To reclaim something you must first believe it is has been misplaced or lost. A large number of Christians no longer believe God still speaks through people with prophetic gifts or through people who are passionately pursuing him. Therefore, the only place they believe God speaks is through Scripture. I happen to believe that God does speak primarily through Scripture, but I also believe he speaks present tense to people who are listening in other ways. I also believe if God speaks in a secondary manner apart from the Bible we should check what we hear to make sure it bears witness with his written Word. When God speaks in one of these methods it will never contradict what he has already said in Scripture.
To hear God speak we must learn to listen. One of the best ways to do this is to simply look at the ways in which God speaks. We have a record of the various ways God communicates in the Bible. Being aware of these will help us tune in to God’s wavelength and enable us to hear his voice.
When God speaks we call it revelation. He reveals who he is, what he is doing, or what he wants us to do. Revelation is God making something known that we did not know or could not know through our natural senses. Revelation comes in a host of different ways. People are different and they hear God communicate differently. Why? I don’t know, but God will communicate with you in way you can hear if you will learn to listen.
As I said before, God speaks primarily to all believers through his written Word. The Bible is God’s authoritative word to all people no matter where or when they lived. If you want to hear God speak—read the Bible. Learn the tenor of his voice sound and immerse yourself in the makeup of his will. Develop a sensitivity to the things that please him. This will help you hear him when he speaks to you through a secondary method.
Another way God spoke in the Bible is through a personal apearances. Sometimes it was in a vision or dream, but he also appeared in physical form. I believe those personal appearances in the Old Testament were made by the pre-incarnate Jesus. He did not have to appear—he could have sent angels—but he did come. If he appeared this way in the past, there is nothing in Scripture that says he can’t do it again if he wants to. Many Muslims in the Middle East are reporting visitations of Jesus, which are resulting in their turning to faith in Christ.
The Lord also sends messages by his angels. This is a common method he uses. The Greek meaning for the word angel means messenger.
God also speaks audibly. He did so throughout Scripture to individuals, groups, and even the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai. He spoke to Moses, to Jesus (at his baptism, transfiguration, and before his crucifixion and others heard it), and to Paul. He has not suddenly gone silent. He can use this method if he chooses.
God can also speak audibly for your ears only. Samuel heard God speak, but Eli did not.
There is also the internal audible voice of God that you hear, not with your ear, but with your heart. Many of the prophets heard this as the word of God came to them.
Next blog we will look at some other ways God speaks.