I heard an excellent message this past weekend by my Pastor entitled “Hearing God’s Voice” in which he explored the various ways Gods speaks.
Does God still speak in this day in age? You bet he does! In fact, God has never stopped speaking not only to those who love and serve him but to those who don’t as well.
There are three facts we need to understand about God speaking to His creation (Job 33:14):
- God speaks…
- He speaks in many ways…
- and man may not perceive it. Why?
The last item is a good question. Even though God has and is still speaking, why do so many people fail to hear His voice? The first reason should be obvious – they are unbelievers.
Even when God was on the Earth in physical form in the person of Jesus Christ, many did not hear his voice. They heard the words that were coming out of His mouth but they did not understand them. Jesus told those who followed Him that it had been granted to them to understand the things He was saying to them but to those who did not follow Him, they were kept in the darkness.
If you are a Christian now, do you ever recall trying to read the Bible prior to experiencing salvation? I did. I also recall it not making any sense to me. It was a mystery because I was blind to the truth and deaf to God’s voice.
What about Christians? Are they sometimes deaf to God’s voice? Absolutely, but what could cause such a handicap? Many things but mostly complacency and distractions.
Complacency is defined as “feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation or condition,” while distractions are all the things in life that simply keep us from the things of God.
It would be easy enough to hear God speak if He spoke in a deep powerful voice like James Earl Jones or even in a clap of thunder. Most often though, God speaks in a still small voice… a soft quiet voice that we have to be paying attention in order to hear (I Kings 19:11-13).
There are essentially three ways God speaks – through creation, through commandments (Bible) and through our conscience. Yes he has spoken audibly in the past and very likely still does (I haven’t experienced it). For most of us, we will hear God in one or all of these ways.
Romans 1:18-20 reads –
18. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19. since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Someone may ask you, “Where is God? Show Him to me right here and right now!” However, they have already seen Him. God is revealed in His creation. In other words, the intricacy of our world itself proves that there is a God and that He is speaking through it.
For someone to believe that this world all came about by a big explosion or evolved from nothing — they have more faith than I do believing in a God I have never seen in physical form. The unbeliever would ask as to why God doesn’t just show up in physical form in this modern age. “If I saw Him, I’d believe and I’d listen.”
Actually that is not true. If we saw God in all His glory, we’d die. We’d vaporize into a pile of dust!
In the book of Exodus 33:20-23 where Moses asked to see God’s face, He replied, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Then then said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
God is so glorious that we cannot look upon Him in our present state, at least and live to tell about it. Try staring at the sun in all its glory. You can’t do it. And yet I believe the sun’s glory is but a wee fraction of God’s glory.
Probably the easiest way to “hear God’s voice” is through His written word — the Bible. God’s word is living and not only contains commandments and guidelines to help us have an abundant life, it contains promises, historical data, prophetic data and multiple life examples we can learn from.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
It is not just words and paper but God breathed. This is why the Bible came alive to you after you were saved. Prior to salvation, it is hard to decipher and not very interesting. However, once a person is born again, it is like its words have been decoded. Our understanding is quickened and God speaks to us through His written word.
Finally God speaks through our conscience. This is that hypothesized ability or faculty within us that helps us to distinguish whether our actions are right or wrong. In essence, it is your though patterns and processes. God speaks in there… if we will listen. In this day and age where we are bombarded with information overload, it is often hard to hear God with our conscience. That doesn’t mean He isn’t speaking though.
It becomes a discipline for us to not only learn how to slow down so we can hear Him speaking there but to discern which is His voice, which is our own or even which is the enemy (Satan.)
Here is one tip in distinguishing God’s voice from let’s say the enemy and that is that whatever God says to you will always line up with His word.
If you tell me that God said it was okay to skip out on paying your taxes, I’d remind you that His Word tells us to obey the laws of the land. If you tell me that God ordered you to kill another person in cold blood, I’d remind you of the 6th Commandment which says “do not commit murder.” If you know God’s Word well, it will be easy to distinguish His voice. If not, then you may misunderstand what you think is His voice for your own or even that of our enemy.
In summary, God is still speaking to us in many ways. It is up to us to learn to listen and remember that the Christian life is not a monologue but rather a dialog.