Hearing God

How is it that people can "hear" God speaking to them? Is it possible to "hear" the voice of God, or is that something we consign to days past? Modern thought would consign people who profess to have heard God's voice to a mental institution (were there any still open :-))

Everything we read about God in the Bible is written in the present tense: "God is.", not in the past tense: "God was.". God is well and truly alive, the living word, and we would expect to have communication with him. The only question is. how?

The primary method of communication by God to us is through His word: by reading the bible regularly, we are able to hear God speaking to us. There are times we read familiar passages, and it is as though we have seen a verse for the very first time. At other times we read, and the passage speaks directly to situations we are facing. Still other times there is that "quickening of the spirit", where there is that numinous sense of God speaking emerges from within: the sense that something important is being communicated. Reading the Bible is an important way of learning to hear God's voice - not only recognising the ways in which he has spoken, but knowing that same word comes alive for us.

But God also speaks in other ways: through the circumstances we face. When we seek God's guidance, we become aware of the ways in which he communicates through all creation: through the things people say to us, which (unbeknown to them) carry the voice of God; through the signs around us (I remember a time when a street sign carried a clear direction from God apart from its local setting); through barriers that he sets up. All these methods of speaking inevitably carry messages which are not contrary to what God has revealed through the Bible.

And there is the communication which is beyond words. Those moments where we simply know and enjoy the presence of God. This is of the essence of our love relationship with him: to spend time in his presence, and know the love that he has for us.

Without this present voice of God, which comes from God's desire to speak to us in our context and in the present moment, Christianity is in danger of being reduced to a set of rules which govern the way we live.

Perhaps it is for this reason that Hebrews says "TODAY if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart". Are you listening for God speaking to you?

June 4, 2000
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