When learning to hear from God, the most important principle is: Foundational Principle #1 – If it wasn’t done in scripture, don’t do it.
We stick 100% with scriptural examples and we don’t go beyond those in any way, shape, or form! If it wasn’t done in scripture, we don’t do it.
We stick strictly with what God has said, along with examples of what his people have done.
For example, when learning to understand dreams from God we stick to scripture exclusively. Some places teach that numbers have meanings other than a literal number of things. But! There is no example of any dream from God where a number meant anything other than a literal number of things. In fact, the opposite is true; we can count on the number of things in the dream being equal to the number of things in reality. So, we don’t practice numerology by ascribing numbers in dreams with a specific meaning that God did not author.
However, many people (who consider themselves believers) follow dream dictionaries that state that the number ‘8’ means ‘new beginnings.’ This is a form of numerology and it doesn’t agree with scripture. There are no examples in scripture of people interpreting numbers to have a meaning other than a literal number of items/things. On the contrary, whenever a number was interpreted in the Bible, it always meant something literal. Ie., Seven cows in the dream of Joseph in Genesis represented a literal number of years, seven years. In the baker’s dream in chapter 4o of Genesis, three baskets were a literal number and it represented 3 days. In Joseph’s dream of 11 stars, the number eleven represented a literal number of brothers. So whenever we see a number in a dream, we recognize that numbers have always been literal and God’s people have never taken numbers to mean anything other than literal numbers.
We use this approach in every area. If it’s not done in scripture, we don’t do it.
EVIDENCE OF GOD’S PLAN TO COMMUNICATE WITH ALL OF HIS PEOPLE PERSONALLY
First, what did God say? Is it His plan to communicate with everyone?
The New Covenant is founded on the principle of a each person having an individual relationship directly with God, exactly like the kind of relationship that Abraham had with Him.
The New Covenant
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah’s description of the New Covenant is identical to Abraham’s example. Abraham knew God and he followed all of His instructions.
“Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, following my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” Genesis 26
It would have been impossible for Abraham to follow all of God’s instructions, commands, and decrees if Abraham could not hear from God. But he did. He heard from him in the same ways that God promised that all of His people would hear from Him today.
God used the prophet Joel to announce His plan to pour out His Spirit on all mankind in the last days. This happened when God’s Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost. Spiritual things cannot be separated from Spirit. Spiritual things, like dreams, visions, and prophecy, come standard, and this is how Abraham heard from God. A read through Genesis reveals that hearing from God through dreams and visions was the norm. In almost every story, someone was hearing from God through dreams or visions, and God used those dreams and visions to lead His people.
The Bible Says That God Speaks To Man In Many Different Ways But Man Doesn’t Perceive It
Why do you complain to him
that he responds to no one’s words?
14 For God does speak—now one way, now another—
though no one perceives it.
Perceive (Definition from: Oxford Dictionary)
- become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand.
- interpret or look on (someone or something) in a particular way; regard as.
This verse pretty clearly says that we don’t realize that we are hearing from God because He speaks in many different ways. As humans, we expect to hear from God in the same way that we hear from other people but God is a Spirit and He communicates with us through spiritual means.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on people
as they slumber in their beds,
16 he may speak in their ears
and terrify them with warnings,
17 to turn them from wrongdoing
and keep them from pride,
18 to preserve them from the pit,
their lives from perishing by the sword.
The Bible is full of stories of God’s people listening to God with spiritual ears (through dreams, visions, and prophecy) exactly as this verse describes. The book of Genesis is full of examples. In fact, the those examples reveal that God speaks through dreams, visions, and prophecy almost exclusively.
- Abraham received the covenant from God through a vision.
- Jacob received a promise of protection and blessing from God through a dream.
- Joseph was used by God to save an entire empire (and beyond) by interpreting a dream.
- God used the dream of a Midionite soldier to give Gideon the courage to go to battle and subsequently won a war against thousands with just 300 men.
- Through a promise in a dream, Solomon became the most blessed man in history.
- Joseph was alerted to flee with Mary and Jesus through a dream.
- Noah was warned about the flood and was saved by following God’s instructions.
- And many more!
Bible Examples of Faith Are Unanimously About The Kind of Faith That Listens, Believes, and Follows
God’s people are meant to live lives like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and many others who knew God, who were led by God, and who all had miraculous lives as children of God. But it is impossible to do without hearing from God as they did.
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.
God is a Spirit so interaction with Him is always spiritual. Many people like to avoid spiritual things perhaps because they think that spiritual things are weird or spooky but it’s impossible to have the Spirit of God without the spiritual things that come standard with Him. Trying to have the Spirit of God without spitural things is like trying to get into the pool without getting wet. The two cannot be separated. The impartation of the Holy Spirit comes standard with spiritual communications via dreams, visions, and prophecy – and these things are not for the privileged few but for all of God’s people.
Those who follow after the Spirit of God are children of God.
Following the Spirit means hearing from God and following His instructions in the exact same way that all those who came before us have done. It means living a life exactly like Abraham and Isaac. It means hearing from God and being ‘imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.‘ (Hebrews 6:12)
Be Imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises….
Each Bible story about a person doing a mighty exploit or receiving something amazing from God has something in common, each of them heard from God through dreams, visions, or prophecy.
When God promised the New Covenant, He promised that we would be personally instructed by Him (Jeremiah 31) through our hearts and our minds. Dreams, visions, revelation, and prophecy, all come through our hearts and minds, and usually not our ears.
We have to engage our spirit to hear from God through the Spirit in the same way that each of the patriarchs did in the aforementioned examples. This means that if we are going to live miraculous lives as the patriarchs did, we must learn to hear from God in the same ways that they did.
Knowing God is the key to doing the greater works that Jesus foretold that his people would do. Each of God’s people are capable of doing the works that Jesus did, and greater, if they follow the scriptural examples. Jesus explained that everything that he did was the result of following the Father, and the stories of every miracle in scripture reveal the same principle. When people followed God’s instructions, the outcome was always miraculous. The same is true for each of God’s people today. By learning to hear from God we can have miraculous lives which are full of greater works that bring Him glory.
NEXT: Examples from My Journey With God