And the Father who sent me has himself testified about me. You people have never heard his voice nor seen his form at any time, nor do you have his word residing in you, because you do not believe the one whom he sent.- John 5:37-38

What an indictment by Jesus! These were the people who spent so much time reading the Word of God, but Jesus says, “you never heard his voice.” They read the word a lot but the Word was not residing in them. They were too religious to recognize God in human form, too religious to recognize the truth of His Words.

Sometimes people get so religious, so bound up by the doctrines and teachings of man that they don’t know how to hear God’s voice. When I was in Israel speaking with Rabbis, I found their devotion to the Word amazing. They memorize entire books of the Bible, but they trust what the other Rabbis through the ages have said about those words. They have memorized the words, but they have missed The Word.

I asked one Rabbi about a passage they were discussing, if the reference to God speaking had relevance for us today. He said that because our holiness is not up to the standard that it was for the forefathers, we couldn’t hear God anymore, as they could.

LORD, let us not be so religious that we can’t hear you!