Sotto Voce is an Italian expression which means to “speak under one's breath” or to speak confidentially…literally "under voice.” In music, the term refers to a dramatic lowering of the vocal or instrumental tone -- not necessarily whispered, but with a hushed quality translated as meaning "Soft Voice.” Historically, God is known for speaking with a still, small voice; so, I’ve coined a new phrase that integrates music with scripture… “Sotto Voce Deo”… the “soft voice of God.”
Many will say that they have never heard the voice of God, yet He is ALWAYS speaking to us…we’re just not listening. And sometimes, even when we’re listening, we don’t always recognize that it’s the Lord’s spirit speaking to us or directing our daily lives.
Over the years, I’ve had many ask me how to know when God is speaking to us. Discerning His voice is not a special gift from Heaven, but rather, just taking the time to do so. Taking time to listen, seek, read, absorb, experience, rest and wait. Sometimes He speaks so softly so that we have to lean in real close to hear Him.
In I Kings 19:11-12, the Lord spoke to Elijah and said, “Go stand on the mountain, for the Lord is about to pass by. And then a mighty wind tore the mountains apart but the Lord wasn’t in the wind. Then there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. Then suddenly, after the fire came a gentle whisper.” This whisper was the voice of the Lord! We often expect earth-shattering moments, smoke, mirrors, and pyrotechnics if God should speak to us, yet He seems to revel in that still, small voice.
Many years ago, in the middle of the night, I woke up begging God, “Lord, I need to hear from you!” And immediately I heard a quite, yet powerful voice speak the following statement to my heart: “How do you expect to hear from someone you don’t know?” It really shook me up when I heard this, so I opened up my Bible and researched passages on “knowing God.” In John 10:14, 27, Jesus said, “"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me- My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” I realized immediately that I had not been obedient to what the Lord had asked me to do, and I understood why I had not heard from Him. In other words, we listen and then obey. And if we don’t obey what He has already directed, it is unlikely that we will hear His voice speak to us! The sheep (believers) will hear the voice of the shepherd and then they will obey what they have heard. This then becomes a perpetual promise… obey the Lord, and you will hear from Heaven! Fresh bread daily!
There is a deep hunger innate in all of us to commune with God and hear His voice speak to our hearts. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” And that can happen as often as we are able to quiet our bodies, minds and spirits to “tune-in” to what He has to say. However, let’s make sure we’ve already done what He has asked us to do so that there is no “break” in the flow of communication with Heaven! And the best news of all…God wants to speak to us more than we want to listen! Sotto Voce Deo!