In the story of Abraham and Isaac, we find the perfect storm. Abraham had waited 100 years for a child. After Abraham receives the miracle into his life, and the boy grows into adolescence, God commands him to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham got up early in the morning, took Isaac to a mountain, placed Isaac on an altar, and raised a knife above him. Just as he was about to thrust the knife into the young man, an angel stopped him. God recognized Abraham’s heart was full of love, trust, and obedience to Him. Abraham sacrificed a ram instead. But we learn a lot about Abraham in the story. The question is, how did Abraham know God well enough to trust and obey Him like He did?
Abraham recognized God's voice because he knew God. He knew God because he spent time with Him. The more you talk with God, the easier it is to recognize Him. It is impossible to know someone that you spend no time with. I may know people through Facebook. We may even call ourselves friends. But most of those 'friends' wouldn’t know me if I called them on the phone. They don't know my voice because we have never spoken. When my wife calls me, she doesn't have to tell me who she is. I know who she is by her voice. I can even sense joy, or distress just in her "Hello". Many people, even Christians wonder if God is telling them something, or Satan. Do you want to know God's voice? Spend time with Him. Abraham walked with God. He talked with Him regularly. He didn't just 'hit Him up' when he needed something. He loved hanging out with God. That's how you get to know God. Most people I know don't converse with God. They accost Him with their needs... or mostly their wants. God knows us. He wants us to know Him. But you can't get to know Him by spending an hour with Him once a week.
Abraham rose early in the morning to obey God. There apparently wasn't much arguing with God... in fact, there doesn't appear to be any arguing with God. People actually do argue with God sometimes. It doesn't go well. We have no business arguing with God. If you know God... If you recognize His voice, and He calls you to do something, who in the world do you think you are to argue with Him? Some people arrogantly say, "He can take it!" Whatever. Don't mistake His mercy for approval. He may argue with you, but how foolish for you, a created being to argue with Him, the Creator... Especially when the Creator has never been wrong, or less than good to the creature. He has never done anything to legitimize an argument. Arguing with God reveals doubt. None of us are smart enough, capable enough, or sufficient enough to doubt God for a fraction of a second. Everything in the universe evidences the trust-worthiness of God. God has never proven Himself untrustworthy. NEVER.
This is actually simple. If you know God is calling you to do something, and you know how faithful He is, just do it. It is irrational to disobey a trustworthy God, no matter how crazy the command. Obeying God may not be a comfortable proposition. But disobeying God is a destructive plan for sure. By obeying God, Abraham found himself on a mountain with a knife in his hand and his son strapped to an altar. And yet, that was the place where he would hear God's voice. His relationship with God went to a new level because his obedience led him to the next place of encounter. Had he disobeyed, he would not have had that second conversation with God. Notice both times that God calls him in this story he is able to say, "I'm right here." God doesn't have to 'find him'. He is right where he is supposed to be. Too often we want to be in that second conversation of affirmation without obeying God from the first conversation. Your choice to obey or disobey will reveal the truth about your relationship with God. In a real sense, obedience is the key that unlocks the next phase of spiritual maturity.
Can you see how this whole idea of knowing God, trusting God, and obeying God is like a cycle? The more we know, the more we will trust. The more we trust, the more we will obey. The more we obey, the more we will know...
It is possible that we miss hearing God's voice because we aren't obeying God. This may sound backwards, but all of us have heard God at one point or another. Then we made a choice. Obey, or not. Sure… God calls the disobedient. But is that really the relationship you want to have with God? Or do you want to live wide open knowing Him, trusting Him, obeying Him?
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.