In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV
Let’s look at a few of the ways God spoke to various people in the Bible. Moses heard God’s voice come from a burning bush, Joseph heard God’s voice in dreams. Balaam heard God in the voice of a donkey, David heard God through the rebuke of Nathan the prophet. Elijah heard God on both Mt. Carmel in the fire and in the still small voice on Mt. Horeb. Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, heard God’s voice in dreams, and Mary heard from God by way of an angel’s visit, as did Abraham. Peter had a vision about clean and unclean food, and God used it to help him understand more fully that the gospel was for gentiles as well Jews. Paul heard an audible voice on the road to Damascus and became a believer in Jesus instead of a persecutor of His people.
How do we listen for and hear the voice of God? In what way has he spoken to you and me? First, Jesus tells his disciples,
He who belongs to God hears what God says. John 8:47a NIV
Then He speaks about the role of the Holy spirit,
When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. John 15:26 NIV
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.
He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. John 16:12-15 NIV
But how do we actually “hear” God’s voice? For me, God primarily speaks through scripture – often a phrase or a word seems to jump off the page and grabs my attention. If we want to hear God’s voice, we need to be regularly reading the Bible. Music often speaks God’s truth to me – when I am still and able to hear it. Often God uses sermons or teaching to proclaim His truth to me. When I am praying, often the Holy Spirit prompts me to pray for someone, or for a situation, or I become aware of an attitude or sin I need to confess to God. If we want to hear God’s voice, we need to be regularly praying, and spending some of that time simply listening to hear what God has to say. Frequently during my daily activities, the Holy Spirit reminds me of a person who has a need, and He prompts me to meet that need.
How do we know if it is the voice of God we are hearing? God’s voice will always sound like Jesus: because Jesus is God, His voice will align with His own teaching.
Spend some time listening to God’s voice. Choose one of these ways listed above, or something else that works for you. Remember, Elijah heard God in the still small voice on Mt. Horeb.