We sometimes joke about “selective hearing.” The voice of your spouse is so distinctive that it is easier to hear and ignore, according to new research. It also found that people (particularly those who are middle-aged) are able to separate and ignore a familiar voice to hear an unfamiliar voice better. This was the problem in Isaiah’s day, they were listening to a voice other than God’s.
As I was reading yesterday, I came across something gripping in Isaiah 30 (vs 21): And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
My attention was captivated by the words “behind you”. Somehow we have it firmly rooted in our minds that God is always out in front “leading us”. But have you ever paused to consider the thought that sometimes God is “pushing us”?
Remember when the Israelites were wandering around in the desert? God was gracious and He sent a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to “lead them”. The instructions really weren’t that hard: When the cloud turned right, they turned right. If the cloud went forward, they went forward. When the cloud stopped, they pitched their tents and camped out. But you’ll remember that the cloud purposefully led them to a dead end, the Red Sea. Pharaoh and his army were closing in fast. Then something happened that only God could do. The pillar that had been leading them made a big U-turn and went behind them and created an impenetrable barrier. Matter of fact, God created daytime for the Israelites on one side of the cloud, and night-time for the Egyptians on the other side. It was for their protection and to show them that faith was going to play a big factor in the next step, walking across the Red Sea…on dry land.
When God speaks from “behind” you, He’s urging you to take a step of faith, because He knows where you’re going even if you don’t. After all, if you have all the information ahead of time, it’s really not faith, is it?
The pushback to stepping out in faith is to use Gideon’s example of putting out a fleece to determine God’s will. I would encourage you to re-read that entire scenario (Judges 6). Gideon wasn’t trying to determine God’s will. God had actually already told Gideon what to do. Gideon just couldn’t believe that God had called him to do the job, he was simply confirming the task that God had called him to do. Remember, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us to confirm God’s voice, Gideon did not.
You may be stepping out into the unknown, or you may need to accept the fact that God is “pushing you” to start, but as you go, you need to listen carefully to that voice behind you whispering in your ear saying, ‘keep going – THIS is the way’. Be cautious of “selective hearing”. Don’t ignore that familiar voice.