Ears to Hear God Speak

I’m convinced that Vice President Pence is a sheep, a sheep who has returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of his soul, a sheep who listens to the voice of the Good Shepherd, a sheep who trusts and follows Jesus Christ. He has, after all, claimed that God tells him what to do.

It saddens me to know that some people categorize professing Christians as mentally ill or extreme, saddens me because I know personally the wonderful presence of Jesus in my life, the presence of One who frees, heals, and leads me each day. Yes, Mr. Vice President, God speaks to me, too.

The Bible reveals a God who has been speaking from the beginning of time.

Less than forty words into Genesis, the first page of the Bible proclaims, “God said, ‘Let there be light.'” Turning a page or two, we find God conversing with Adam, Eve, and Cain.

If we see the Bible as a rule book, a history book, or an outdated religious manual, we miss the story of God’s interaction with people, his intricate instructions given to Noah for building the ark, his detailed description given to Moses for assembling the tabernacle, his wise words given to his people as commandments and rules for living a healthy, holy life.

Looking closer, we find accounts of very personal interactions between God and individuals, individuals who hear God speak their own names, individuals including the Egyptian maidservant Hagar and the boy Samuel.

Granted, the Bible contains accounts of instructions given by God that seem crazy. Why would he tell an accomplished warrior named Joshua to march around Jericho for a week and then blow trumpets and shout to bring the city down? Why would God call Gideon, a man of low status and self-esteem, “Mighty warrior,” and then take the time to convince him that he really was God and that his crazy plan to defeat the enemy would work? When Gideon finally trusted God, he and a few men defeated the Midianites using only trumpets and jars containing torches. Read all about it in Judges 6 and 7.

During the time of Israel’s kings, God often spoke through prophets, prophets who were correct 100% of the time, distinguishing them from false prophets who told kings what they wanted to hear. Words spoken by God through prophets were recorded and preserved, eventually being included in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Then, about 400 years before Jesus was born, the prophecies stopped. This marked the end of the age, the wrapping up of the history contained in the Old Testament. God’s people waited and hoped for prophecies about a king to come true, a king who would be born to a virgin in Bethlehem, a king whose birth would be announced by angels to lowly shepherds and by a star to wise men of the east.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son  (Hebrews 1:1,2a)

The Bible I use has the words Jesus spoke printed in red. You can find his sayings in the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) and in Revelation, the last book of the Bible. Jesus did address the topic of hearing from God.

For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. (John 12:49)

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,

I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:2)

What does God’s voice sound like?

Is it the still small voice that Elijah heard? Yes. Does it sound like rushing waters as described in Revelation? Yes. Should we expect a loud voice, described by John as like a trumpet? Yes. Does it sound like thunder? To some, yes.

Words of God the Father are recorded in accounts of three events of Jesus’s life: his baptism, his transfiguration, and during his prediction of his death. Each time, it seems that distinguishable words were heard by some, while others heard a noise like thunder.

The twenty-sixth chapter of the Bible’s book of Acts gives a fascinating account of the apostle Paul’s court hearing before Judea’s King Agrippa and the Roman Governor Festus. After Paul testifies to hearing a voice speaking to him in Aramaic, identifying himself as Jesus and commissioning Paul to take the gospel to the gentiles, Festus interrupts the proceedings, shouting, “You are out of your mind, Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane.” (Acts 26:24) Mr. Vice President, you and I are in good company among the flock of our Good Shepherd.

Just days ago, news went out all over the world of the death  of Billy Graham, known as America’s Pastor. Click on the question below to read Reverend Graham’s brief and helpful answer.

Does God speak to people today in a voice they can hear, like he did in Bible times?

 

 

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