How Does God Speak?
Posted on 08/14/2016 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
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So...... Have you ever wanted to hear something from God? Maybe you asked Him for guidance and direction. Maybe you wanted to know how to please Him more. Maybe you had questions that you thought you must have answered.
Whatever the story, perhaps you feel as though you did, indeed, hear the voice of God. Or maybe, instead, all you heard was silence. And you just might have wondered Why? and How can I hear the voice of God?
Well, for the next few minutes, I'd like for us to take a look throughout the Scriptures, and see if we can't find the answer to the question, How Does God Speak?
Let's take a look at eight different ways God spoke in Biblical history. This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways God speaks, but at the end, we will consider whether, to hear God's voice, we really need a list at all.
1. An Audible Voice.
In 1st Samuel chapter 3, we see an example of a time God spoke audibly.
1 Samuel 3:3-14 (NKJV)
3 Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.
2 And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see,
3 and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down,
4 that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, "Here I am!"
5 So he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me."
And he said, "I did not call; lie down again." And he went and lay down.
6 Then the Lord called yet again, "Samuel!"
So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." He answered, "I did not call, my son; lie down again."
7 (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)
8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you did call me."
Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy.
9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, 'Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!"
And Samuel answered, "Speak, for Your servant hears."
Now, at this point, the skeptic would say, "It's just the wind, or a wild beast, or a dream, or your imagination. It's not uncommon for people to think they hear someone calling their name."
But God wasn't done talking.
11 Then the Lord said to Samuel: "Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.
12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.
13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.
14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever."
So God didn't really have anything nice to say. But it was important and perfect nonetheless.
Okay, so when God speaks, He speaks in a way that we can hear with our ears and understand with our mind. Right?
"God, why won't you speak to me? Other ways are nice, but hearing an audible voice is the ultimate."
But to say one voice of God, the form we hold dear, is somehow better than any other voice He might choose, just might show us our priorities and our perceptions are flawed at best.
Anyway, that's how God speaks, right? With a voice we can hear. Well, let's go on to the second example:
How about the time the angel Gabriel paid a visit to Mary.
Luke 1:26-27 (NKJV)
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
And this is only one example out of many, many times God delivered a message through angels. The word Angel, after all, means Messenger.
Okay, so when God speaks to me, it will be either through an audible voice, or through an angel (who also happens to use an audible voice).
Okay God, speak to my ears or send that angel!
But wait... We're not even half way through our list. And the next example of how God speaks is...
We just saw an angel speaking to Mary. Well here is her husband Joseph, hearing from God in a dream.
Matthew 1:19-21 (NKJV)
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
Okay, so this one is kind of a combo deal. It's an angel, but the angel is in a dream. Regardless, there are many examples of God speaking through dreams.
And dreams tie in nicely with the next example:
Acts 10:9-13 (NKJV)
9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.
10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance
11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.
12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.
13 And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."
Alright, so we have two combos in a row: An angel in a dream, and an audible voice in a vision.
Of course this vision had nothing to do with food, and everything to do with giving the bread of heaven to the Gentiles. But that's another topic altogether.
So God speaks in an audible voice, through angels, through dreams, and through visions. So send them on, Lord! I know that when you speak to me, it will be one of these things!
But wait, we're only half way through our very small list of the countless ways God has spoken to mankind throughout history.
Numbers 22:21-30 (NKJV)
21 Then God's anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.
23 Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road.
24 Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side.
25 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck her again.
26 Then the Angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.
27 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam’s anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.
28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?"
29 And Balaam said to the donkey, "Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!"
30 So the donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?"
And he said, "No."
Okay, so this one is a bit humerous. Not only did God cause a donkey to speak, but Balaam didn't seem the least bit surprised.
Anyway, we can add this one to our list of ways we can expect God will speak to us. Through a donkey. Don't have one? Maybe God will speak to you through your cat or dog. Or through a bird that lands on your window.
"How do you know what God wants you to do?"
"Oh, it's easy. A little bird told me."
Okay, so if God doesn't talk to you at the animal shelter, maybe He will use our sixth example:
That's the ticket: to hear God's voice, take a trip to Vegas!!!
Exodus 28:30 (NKJV)
30 And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the Lord. So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the Lord continually.
The Urim and Thummim were kind of like dice, or tea leaves, or cards, or many of the other things we would consider occult and totally off limits. But the Israelites used this method to hear from God.
They also used this concept in the New Testament when they were seeking God's guidance on who to choose to be an apostle.
Acts 1:26 (NKJV)
26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
So maybe this one won't be how you believe God could possible speak to you. Roll dice? To hear God's voice? Nonsense! Heresy!
But don't worry, we still have two more examples from which God is allowed to choose to speak to You today.
7. The Mouths of Others
We read the Scriptures searching for the voice of God. And certainly, He speaks through the words written down by Godly men of old. Just as He does today.
So do we combine dice with the mouths of others, and open up the Bible to a random page to hear the voice of God? Some people have actually had that work.
But let's skip that speculation and go on to the eighth and final example of how God speaks to us Today.
8. Everywhere in Everything.
Proverbs 1:20-21 (NKJV)
20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
21 She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words.
Outside, in the public. In the open squares. Where people come in, and where they go out. Basically, everywhere, in everything, all the time.
Through an audible voice, through angles, through dreams, through visions, through donkeys, through dice, through others, even those you may not expect, and through everything else:
Circumstances, situations, the words of
heretics, a flat tire, a lost job, an angry customer, a violent criminal, an atheist, a New Ager, a Hindu, Buddhist, or Satanist, a burning house, an exploding bomb, the wind in the trees, the silence in the early morning, a disease in the body, a distress in the mind;
Why try to limit God, when God is Limitless?
And why despise the voice of God, coming to you from everyone, from everything, from everywhere, at every moment of every day of your life?
Let go of the drama of this life, and dwell with God in His Presence in His Temple, and recognize Him in all these things.
He is speaking to you, whether for wisdom and direction, for comfort and healing, for provision and care,or for none of these:
His voice is not just for imformation and material and physical things; it is also for the Deep which calls to Deep.
"Be with me. Watch all these things go by. Watch them rise and fall. Watch them come and go. Interact with them when appropriate, with all you have, but stay here in Presence with Me."
Do you hear His voice today? Then answer His call to dwell in His Presence always Here, always Now. And be fully and eternally at Peace.