The Bible records God speaking audibly to people many times (Exodus 3:14; Joshua 1:1; Judges 6:18; 1 Samuel 3:11; 2 Samuel 2:1; Job 40:1; Isaiah 7:3; Jeremiah 1:7; Acts 8:26; 9:15 – this is just a small sampling). There is no biblical reason why God could not
or would not speak to a person audibly today. With the hundreds of times the Bible records God speaking, we have to remember
that they occur over the course of 4,000 years of human history. God speaking audibly is the exception, not the rule. Even in the bible recorded instances of God speaking, it is not always clear
whether it was an audible voice, an inner voice, or a mental impression.
does speak to people today. First, God speaks to us through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Isaiah 55:11 tells us, “So is my word
that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for
which I sent it.” The Bible records God’s words, everything we need to know in order
to be saved and live the Christian life. Second Peter 1:3 declares,"According as his divine power
has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who has called us to glory
God speaks through impressions, events, and thoughts. God helps us to discern right
from wrong through our consciences (1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 3:16). God is in the process of conforming our minds to think His thoughts (Romans 12:2). God allows events to occur in our lives to direct us, change us, and help us to grow
spiritually (James 1:2-5; Hebrews 12:5-11). First Peter 1:6-7 reminds us:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now
for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater
worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and
honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
THE BIBLE IS HIS
DIRECT COMMUNICATION WITH US
The primary way God commands us
is through His Word. “All
Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (See
again 2 Timothy 3:16). If Scripture commands something of us, there’s no need to hesitate & wonder
if it’s really God’s will for us. He cares so much about us that He already gave a plain and clear guidebook to
life – the Bible. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path”
(Psalm 119:105). “The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The
statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according
to Your Word” (Psalm 119:9).
Likewise, God never, ever contradicts Himself, so He’ll never
ask you to something contradictory to Scripture. He will never ask you to sin. He will never ask you to do something Jesus
Christ wouldn’t do. We need to immerse ourselves in the Bible, so we will know which actions meet God’s standards.
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth: meditate on it day and night, so that
you may be careful to do everything that is written in it” (Joshua 1:8).
What we are not
to do is expect to hear voices from God. There is a dangerous trend today where people seek to hear a “word
from the Lord,” extraneous to the words He has already given us in the Bible. “The
Lord told me . . .” has become the mantra of experience-driven Christianity. Unfortunately,
what He “tells” one person often contradicts what He “tells” another, and these extra-biblical
revelations have proven to be very divisive, tearing apart church after church as one person’s experience seeks to take
precedence over another’s. This results in chaos, benefiting no one except Satan, who loves to sow discord among believers.
IT IS ALSO USED TO GATHER A FOLLOWING BY ADDING OR SUBTRACTING SOMETHING FROM HIS WORD THAT SETS THE PERSON APART AS A "TEACHER".
may sometimes speak audibly to people.
It is highly doubtful, though, that this occurs as often as some people claim it does. Again, even in the Bible, God speaking
audibly is the exception, not the ordinary. If anyone
claims that God has spoken to him/her, always compare what is said with what the Bible says. If God were to speak today, His
words would be in full agreement with what He has said in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God does not contradict
We should make the Apostle Peter our example in these matters. In spite of the miraculous
experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, where he beheld the glorified Christ speaking with Moses and Elijah who came from
heaven, Peter refused to rely on that experience, declaring instead that “We also have the more
sure prophetic word which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:18-19
IS THAT YOU GOD?
question has been asked by countless people throughout the ages. Samuel heard the voice of God, but did not recognize it until
he was instructed by Eli (1 Samuel 3:1-10). Gideon had a physical revelation from God, and he still doubted what he had heard to
the point of asking for a sign, not once, but three times (Judges 6:17-22, 36-40). When we are listening for God's voice, how can we know that He is the one speaking?
First of all, we have something that Gideon and Samuel did not. We have the complete
Bible, the inspired Word of God, to read, study, and meditate on.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When we have a question about a certain topic or decision in our lives, we should see what the Bible has to say about it. God will never lead us or direct us contrary
to what He has taught or promised in His Word (Titus 1:2).
Second, to hear God's voice we must recognize it. Jesus said, “My
sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Those who hear God’s voice are those who belong to Him—those who have been
saved by His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. These are the sheep who hear and recognize His voice, because they know
Him as their Shepherd and they know His voice. If we are to recognize God's voice, we must belong to Him. AND
WHAT WE HEAR WILL BE ACCORDING TO HIS WORD.
Third, we hear His voice when we spend time in prayer, Bible
study, and quiet contemplation of His Word. The more time we spend intimately with God and His Word, the easier it is to recognize
His voice and His leading in our lives. We should be so familiar with God’s Word that when God does speak to us
or lead us, it is clear that it is God. God speaks to us so that we may understand truth. While God can speak audibly to people,
once again: He speaks primarily through His Word, and sometimes through the
Holy Spirit to our consciences, through circumstances, and through other people. By
applying what we hear to the truth of Scripture, we can learn to recognize His voice.
WILL FOR US
Pray, especially when you’re unsure of
God’s will for your life. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously
to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him”
(Psalm 37:7). If you don’t know what to pray, you can always personalize & pray verses
such as, “Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8) and, “Guide me in Your truth and teach me”
have the Holy Spirit to discern what is, or is not, God’s will for our lives. “The Spirit
of truth . . . will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). Sometimes the Holy Spirit will either agitate our conscience if we’re making
a wrong decision, or He will pacify and encourage us when we’re leaning toward the right decision. Even if He doesn’t
intervene in such noticeable ways, we can have confidence that He’s always in charge. Sometimes God can alter a situation
without us even realizing He has acted. “The Lord will guide you always” (Isaiah 58:11).
If God is calling you to take a leap of faith, be encouraged by His presence.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). And remember, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He
cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on
your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
GOD GIVE VISIONS
In many parts of the world, God seems to be using visions and dreams extensively. In areas where there is little or no gospel
message available, and where people do not have Bibles, God is taking His message to people directly through dreams and visions.
This is entirely consistent with the biblical example of visions being frequently used by God to reveal His truth to people
in the early days of Christianity.
If God desires to communicate
His message to a person, He can use whatever means He finds necessary—a missionary, an angel, a vision, or a dream.
Of course, God also has the ability to give visions in areas where the gospel message is already readily available. There
is no limit to what God can do.
At the same time, we must be careful
when it comes to visions and the interpretation of visions. We must keep in mind that
the Bible is finished, and it tells us everything we need to know. The key truth is that if God were to give a vision, it
would agree completely with what He has already revealed in His Word. Visions should never be given equal or greater authority
than the Word of God.
Word is our ultimate authority for Christian faith and practice. If you believe you have had
a vision and feel that perhaps God gave it to you, prayerfully examine the Word of God and make
sure your vision is in agreement with Scripture. Then prayerfully consider what God would
have you do in response to the vision (James 1:5). God would not give a vision to a person
and then keep the meaning of the vision hidden. In Scripture, whenever a person asked God for the meaning of a vision, God
made sure it was explained to the person (Daniel 8:15-17).