Choose the Voice You Will Hear
3 “But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” 5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.” Acts 28:3-6 NKJV
Every day we get a choice. Either we are going to listen to the things that the world tells us, or we are going to listen to what the Word tells us about our lives. Paul had been shipwrecked on Malta, the incident is described above. Paul had to choose what he would listen to when disaster struck him. He receives a poisonous snake bite (as if being nearly drowned in the shipwreck was not enough). He could have chosen to listen to the training he had received throughout his life. This knowledge would have told him that a poisonous snake bite to your hand equals certain death.
Or he could have chosen to listen to the voices of the world, the voices of those men that surrounded him and spoke to him at that moment. He certainly heard from those watching and seeing him bitten that this snake was poisonous. He may well have heard their discussion about how he must be a murderer, and although he escaped death at sea, he was doomed by this venomous snake. They were waiting for him to swell up and die as a result of the bite. He certainly heard their voices pronouncing death to him. Theirs were the voices of the world.
Paul chose not to listen or even hear those voices that stood in contrast to the Word that he had. He listened to the voice of his Savior, who certainly was reminding Paul through the Holy Spirit of His promises being greater than anything in this world. He chose to hear the voice of the Lord rather than the voice of the world and the immediate voices around him. Because he chose to listen to the right voice, Paul lived and did not die.
Part of learning to hear the voice of the Lord is so that we can hear His promises loud and clear reminding us of His goodness when things in the world shout something contrary to us. No matter what the world is telling you, no matter what the voices of the world speak to you, even the voices of men who might seem to be in the “know”, don’t listen to those voices. If those voices speak things that are contrary to the Word and the promises of Jesus, then they are lies and should not be heard. Hear only His still small voice that is speaking to you as it assures you of your victory and deliverance in Him.
J Todd Hostetler