“The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that Chariot and stay near it” Acts 8:29
How often do we think, “If only God or the the Holy Spirit would just tell me what to do?” Well, it seems like that is exactly what the Holy Spirit did here for Philip. The Greek word used for “told” means to speak or say something. The words the Spirit spoke are even recorded in quotes, meaning they are the exact words He spoke not just a vague notion or thought. How often do we think we hear the Spirit and then question if it was really Him, and because we question, then we delay in responding or don’t even respond at all? Philip had no doubt who spoke, no confusion about what the Spirit said and didn’t delay in responding. This clear communication from the Spirit to believers is also recorded in Acts 10:19, 13:2 and 21:11. In each case, they heard clearly and obeyed immediately. Believers are given ears to hear the Holy Spirit when we are born again. So if we are not hearing His words clearly, why is that? Is there something wrong with our spiritual ears?
Several times in the gospel accounts when Jesus was teaching He said, “He who has ears, let him hear.” Again in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, at the end of each of the letters to the seven churches Jesus said, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” So apparently not all believers have ears that are listening or understanding the Spirit’s words or Jesus wouldn’t have needed to keep repeating that exhortation. And apparently it was important enough to keep repeating. So there must be ways that Christians can hinder that hearing. In Mark 8:17-21, Jesus tied His disciples’ inability to hear and understand to the condition of their hearts which were hardened by unbelief and a lack of memory. The disciples had already witnessed Jesus miraculously feed thousands, yet they either forgot or didn’t believe He would provide this time. How often do we forget what Jesus through His Spirit has already done, and so we don’t believe He will provide in our current circumstances? How often do we just not expect Him to do the miraculous? Unbelief affects our hearing because we’ll be listening for the language of the humanly possible, when the Holy Spirit speaks the language of the divinely impossible. Are we developing a keener sense of spiritual hearing through remembered experiences of God’s supernatural work and a growing knowledge of who He is through His Word?
Isaiah also made the connection between hard hearts and the reduction of spiritual hearing and understanding (Isaiah 6:9, 10) as did the author of Hebrews (Hebrews 3:7-13). But here God’s people weren’t able to hear because of hard hearts from disobedience and rebellion against God’s Word and will. If we can stifle the Spirit’s fire by our disobedience (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22), then wouldn’t it follow that His voice would be stifled in our lives as well? No one is sin-free, so all of us are prone to some amount of spiritual hearing loss, and all are in need of daily confession and forgiveness to regain it. Spiritual hearing begins in the heart where the Holy Spirit dwells, and clean, obedient hearts produce strong, spiritual ears. Do we long to hear the Holy Spirit speak clearly and powerfully? Then let’s get in the habit of confessing and obeying so the volume gets turned up when He speaks.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you that your Holy Spirit speaks to your people. Thank you for your Word that shows us how clearly and specifically He can speak to those who have ears to hear. Forgive us when our unbelief, lack of memory or disobedience make us hard-hearted and hard of hearing. Help us to remember your character, your promises and what you have done. Father we believe, help us in our unbelief. Strengthen and mature our faith, and help us to confess daily. Create in us pure hearts so the Spirit’s words don’t fall on deaf ears. In the great name of Jesus who dwells in our hearts through faith. Amen!