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“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If any man hear My voice, and open the door...” Revelation 3:20 This does not refer exclusively to men, but to anyone who will hear and respond. Some time ago, in Australia, a Scripture in I Corinthians 14 was applied literally, “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man.” Women were excluded and told they must remain silent. Rather, this speaks of “opportunity.” The only condition is that we hear and respond, which will result in a feast with the Lord as He “reveals” Himself to us in His “manifested presence.” This “experiencing” of the Lord’s manifested presence is available to all those who love the Lord, and demonstrate that love by their obedience. Its outworking will depend on how developed we are toward spiritual maturity, the Lord’s purpose for our lives, our spiritual hunger and capacity, or completely apart from us, the sovereign purposes of the Lord. Thus, it is not restricted to an isolated few or given because we are particularly holy. We should rejoice when the Lord condescends to use us. If we ever think that we are special because the Lord is using us, remember the wonder that He has anything to do with us at all. If we become proud because we are being used by the Lord in any way, think of Balaam’s donkey who prophesied to the prophet. If the Lord can use a donkey to speak, it is no great thing that He uses us. His “knocking” on this doorway of spiritual opportunity indicates the Lord’s singular desire to personally meet with us. Notice that the emphasis is on our “hearing and responding.” Since this is the voice of the Lord knocking, “spiritual perception and sensitivity” is required for us to hear. Our “capacity” for spiritual perception can be increased in several ways - through teaching, by our feeding on the Word, by our fellowship with the Lord, and by prayer. It is very important that we seek to improve our ability to hear His voice We should “guard” our “spiritual awareness” and never take this ability for granted. It is important that we never take for granted, not treat lightly, the Lord’s approach to us for fellowship. The Song of Solomon reveals a very high degree of intimacy between Solomon and the Lord. Yet toward the end of his life, Solomon turned so far from the Lord that his eternal state is left in doubt. In Italy, there is a painting of Solomon, which shows him coming up in the resurrection before the Throne of God, in which the saved are on the right and the lost on the left. As Solomon approaches, there is an expression on his face, which indicates that he does not know if he belongs on the right or the left. There is one Scripture that gives a bit of a hope, where the Lord said to David, “My mercy shall not depart from him.” At the zenith of his seeking the Lord, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask what I shall give you.” Consider what your answer would be if the Lord were to say this to you. Our answer would be synchromatic with our true spiritual state, as it would reveal where we stand spiritually. I can relate to this as I had a similar experience, but for a different purpose. Years ago, during a time of severe dealings, the Lord was grieved with me and took His Spirit from me for three days. Then after a time of severe disciplining, the Lord said, “Ask what I shall give you,” and I responded, “There is only one thing I would ask, that I might have Your Spirit to return.” Solomon’s response was, “Give me now wisdom.” In the Hebrew, the idea it carries is: “Give your servant a hearing heart.” There are two types of hearing - the natural faculty of hearing through our physical ear, and the inner spiritual faculty of spiritual perception. God is a Spirit and Psalm 94:9 tells us, “He that planted the ear, shall He not hear? He that formed the eye, shall He not see?” The Lord has no physical faculty of hearing, but rather, a spiritual faculty of hearing. Because we have these two diverse ways to hear, we tend to neglect our spiritual hearing. Therefore, Jesus emphasized our spiritual hearing, “He that has an ear to hear, let him hear.” They heard what Jesus was saying with their physical ear, but He reminded them that there is a much higher level of hearing by which we should hear. Only then can we know what He is really saying. In John’s messages to the seven Churches, he repeated to each of them, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.” This is an appeal to the inner hearing of the heart, which was the request of Solomon. When I retire at night, I often pray, “Give now Thy servant a hearing heart.” I am asking the Lord to help me to discern when He is knocking on the door of my heart, so I might respond. Many times, I have been asked, “How can I learn to better recognize the voice of the Lord?” The best way is through our “times of fellowship” with the Lord. Comparing Himself to a shepherd, Jesus said: “…The sheep follow Him: for they know His voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” John 10:4-5 These sheep were not “taught” how to recognize the voice of their shepherd. Rather, they came to “know” his voice because they spent so much time with him. The time we spend waiting upon the Lord is tremendously important. Along with this, we come to “recognize” the voice of the Lord through our “spiritual experiences.” The Holy Spirit will work with us and help us to learn the Lord's voice. Samuel is a good example of this. He had lain down to sleep and the Lord came and called Him. He ran to Eli thinking it was he who had called, but it was not. After he had come three times, Eli told him that it was the Lord who was calling him. Our translation says, “The word of the Lord was not yet revealed unto Samuel.” But the Hebrew reads, “The voice of the Lord was not yet made known to Samuel.” The best way to recognize His voice and leadings is by association. As we wait on the Lord and gain experience through our responses to His presence, we come to recognize and understand the voice of the Lord. A young child will usually cry when picked up by another. A newborn will not do this, but because the baby has spent much time with his mother, he has learned to recognize her. If I were to spend time with you, you would come to recognize the sound of my voice. But if instead, someone explained to you the sound of my voice, it is most probable that you would not recognize it when I came into your presence. There is a “progression” that we learn through experience that will lead us into His presence. “Behold I stand at the door and knock” - attention “If any man” - opportunity “Hear” - spiritual perception “My voice” - recognition “Open the door” - response There is no substitute for spending time in the presence of the Lord. As year by year, we grow spiritually, we will more easily recognize His voice.

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