Voices: Justin McCarty

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Sunday, July 16th

Just like a child knows the voice of his/her father, we were made to know God’s voice. Although God is faithful to speak, perhaps you find it difficult to pinpoint what God wants to share with you because you’re not sure what to listen for or because you’re not truly listening at all. How can we recognize God’s voice and respond to what He is whispering to us? Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.

1. Describe a characteristic, tone, feature, or phrase that others would recognize when you speak that would help them know it was you.

2. Do you listen for love in God’s voice? What does God’s love sound like to you?

3. Read Hebrews 4:12. Have you ever experienced God’s voice as a thought, a word, or a phrase that stood out to you and was later repeated like an echo while reading the Bible?

4. Read Isaiah 30:21. If you feel comfortable, share a time you feel God spoke truth to you in response to a difficult situation through a command that was comforting but also challenging. What kind of help did you experience that aided you in following God’s command?

5. Read Joshua 1:9. In what way has hearing God’s voice given you strength?

6. Describe a time you believe God spoke to you when you weren’t really expecting or seeking to hear His voice.

7. Jeremiah 33:3. What do you need to hear from God? Has He been speaking to you? Spend time this week calling out to God and trusting in the promise that you will hear His voice.

K E Y  S C R I P T U R E S

Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Isaiah 30:21 – Whether you turn to the right of the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Joshua 1:9 – This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Jeremiah 33:3 – Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know.

D I G G I N G  D E E P E R

Want to learn more about knowing the voice of God? Here’s an excerpt from a great online article from called “How Can We Recognize the Voice of God?”

This question has been asked by countless people throughout the ages. Samuel heard the voice of God, but did not recognize it until he was instructed by Eli (1 Samuel 3:1–10)….When we are listening for God’s voice, how can we know that He is the one speaking? First of all, we have something that Gideon and Samuel did not. We have the complete Bible, the inspired Word of God, to read, study, and meditate on. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). When we have a question about a certain topic or decision in our lives, we should see what the Bible has to say about it. God will never lead us contrary to what He has taught in His Word (Titus 1:2).

To hear God’s voice we must belong to God. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Those who hear God’s voice are those who belong to Him—those who have been saved by His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. These are the sheep who hear and recognize His voice, because they know Him as their Shepherd. If we are to recognize God’s voice, we must belong to Him.

We hear His voice when we spend time in Bible study and quiet contemplation of His Word. The more time we spend intimately with God and His Word, the easier it is to recognize His voice and His leading in our lives. Employees at a bank are trained to recognize counterfeits by studying genuine money so closely that it is easy to spot a fake. We should be so familiar with God’s Word that when someone speaks error to us, it is clear that it is not of God.

While God could speak audibly to people today, He speaks primarily through His written Word. Sometimes God’s leading can come through the Holy Spirit, through our consciences, through circumstances, and through the exhortations of other people. By comparing what we hear to the truth of Scripture, we can learn to recognize God’s voice.

To read the article in its entirety, head to

For more on the topic, also check out the book called When God is in the Whisper by Tara Browder