How does God speak to us? He spoke to Samuel from the foot of the lad’s bed. He spoke to Moses from a burning bush? He spoke again from fire and smoke at Mount Sinai. Elijah listened for God in the wind, an earthquake, a fire, but no, He spoke in none of these. Instead, God spoke in a still small voice. He spoke to some as the Angel of the Lord (the preincarnate Christ), and by His heavenly messengers, the angels. He spoke to many in dreams. He spoke through the Law and the Prophets. He even used a donkey to speak to a wayward prophet. He spoke audibly at the baptism of Christ and on the Mount of Transfiguration. We know that our God speaks to us in many different ways.
Do we hear Him?
A.W.Tozer says, “There are truths that can never be learned except in the noise and confusion of the market place or in the tough brutality of combat. The tumult and the shouting teach their own rough lessons. No man is quite a man who has not been to the school of work and war, who has not heard the cry at birth and the sigh at life’s parting.”1 Our God surely does speak in the mean streets of our life experiences.
Do we hear Him?
With the holy writ complete at Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, God almost always does His speaking to us through His Word. Certainly, the Holy Spirit can impress His will upon our mind and heart in such a way, that we know that we know, God has spoken to us. Yet, even in this, the Spirit’s message will be aligned with scripture and never in contradiction to it. How often do we hear people say, “God spoke to me, and told me…” followed by a stream of off the wall gobbledygook? Our God speaks to us mainly through His Word.
But, even with an open Bible in our laps, do we hear Him?
Again, Tozer says, “But there is another school where the soul must go to learn its best eternal lessons. It is the school of silence. Be still and know, said the psalmist, and there is a profound philosophy there, of universal application.”1 There is a saying that silence is golden. It is precious like the metal because it is so hard to find in a screaming world. One must purpose to find it. Tozer adds, “We have so much to learn about heart stillness. To be calm and quiet smacks of inactivity, doing nothing. But cultivating heart stillness may be our most valuable activity because then we can hear God’s gentle whisper.”1 Our God speaks best when we are quiet before Him.
Do we hear Him?
In the Christian world being a “hearer” has gotten to be a bit of a negative construct. There is a reason for this and it is found in the oft quoted passage from the book of James: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (Vs. 22-25) This writer believes and agrees with this scripture whole-heartedly. It is plain. It makes perfect sense. It is true. However, in a world (including the Christian one) that has seemingly lost the art of listening, really listening, as in not hearing, as in not really hearing God, the doer has empty hands.
Our God speaks to us through His Creation. He speaks to us through His Word. He speaks to us through His Son. He speaks to us through His Spirit. Are we really truly hearing and responding with the utmost conviction? – “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”
1 The Set of the Sail/A.W.Tozer