He conversed with Adam in the first garden. He told Noah to build an ark. He spoke to Moses in a burning bush. He promised Abraham a son. Paul heard His voice on the way to Damascus. But does God still speak to us today? If so, how? When? Where?
Often when people ask this question, they are talking about an audible voice. And God can do that. He can do anything He wants. He’s God. Why then, can’t I hear God speak to me audibly, someone might ask?
I can’t answer questions that the Bible does not make clear. And the way God works is one of those questions. I do think “hearing God speak” may mean different things to different people. To some, it may suggest, “I need answers for my life, or this particular crisis.” Another may say, “I’ve asked God for _________, but He never answers me.
Because God treats each of us as unique children, He doesn’t communicate the same way to all of us. However, here are eight ways God often speaks to us today.
Eight Ways God Speaks to Us Today
1. God Speaks Through His Word in general.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that all Scripture is “God-breathed.” His Word sometimes gives us a warning, a word of encouragement, or a lesson for life. It’s “His-story”–written with love as God’s guide for life, “so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
That means God is whispering, and sometimes shouting, all through His Word, giving us instructions and principles for life. As we interpret Scripture by other Scripture, we avoid the false logic and misinterpretations that sneak into our world. If someone claims, “God told me to go kill my neighbor!” would you believe him? Of course not! God never violates His own Word or principles. That “voice” does not belong to God.
I needed help for raising my children. God “told” me about that in His Word, especially in Proverbs. Marriage difficulties? God spoke about that as well. Times when I was afraid? I “heard” Jesus’ words to His disciples as they feared for their lives one stormy night: “Peace, be still!” and it was as if God was speaking to me, too (Luke 8:23-25).
2. God Speaks Through His Son, Jesus Christ
The New Testament was the fulfillment of God’s special plan. It’s the gospel: the good news of Jesus Christ. “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” (Hebrews 1:1-2, NIV).
Through the words of Jesus in Scripture, we can “hear” God’s heart and God’s voice–and know what God is truly like. These words were not written for a few, select individuals who could jump through the right spiritual hoops (“For God so loved the world….”). Someone in Africa, in Germany, in China, and in Alabama can “hear” Jesus’ voice by reading the same Bible.
Comparing us to sheep and He as the Shepherd, Jesus says in John 10:27, NKJV: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Why? Because the sheep know who He is. They belong to Him, and they recognize Him by the sound of His voice. And He’s the one who will always lovingly lead them on the right path–again and again.
3. God Speaks Through Nature and God’s Creation
“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 ” (Romans 1:20, NIV). Through the intricate details and magnificent beauty of all that God has made, we can “hear” His voice. How? By observing the ant’s strength to store up food all summer long, we learn about wisdom and industriousness. By studying the heavens, we understand more of God’s greatness. And through planting and growing a garden, we “hear” about miracles of death and rebirth. God designed–and spoke them all into existence.
4. God Speaks Through Other Believers
God may use a friend, a teacher, a parent, or a preacher to convey His message of truth to us. Their words may come as a warning, a blessing, or as a prophetic truth about our lives.Whether we choose to hear it or ignore it, depends on us. Do their words line up with Scripture? Will God confirm or affirm that truth in us? “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere” (James 3:17, NIV).
I’ve “heard” God speak to me numerous times through other people. A good friend once cautioned me about flirting with danger. Words from a speaker or Christian author have both challenged me and convicted me at times. And I’ve “heard” God talking to me through my own children as their pure and honest words cut clear to my heart and spirit, reminding me of God’s true priorities.
All these things may not sound to you like ways of “hearing God’s voice,” but it’s possible to reduce God to our own image if we insist on Him acting or reacting a certain way. God is bigger than that. He once spoke through a donkey (Numbers 22:28). Why then, can’t He speak through anyone at anytime or in any way He wants to?
Bottom line is that if we are His children, God loves us unconditionally and will spare no expense to show us. Our part? Believe Him!
Hearing His “audible” voice would no doubt cinch His reality in an awesome way. But I’ve never heard God through an angel’s message. I have no taped recordings to tell you what God sounds like. But I have heard God “speak” through the above ways–and in a few more I’ll tell you about next week in Part 2. Is there ever a time when God is silent? I believe so. We’ll talk about that, too. See you next week!
*This has been one my most popular blogs. I’m printing this two-part series again, because I believe God’s truths about the subject are timeless.
How does God speak to you? Are there times when God has been silent in your life?