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What does 'hear God' mean?

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  • What does 'hear God' mean?

    This is a continuing theme from the previous thread "What does "fear God" mean?

    To reiterate:

    I've studied these three words in Hebrew and how they relate to 'faith':


    I'll address 'hear' here (no pun intended)

    Most of us embrace the word 'Faith' as foundational to our relationship with God. The verb associated with Faith is 'believe'. 'Faith' and 'believe' are powerful words in New Covenant teachings, and most will admit that James seems oddly out of place with his statement "Faith without works is dead". What appears to be a contradiction to "Salvation by Grace" is in fact, not contradictory at all.

    Now I have a problem. I've equated believing with thinking. I've assumed that if I agree with the 'right' doctrine, then I'm good to go. Because of my confusion between 'thinkiing' and 'believing', I've held on to teachings that are 'easy to believe'. I've always wondered why some who came to the alter or raised thier hands to heaven have not exhibited a life change. I wondered that in myself. I wondered if only some people were 'radically saved'.

    So my questions are: Is beleiving the same as thinking? and are "doing' and 'believeing' the same thing (as James eludes to), or are they opposites? Is 'doing' legalism? I have struggled with these questions.

    So I decided to study Hebrew. In the tiny amount I have learned, it opened some things up to me. For example in english the word 'faith' is a noun. But reading below:

    "Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light" Gen 1:3

    It seems 'faith' should actually be treated as a verb. The above verse has God speaking - to nothingness - and in that nothingness there was suddenly light. God did not 'think' light into existence - He spoke it. So scripture begins with a command - a verb - and ends with the same - His commands and a blessing on those who do them....

    Deu 6:4 "Sh'ma, Yisra'el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, Isra'el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one];

    1Sa 15:22 Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

    For most of us, the term 'hear' seems passive. In fact, in the English language if we want someone to pay attention, we say "listen to me." as opposed to "hear me." Even physiologically hearing seems passive. We don't actively recruit sounds to be 'heard.' So what does the Bible really mean when it speaks so highly of "hear"?

    As with my thread of fear, the true depth of meaning is in the Hebrew term. The Hebrew word for "Hear" is "Sh'ma" (pronouced sh-maw) It is spelled witih the hebrew letters shin-mem-ayin. It means more than just passively hearing.

    Sh'ma has the basic meaning of 'to hear.' This is extended in various ways, generally involving effective hearing or listening: 1) pay attention and 2) obey.

    Sh'ma means 'hear, obey or understand. As I stated in the other thread, Hebrew was originally a pictorial language. Pictographically, the Hebrew letters show that to 'hear' God is to see or understand His true nature. The following Scriptures show what makes the 'hearing' effective (in other words 'do')

    Gen 3:8 They heard (sh'ma) the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

    This is the first usage of 'sh'ma' in the bible. What did Adam and Eve do because of what they heard?

    Exo 19:5 'Now then, if you will indeed obey (sh'ma) My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;

    Exo 19:9 The LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear (sh'ma) when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever." Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.

    Note the word "obey" is used in the King James version in place of "sh'ma" which is used in the Hebrew manuscript.

    Already, the relationship between 'hearing' and 'obeying' should be forming from reading these verses, but there are more:

    Deu 4:30 "When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the LORD your God and listen (sh'ma) to His voice.
    Deu 4:31 "For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.

    Jos 24:24 The people said to Joshua, "We will serve the LORD our God and we will obey (sh'ma) His voice."

    Isa 55:3 "Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen (sh'ma), that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.

    Definately there is a relatinship between hearing and obeying.

    In the New Testament writings, the word for 'hear' is akouo. Deuteronomy 6:4 is quoted in Mark 12:29 and the Hebrew word is "sh'ma" translated into the Greek as "akouo". The Septuagint also uses this translation. Simularly. the Greek "akouo" goes beyond the simple passive 'to hear' - it also includes the effective (doing) hearing. The command is given in Luke:

    Luk 9:35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen (okouo) to Him!"

    And in John, chapter 10:

    Joh 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

    Are you one of His sheep?
    Joh 14:24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.

    Where does Jesus' words come from?

    In Romans chapter 10, read the progressive steps listed for faith:

    Rom 10:14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
    Rom 10:15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!"
    Rom 10:16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?"
    Rom 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
    Rom 10:18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; "THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD."

    Verse 17 says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. So what would we tell someone who says they want more faith? What action is interchangeable with hearing in the context of "sh'ma" or "akouo"???

    Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
    Rev 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;

    It seems that 'to hear' is more than a simple passive activity. We are commanded to hear (sh'ma) God and His Word. The Scriptures above also teach us that when we hear/obey Jesus' voice, we follow Him - doing what He does. Paul (above) also teaches us that faith comes to us by - hearing/obeying. To hear (sh'ma) is to grow in faith!

    Will you 'hear/obey'? Passive agreement is not enough, what will you do?


    Those who seek God with all their heart will find Him and be given sight. Those who seek their own agenda will remain blind.

  • #2
    To hear and obey God, you have to listen and know God.

    Psa 46:10 Be still, and know that I [am] God:

    "Be still" means be quiet, which includes whatever your "thinking".

    Elijah gives a good example.

    1Ki 19:11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; [but] the LORD [was] not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; [but] the LORD [was] not in the earthquake:

    1Ki 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; [but] the LORD [was] not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

    1Ki 19:13 And it was [so], when Elijah heard [it], that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, [there came] a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

    So the question is, can we really hear Him amongst the noise of this world and our thoughts.


    • #3
      I think the "Be Still and know that I Am God", in the context of being still, and knowing Him is to not lean unto your own understanding. Not that you shouldn't think at all..... But rather think about Him and what the Word says ..... search the scriptures, for in them you will find Him, who is eternal life.

      Jer 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

      Jer 6:16 Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.
      2Jn 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
      If it's not done out of unselfish love, then it's hardly righteous.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jesusinmyheart View Post
        I think the "Be Still and know that I Am God", in the context of being still, and knowing Him is to not lean unto your own understanding.
        Agreed. To be still means to have peace and just know that He is, and we aren't.
        Seek ye FIRST the kingdom.
        Not second or third, but first.
        Only when all else pales to God, when He receives all glory,
        when He is the source of all hope,
        when His love is received and freely given,
        holding not to the world but to the promise to come,
        will all other things be added unto to you.