What separates mankind from anything else in creation is our level of communication. We are made in both God’s image and likeness. We have the capacity to actually communicate with God, to talk with the One who never had a beginning and will never have an end.
I remember sitting in a church staff meeting and a Pastor around the table said, “can anyone truly hear the voice of God”. I looked at him completely shocked thinking, “Uh, you’re a Pastor?” If Pastors are not hearing the voice of the Lord then the people they lead are in trouble. So I looked at him and said, “YES!, It is possible to hear the voice of God because I just had a conversation with Him this morning. It’s called prayer.”
It is mind-boggling that we can actually have a conversation with God. He “hardwired” it in us. We have the capacity to talk with God.
God’s voice comes in many ways. Tuning into the frequency of His reality is vital to hearing His voice. For the record, God’s primary language is not English. His voice is multi-colored, multi-faceted, coming from the realms of heaven.
I want to give you twelve ways God talks to us. These ways are by no means exhaustive because God can get our attention in hundreds of different ways. Yet, these are what I would consider both normative and foundational. We will look at six now and six in in the next blog post.
1. The Bible – Hebrews 4:12
The primary way God speaks to us is the Bible. The Bible is the ultimate revelation of His voice. It’s the “litmus test”, “anchor”, the “filter” to measure all other things we feel the Lord might be saying to us. Though I believe God will never contradict His Word, I do believe He is bigger than it.
2. Visions – Acts 2:17, 2 Kings 6:14-17
The word vision means “to see”. Visions from God are heavenly scenes supernaturally imposed on the eyes and mind while one is awake. A scene you can see with the natural eye. The event found in 2 Kings 6:14-17 is an amazing example of an open vision.
3. Dreams – Acts 2:17
Dreams are a series of images and ideas that occur during sleep. Spiritual dreams originate in the Spirit and carry specific messages from the Lord. An encountering spiritual dream is where God speaks directly to the person in the dream (Genesis 31:24; Matt. 2:13). Another type of dream is where there is no direct voice and it needs to be interpreted (Daniel 2:27-28).
4. Mental Images – John 1:48
Mental pictures are images that occur in the mind while awake. They are snapshots from God that often come without warning or forethought. They often come when the gifts of the Spirit are in operation but are not limited to just the gifts. Like visions and dreams, mental images need to be prayed over before they are acted upon.
5. Audible Voice of the Lord – Mark 1:11, Acts 9:3-6
The audible voice of the Lord comes to us while we are awake and it sounds as if someone is talking to us directly. It can be heard clearly and carries with it a realm of God’s presence. Both Jesus (Mark 1:11) and Paul (Acts 9:3-6) experienced the audible voice of the Lord.
6. Still Small Voice – 1 Kings 19:11-13
The “still small voice” is sometimes called an “inner voice” where God speaks through the inner declarations by His Spirit to yours. This often comes to us when we slow down enough to listen. A busy mind is a hindrance to hearing the still small voice of the Lord.
Let me say something here. People begin to freak out when we discuss ways of hearing God’s voice outside of reading the Bible itself. What I am saying here is that all of these are found in the Bible and the voice of the Lord will not contradict His Word. I believe we need to raise up a people who, like Eli, trained Samuel (1 Samuel 3:9-11), to pay attention and hear Gods voice.
More to come.
Your Turn: Has the Lord spoken to you in any of these ways? Why is it so important for believers to hear the voice of the Lord?