Saul, later to become the Apostle Paul, was headed in the wrong direction. I can relate to that. He was on his way to arrest Christians and have them incarcerated. I was on my way toward believing in incarnation. We both were earnest in our thinking, yet we were both believing lies and going the wrong way. Hearing Jesus changed everything.
Paul later told what happened to him. He was near Damascus, when, “about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’” (Acts 22:6–8) Paul met the living God and heard Him speak. At that, his life was changed.
For me, I also saw light. I did not hear a voice but I knew at that instant that the living God was in the room and speaking to me. His message? That Jesus Christ is God in human flesh and He came to die for my sin. At that, my life was also changed.
For those who seek God, I offer this advice: Ask Him to seek you, to speak to you, to make Himself known. Whatever He does may come as a surprise, but hearing Him will change your life.
After hearing and responding to Jesus in the obedience of faith, Christians never forget the voice of God. The Bible says, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:3–4)
Last night, a young boy, perhaps about eight, gave a one-word reason at a prayer meeting why he loved God: communication. Even at his age, he hears the voice of the Lord and knows it. How delightful! Not everyone does.
When brought before Pilate, Jesus heard him ask, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37)
Pilate may have heard Jesus speak, but he didn’t hear Him. There is a difference. He was without faith and demonstrated it in his inability to hear.
The same thing happened when Jesus spoke to Saul/Paul. This man heard, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He responded by asking, “Who are you, Lord?” but the “men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.”
Nothing is said about Saul’s traveling companions other than they didn’t get it. However, Saul heard and the voice of Jesus directed him to the place where “for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9:4–9), but then would be given a mission. His life was changed and he changed the world because he heard Jesus speak.
I’m not Paul nor has God given me a mission like his. However, I did hear Him that day when He changed my life, and I still hear Him. He calls me to obey whatever I hear and I have no excuses; I know His voice.