Revelation 2:7 – “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in God’s paradise.” (HCSB)
I was in a group Bible study where the leader was talking about Revelation 2:1-7. As the discussion went on about listening to the Holy Spirit and following the lead of the Holy Spirit, there were multiple ideas of why people get distracted or “off course”. As I read “anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says”, it occurred to me that before we can listen and respond, we have to be familiar enough with the voice to recognize it. I was reminded of being in a store in another state when I heard my name called by someone at the end of the aisle. I recognized my name but I did not recognize the voice so I assumed that the call was meant for someone else. I did not know who was calling me, so I did not respond. It so happened that the call was for me. Someone that I had known in high school recognized me and called my name. I almost missed it because I didn’t know the voice well enough to respond to the call. If a familiar voice had called my name in the store that day, I would have responded immediately, but this person was just an acquaintance. Is the Holy Spirit just an acquaintance, someone I really don’t know well enough to recognize His voice when He calls to me? John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow me” (HCSB). They don’t simply hear a voice; they hear a voice they recognize. Sometimes not recognizing the voice is not the problem. I saw a poster that said, “Studies found that cats are capable of recognizing their owner’s voice, but they choose to ignore it”. The poster was meant to be humorous, but sometimes we are like those cats! Like Moses in Exodus 4:13, we may not ignore His voice but we just don’t want to follow His direction. I wonder how many times the Holy Spirit has called to me but I chose to ignore it. John 10:27 is saying that the sheep recognize the voice because they have heard it often and know it well enough to know that they can trust the direction it gives. Lord, please help me today to recognize Your voice, to listen to Your voice, and to follow Your voice.