all about relationship!

If you want to hear God's voice and feel his nudges, you must invest deeply in the relationship he provides to you through grace. You must "press in to know the Lord" (Hosea 6:3). We do this through investing in a quality "Quiet Time." If your Quiet Time is weak, or non-existent, I encourage you to read and follow the instructions of Appendix 3. Deepening Your Quiet Time with God. A consistent Quiet Time will change your life.

Without a quality Quiet Time you can learn a great deal about the Holy Spirit. But only with a quality Quiet Time can you get to know Him personally. It's all about relationship!

Q2. (1 Corinthians 2:9-11, 16) What connects us to the mind of Christ? Do you have a regular Quiet Time? What could you do to make it more meaningful?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1822-q2-quiet-time/

God's Voice and God's Nudges

You see in Scripture -- and I've found in my own experience -- that God speaks to us in both words and nudges or promptings.

God's Voice (Words)

Moses heard God's voice and wrote down his words in the Pentateuch. Elijah heard God's "still small voice" and his whole ministry was transformed (1 Kings 19). Of course, God can get anyone's attention with a flash of light and a loud voice, like Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 6:1-9). But to hear and discern his normal voice, you need to be listening.

There are many, many Bible examples of hearing God's voice, but here is just a sampling:

  • Ananias, who is told to go to Saul on Straight Street in Damascus, with detailed ministry instructions (Acts 9:10-19).
  • Paul, when he has prayed three times for relief from his "thorn in the flesh." The message he receives is quite short, but full of content (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  • Samuel, when he is given detailed instructions on how to anoint David as king (1 Samuel 16:1-2).

You might think that God speaks only to prophets and apostles, and that you are not one of these. Perhaps. But you are indwelt by the Spirit of God who connects you with the mind of Christ. For the typical person, I've learned that:

  1. God's voice is often quiet. We need to listen.
  2. God's voice can guide us in what to do in difficult situations. For example, God gives Elijah an assignment to anoint three men -- two kings and his prophetic successor.
  3. God's voice can provide comfort when we are anxious.
  4. God's voice can bring a rebuke. I've found that sometimes God's word of comfort comes with a word of rebuke, as well. Not an unkind word, but a teaching word.

Let me tell you a story. When I was a new pastor, I found myself complaining that most of the men in the church didn't take their responsibility to maintain the church buildings, so I, the pastor, had to do it. Self-pity!

Yet, there was a faithful member, Les Beyea, who did show up to help. One day, while I was complaining, God rebuked me with seven words, "Shut up and let me bless you." I didn't understand it at the time, but I stopped complaining. Later, I realized that Les Beyea was God's tutor to teach me home maintenance and give me the confidence to add an addition to my home, and later build my own new house and supervise building church classrooms and worship centers. God indeed was blessing me when I was complaining. God is amazing -- and gracious!

The Spirit's Nudges (Acts 8:26-38)

Sometimes God's speaks to us in words. But in my experience it is much more common to find the Spirit "nudging" or "prompting" you to do something. Not a lot of words. Not much deep content, but clear direction.

My favorite example of God's nudges is Philip the Evangelist. He has just led a revival where thousands of people in Samaria are saved, baptized, and then -- when Peter and John come -- filled with the Holy Spirit. Now the Spirit leads Philip to minister to a single but key individual.

"An angel of the Lord said to Philip, 'Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.' This is a desert place. 27  And he rose and went...." (Acts 8:26-27a)

The Scripture writer puts it as a sentence, but the content could be reduced to:

  • Jerusalem-Gaza road.
  • Go.

So Philip obeys. As he's walking along the road he sees a man in a chariot coming his way. The man "just happens" to be the treasurer of the Queen of Ethiopia. He has been to Jerusalem to worship and is now trying to read an Isaiah scroll while bouncing up and down in a chariot. Philip doesn't know this yet, but he is sharp, observant, and knows how to listen to the Spirit.

"The Spirit told Philip, 'Go to that chariot and stay near it.'" (Acts 8:29)

This could be reduced to a nudge: "Chariot. Catch up to it." Philip does, assesses the situation with the help of the Spirit, and leads the man to Christ.

You see another string of nudges in Acts 16:6-10. Paul's apostolic team has been ministering in Derbe and Lystra, and is now proceeding west.

"6  Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7  When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8  So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9  During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' 10  After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them." (Acts 16:6-10)

Here are the nudges:

Don't preach in the province of Asia (Acts 16:6)

They keep travelling, but turn north and travel a while. When they get to the border of Bithynia they get another nudge.

Don't preach in Bithynia (Acts 16:7-8)

They end up in the port city of Troas where Paul has a vision of the man of Macedonia, which they take as a sign from God. They catch a ship, sail across the Aegean Sea to Macedonia, reach Philippi, and the rest is history.

God doesn't often tell us everything that will happen. But he will often tell us the next step. It's a nudge, a prompting. When we obey that, he gives us another nudge. Soon we are in place to see God do something marvelous.

These examples of nudges in the New Testament remind me of nudges experienced by David when he is on the run from Saul. He seeks God's direction through the priest's Urim and Thummim, which seemed to give a "yes" or "no" answer to his questions (1 Samuel 23:6; 23:9-12; 2 Samuel 2:1; 7:16-18; etc.). Look up those verses and you'll see these are nudges, occasionally supplemented with a word that can only be understood as prophecy (2 Samuel 5:22-25).

Where Have You Seen God Lately?

God doesn't talk to us non-stop like a 24-hour radio station. But he will speak to us or nudge us occasionally -- even often, if we're listening for his voice. Two exercises will make us much more sensitive:

  1. Quiet Time. As I have already said, hearing and discerning God's voice are not gimmicks. It is all about relationship. As we spend time with God our relationship with him deepens. We get to know him better, so we're more sensitive to him. Our devotional time ought to include some time when we're silent before him. Sometimes during those times, thoughts will begin to form in our minds, perhaps actual words from God.
  2. "Where Have You Seen God Lately." Asking this question can help make us sensitive to looking for and listening for God.

My pastor, Greg Krieger, is fond of asking a group of people, "Where have you seen God lately?" People think for a few seconds and then begin to respond with ways God has shown up in their lives.

This past Sunday morning he asked the question in a huddle for prayer before the service. One of the women shared, "I just happened to meet Ralph at In-and-Out Burger, and told him about my dad's interest in meeting with him...." God was in it. I don't know that God nudged me to have a burger -- my stomach did that -- but he got me there at the same time Brittney showed up. I called her dad the next day to set up a time to meet. It was a small thing, but God is in the small "coincidences" as well as the big ones.

Where have you seen God lately? What "coincidence" did you observe? As we become aware of what God is doing, we become aware of his nudges. Eventually, we recognize the Spirit's nudges and act on them as second nature. But to begin, we need to be sensitized to where God is working around us. So to begin your sensitization process, ask: Where have I seen God lately?

The Spirit may well have been speaking to you and nudging you, but you weren't really aware of what was happening. The Spirit dwells within you. He wants to guide you, remind you of what Jesus is saying, etc.

Q3. How would you differentiate between (1) the Spirit's voice and (2) the Spirit nudge or prompting? What can you do to sensitize yourself to His voice and promptings?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1823-q3-spirits-voice-and-nudges/

Heart Preparation for Listening to God (1 Samuel 3:1-10)

When Samuel is a very young child he goes to live with Eli the priest, where he sleeps in the temple, the Tabernacle that is pitched at Shiloh. You know the story. The boy Samuel is sleeping, when he is awakened by the Lord calling his name: "Samuel!" He thinks Eli is calling him. This happens twice. Finally, Eli realizes that God is calling the boy.

"So Eli told Samuel, 'Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, "Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening."' So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, 'Samuel! Samuel!' Then Samuel said, 'Speak, for your servant is listening.'" (1 Samuel 3:9-10)

This is the heart needed for one who would hear God:

 "Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening."

Humility is required.

"LORD" represents God's own name Yahweh, I Am that I Am. He comes in all his majesty to us and we humble ourselves before him.

"Servant" is ʿebed, "servant, slave." The term is used as a polite and humble way to refer to oneself (Genesis 33:5; 2 Kings 8:13). In the case of a king, all his subjects are considered his servants, including all who serve him directly -- his officers, officials, and ambassadors. The expression "your servant" is frequently used when addressing God in prayer.[211]

"Is listening" (NIV, NRSV), "hears" (ESV), "heareth" (KJV), is shāmaʿ, "to hear" (the word from which Samuel's name is formed). This is more than just acknowledging the reception of sound waves. Here it involves an effective hearing or listening, "hear, listen to, obey."[212] Samuel places himself in the position of a servant whose master has called him, so he comes ready to listen to his master's command and then obediently carry out his command.

Surrendering Control

A willingness to obey is an important part of being receptive to God's voice. It is insulting to ask God what we should do if we have no intention of doing anything other than what we want to do. Part of a willing and submissive spirit is a willingness to obey:

  1. Even if we don't understand why, and
  2. Even if we don't know the final result.

Too often there is in us an insistence on being in control. Explain it to me, God, and if I agree that it fits my objectives and plans for my life, then I'll be happy to obey. How silly! In the military, the importance of following orders is drilled into both soldiers and officers. Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "Charge of the Light Brigade" (1854) contains the immortal words:

"Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die."

In war, if the lowliest private demands to know all the details of the strategy before he or she obeys orders, then the unit loses its ability to move quickly as one.

God sees the whole picture, like a reconnaissance pilot who watches the battle from a spotter plane high above the action, then radios down the instructions for battle. God speaks through David in Psalm 32:

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you." (Psalm 32:8-9, ESV)

God is our instructor and teacher on what way or path to take. From his vantage point -- seeing the past, present, and future -- God sees what we cannot see, and "counsels us with his eye upon us."[213] If we will listen, God is our wise counselor.

Notice that God doesn't want to force us to obey -- like some animals that won't obey unless you put a bit and bridle on them. Rather he seeks to speak to us in counsel. As we have faith in him, we begin to obey. He desires a more mature relationship based on trust rather than force. If we fight him, we can't serve him.

We'll Only Know When We're Willing to Trust

There's a sense that only when we do obey what God shows us will we find out what he is planning to do through us. When we resist, we'll never know. When faced with the his enemies' unbelief, Jesus said:

"If anyone chooses to do God's will,
he will find out whether my teaching comes from God
or whether I speak on my own." (John 7:17)

As an old folk proverb puts it, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." You'll never know what God is doing unless you obey. Even then you may not know how your small act of obedience fits into his larger plan. But occasionally you'll be able to see the fruit, and can rejoice. I only wonder what other things I could have rejoiced about if I had listened and obeyed always.

Q4. (1 Samuel 3:1-10) Why is Samuel's servant attitude such an important preparation for hearing God's voice? Why is surrender to Jesus such an important element of discipleship?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1824-q4-servants-heart/

Discerning God's Voice

You're aware, of course, that there are many voices floating around our heads (Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 John 2:15-17):

  • God's voice -- the real thing.
  • The World -- voices of others, peer pressure, worldly standards of success, etc.
  • The Flesh -- our own desires and thoughts, many of which are selfish.
  • The Devil -- demonic temptation and misdirection from Satan and his forces.
  • The Conscience -- our moral sense of right and wrong that we obtain from our upbringing. Sometimes we are hindered by a skewed sense of justice or righteousness -- perhaps an extreme legalism, or an insensitivity to certain sins. Our conscience is strongly influenced by the culture we grow up in. However, the conscience can be educated by the Word of God as we seek his way.

How do we discern the difference between these? Frankly, it's a learning process, and any such process involves mistakes. That's why being part of a caring, supportive Christian community is valuable in this learning process.

The Holy Spirit helps us to learn and discern, first, through "the renewing of your mind."

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)

This renewing process is part of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. But to be able to discern God's voice there are some things we must do to cooperate with the Spirit.

  1. Spend time with God regularly. Again, if you haven't already, develop a meaningful Quiet Time day by day. (See Appendix 3. Deepening Your Quiet Time with God). Include elements of praise, confession, intercession, listening, and Scripture reading. You're developing a relationship.
  2. Read the Scriptures. Reading the Word of God cleanses and washes us as we read and study it (Ephesians 5:26; John 17:17). Plus, the Scriptures help us understand  God's viewpoint so we won't be Confess and repent of any known sin. Sin has a way of blinding us, creating callouses on our hearts, and hindering our prayers (1 Peter 3:7). Walking in the light and confessing any sin as it occurs (1 John 1:7-9) is the safest way of seeking to hear God's voice.
  3. Recognize and surrender your desires. We humans are able to rationalize almost anything. To prevent us from stamping our own desires with the imprimatur of "God's voice," we must take time to recognize what we want and then surrender that to God. Wanting things is natural, but what we want isn't always God -- though sometimes it is. Sometimes God molds the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). So as we're seeking to discern God's voice and will, it's valuable to recognize what our desires are. Then give them to God in prayer, as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane: "Yet not what I will, but what you will" (Mark 14:36b).
  4. Seek counsel if you're not sure. Because you're just learning to discern God's voice, it's good to ask a spiritual brother or sister if what you heard sounds like God. Just be careful that the person you ask believes in God speaking to people today!

Then pray Samuel's prayer: Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." The Holy Spirit desires to communicate God's thoughts and mind to your heart. What a wonderful gift -- the gift of a growing relationship with God!

Lessons for Disciples

Here are the main points we've discussed in this lesson.

  1. Listening for God's voice is a Bible pattern that we see throughout the Old and New Testaments. God communicates to us by means of his Spirit.
  2. Jesus demonstrated before his disciples a pattern of getting away to a solitary place to talk to his Father (Mark 1:33-38). It was there he learned what to say and do (Luke 4:42; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28b; 11:1; 22:39-41).
  3. Jesus said, "The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing..." (John 5:19). When he took on flesh, Jesus voluntarily laid aside his prerogatives as Son of God (Philippians 2:6-7). Listening to his Father was the lifeline for his life and ministry.
  4. Through the Holy Spirit we have access to the very mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:10b, 16b).
  5. Since Jesus is our example, we need to develop a life habit of seeking him daily, known as a Quiet Time. This is essential to developing a growing relationship with God -- and becoming sensitive to the voice of the Spirit.
  6. In the Bible, the Spirit sometimes speaks to believers in words -- sentences with content -- such as instructions to Ananias (Acts 9:10-19), comfort to Paul regarding his "thorn in the flesh" (2 Corinthians 12:9), and instructions to Samuel on how to anoint David king (1 Samuel 16:1-2).
  7. God also leads us through nudges, in articulate leadings, that consist usually of brief instructions. You see this in Philip's ministry to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-27) and Paul's Second Missionary Journey (Acts 16:6-10).
  8. We need to become sensitized to God working around us. Ask: Where have I seen God lately?
  9. We prepare our hearts for the Spirit's voice by humbling ourselves as servants who are ready to obey what God speaks to us without questioning (1 Samuel 3:9-10).
  10. We prepare ourselves by recognizing and clarifying our own desires in a matter so we can surrender our desires fully to God. Without doing this we can confuse our own desires with the Spirit's leading.
  11. Hearing the Spirit is a learning process where we'll make some mistakes as we learn. We are learning to discern between God's voice, the world, the flesh, the devil, and the conscience.

Don't be afraid to seek to hear the Spirit's voice. It springs from the immense privilege we have -- through the Holy Spirit -- of getting to know God personally. He will speak to you as you learn to listen.

Growth Assignment (Week 10) -- Where Have I Seen God Lately


Available in paperback, Kindle, and PDF formats

This is similar to your Growth Assignment for Week 3, but let's do it in a slightly different way. This week your assignment is to ask yourself each day: "Where have I seen God lately?" Then write down these God-sightings in your journal. If God speaks a word to you or nudges you, write that down also. You might not get it right the first time or two, but with practice and attention you can develop confidence in how God is speaking to you.

Prayer

Father, teach us to discern the Spirit's voice. We really want to know you and know you deeply. And hear your thoughts, your heart, and your leading for our lives and ministries. Quiet our minds before you. Open up our hearts to hear you. We seek you. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Key Verses

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: 'Everyone is looking for you!' Jesus replied, 'Let us go somewhere else -- to the nearby villages -- so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.'" (Mark 1:35-38, NIV)

"I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19, NIV)

"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have ... received ... the Spirit who is from God.... We have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:11-12, 16b, NIV)

"Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them." (Acts 16:6-10, NIV)

"So Eli told Samuel, 'Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, "Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening."' So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, 'Samuel! Samuel!' Then Samuel said, 'Speak, for your servant is listening.'" (1 Samuel 3:9-10, NIV)

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you." (Psalm 32:8-9, ESV)

Notes

[210] "Sees" is blepō, "see" (with the eye), then, by extension, "discern," here, perhaps in the sense of "to pay especially close attention to something, notice, mark something" (BDAG 179, 4).

[211] Walter C. Kaiser, ʿebed, TWOT #1553a.

[212] Shāmaʿ, TWOT #2412.

[213] "Counsel" (NIV, NRSV, ESV), "guide" (KJV) is yāʿaṣ, "advise, counsel" (TWOT #887).


Copyright © 2018, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.