God is a God who speaks. From Genesis to Revelation we see that God is always communicating to both His people and to those who do not believe in Him. The reason for this is simple-He loves His creation! He is longing for His sons and daughters to come home to Him and His heart is exploding with love for us that He cannot keep from expressing the deep desires in His heart.
At times, hearing God speak and knowing the different ways that He speaks can be a bit confusing-until we lean closer and learn to discern what He is saying. That is what we are going to study together for a few minutes. My heart has been grieved (along with God’s) when His people say, “God does not talk to me”, or “other people hear God really well, but I do not”. This simply is not true! We’ll prove it from scripture.
John 10:27 cuts straight through that misconception, ” My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Pretty straightforward! Jesus’ words have a way of cutting through lies, don’t they? If you are still not convinced, here is another truth that God says, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One and you know all things.” Beloved, you have the very Spirit of God living inside of you and have the same ability to hear Him as any other follower of Christ. Here are some ways that God is speaking that you may not have recognized or been taught that He speaks:
1. Through His Word. I am both saddened and amazed at how many of God’s people do not read the Word of God on a regular basis. Reading, meditating, and giving attention to and following His written words are not just a good idea but what will keep us alive! Jesus says in Matthew 4:4, “man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” This means both what is written and what He continues to speak to us daily. Imagine going a day without food. How would we feel? Would we have the strength to make wise decisions or strength to do what is needed? Yet we neglect what He says and act like it is optional to read His Word but still want to be led by Him. Everything that God continues to say to us beyond His Word is built upon what He has already said and who He is. If we do not know Him well through His Word, we are in danger of being led astray by deception or something else. The Bible contains sixty-six books written by numerous authors all inspired by the Spirit of God. So, none of us has an excuse to say God has never spoken to us!
2. Through an inner “knowing”. We have all had times where we were in a situation or with someone and we just had a “knowing” or confidence about what we should do. Often we miss that this is God speaking to us because we think it is just a thought or something “natural” and not “spiritual”. May I suggest to you that everything about our new lives and identities in Christ is new and “spiritual” (II Corinthians 5:17 and Romans 8:9)?
Here is an example of this:our youngest daughter Emily and I have been having some ongoing conversations about her feeling like God never talks to her. Yet, I have watched her blossom into a beautiful young lady who makes wise decisions based on good judgement and discernment of both situations and the character of others. I lovingly pointed out that this has been one of the ways that God talks to her. Her face lighting up told me that she was getting what I was saying and that misconceptions she had about how God speaks were being cleared up. Joy filled me as God used me to bring her closer to Him and to understand her relationship with God. My heart leaps when I see people getting it-truly getting-truths about their walk with God that transform them!
As you survey your lives, ask the Holy Spirit to show you times where you experienced similar things-whether it was a thought, a knowing, or feeling that you had about a person or situation and how God led you through those things. The lies of Satan will fall off as you realize that you DO hear from your heavenly Father and that He wants to talk to YOU!
3. A still, small voice. The prophet Elijah was someone who heard from God a lot-in fact-that was his job! In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God was not yet indwelling people but came upon people. Prophets were anointed by God to speak His words to the people, yet even they needed a lesson in hearing from God! Elijah just experienced one of his greatest victories by defeating four hundred false prophets and showing the nation who was the One True God, yet he struggled with knowing what to do in one of his greatest trials on the heals of his greatest victories. Here is what God says to him in I Kings 19:11-12, “Then He said, ‘”Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind;and after the wind and earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;and after the earthquake a fired, but the Lord was not in the fire;and after the fire, a still, small voice” (emphasis added).
I believe that God allowed this passage of scripture in His Word to not only record the history of what happened during this period in Israel with His people, but also to teach us how He relates to us today. Many have said, “I wish God would speak to me with a neon sign or a booming voice from heaven!” Really? That would freak me out! What our heavenly Father desires is that we are so close to Him, so close to His heart that we know what He is saying because we have learned His character and what He would say in any given situation. Also, He longs to be able to have the kind of relationship with us that He can whisper to us and we hear it because we are that close. While we usually do not begin our relationship with God communicating like this, this should be our goal. We all are still learning to lean in closer to His heart which closes out the noise of the world, our own soul, and our enemy so that we can clearly hear Him.
My desire is that after reading this, you would spend some time alone with Jesus and allow His Spirit to continue to teach you all truth (John 16:13). He has so much to say and so much that He has already said. Next week, we will discuss a few more ways that God speaks to us through the revelatory gifts that He has given to us such as words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophecy, and dreams and visions.