"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" 1 Peter 3:15 (KJV)
The Voice of God
In a world where everybody has an opinion and has the right to express it, we must know what God is saying. What God has to say about matters is the most important thing in this world; that is why we are seeing an increasing attack on God’s voice. I believe that there is no better way to start this year of 2013 than to have a clear Biblical understanding of the ways God speaks.
There are nine different ways God uses to express Himself. There may be more, but these are the ones that I can clearly see in the Bible so far:
1. Through the Bible:(2 Tim 3:16, Psalm 119:11, 105): This is the most clear and effective way of God’s communication with His people. The Bible is a priceless book! We will never be able to hear God effectively without the faithful and active study of Scripture. Without the Bible we can be easily fooled. It is sad to say, but how often do we try everything else, but His word? How often we rather read a book about God, than to read the Word ourselves? Second Timothy 3:16 tells us:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”
Some key definitions:
The word profitable can be also defined as “Lucrative”. The word lucrative means basically: “Well-paid”. The word doctrine can also be look at as policy; the way things ought to be done. The word reproof is the word rebuke. The word correction it can also be look at improvement. And when we speak about Instruction in Righteousness we are talking about: “Training in the acceptable ways of the Lord.”
2. Through the inner still, small voice of Holy Spirit:(Acts 11:12, Acts 13:2, 1 Kings 19:11-12, Isaiah 30:21) This is another common and powerful way used by God to speak to us. This voice is a voice that speaks straight to our spirit. It does not go through our ears first, but it penetrates our minds and hearts and go straight into our spiritual man.
“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 an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” First King 19:11-12 NKJV
“Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.” Acts 11:12 NKJV
“As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2 NKJV
“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 NKJV
3. Through the advice and counsel of the men and women of God:(Prov. 12:15) It is so easy for our minds to justify everything and called of God. No doubts that God can speak to us directly, but we must also understand that God can still use others to speak to us. In the Old Testament people were totally clueless as what was the will of God , that is why the Prophet was key to inform them “what says the Lord”. However, in our New Testament times, even as we still have prophets and they can still see futuristic events, God uses the Prophet to confirm what is already in our spirit.
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.” Proverbs 12:15 NKJV
“…By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” 2 Corinthians 13:1 NKJV
We also must establish that according to Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked…” so we can’t rely solely in our hearts.
4. Through the Audible Voice of God:(Acts 9:4-5) “Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Acts 9:4-5 NKJV
On June 5, 2011 the Lord woke me up with his audible voice by saying “First Corinthians 1:18” That was the first and only time so far that I have heard his voice.
5. Through Dreams: (Matthew 1:20-21) – God has spoken through dreams in both, The Old and the New Testament. We must also point out that God also spoke through dream to non-believers in Genesis 20:1-3 and in Genesis
6.Through Visions:(Acts 10:9-18)
In Acts 10:9-18 we see the Apostle Peter’s vision that planted a strong seed for the acceptance of gentiles into the receiving of the Gospel.
7. Through Angels: (Luke 1: 26-38)
The birth of Christ was announced to Mary by an angel in Luke 1:26-38
8. Through circumstances: Here we must be very careful that simple circumstances be used to dictate if God is speaking or not. We must remember, as the Bible tells us, that we live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). However in Acts 16:6-7 we see how God spoke very clearly through circunstances: “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV) We must remember that God opens and closes doors…period!
9. By Inner Conviction and Peace: (Isaiah 26:3)The inner conviction and peace is the emotional result of a heart that is indeed listening to God. This inner conviction more than God’s voice is his smile as we follow his will.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 NKJV