Listening To God


How God Has Spoken

God has used a variety of ways to speak to His people down through the ages. We can gather from Genesis 3:8 that God talked face-to-face on a daily basis with Adam in the garden of Eden, meeting him in the cool of the day. After Adam disobeyed God, he and Eve were expelled from the garden, and God turned to other forms of communications with His beloved creation.

There are at least 8 ways in which God spoke to His people in biblical times:

1. Direct Revelation — This is what many today would regard as an audible voice of God. It can also be thought of as a very strong impression, one that comes unexpectedly, is absolutely clear, and very specific. 

2. Dreams — God has also spoken to people through dreams and visions. It’s important for us to note, however, that dreams and visions that bear God’s direct message are very rare, not necessarily meant to be shared with others, occur at the initiative of God, and are confirmed by outward circumstances. 

3. Written Words — God has always placed great value on the written word. His commands were spread throughout the early church by both spoken and written means. Behind the written Word of God is always the inspiration of God. 

4. Prophets — We repeatedly find this phrase in Scripture: “Thus says the Lord.” Those who spoke these words of God, the men we call prophets, felt that God so overwhelmingly gave them a message, they could do nothing else but speak it. 

5. Circumstances — We can regard many of the miracles in the Bible as God’s use of circumstances to confirm the good news of the gospel message. They underscore the direct mandates of God and provide a second witness or give evidence that the gospel has been preached fully (Heb. 2:3-4). 

6. Angels — The word angel means “messenger from God.” God’s angels come to people uninvited, unannounced, and unexpected. They’re usually so awesome in form their first words are, “Fear not.” They deliver messages which are always direct and specific, then leave. The Bible refers to angels as “ministering spirits” whom God sends to help us … but they always come at God’s choosing and on the authority of heaven.

7. Jesus Christ — God has spoken to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. He’s God’s supreme Word to us, the perfect fulfillment of all His laws and commandments. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14). 

8. The Holy Spirit — We’ll discuss more about the work of the Holy Spirit in the next day’s reading, but for now we should recognize that God speaks to each believer by His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit conveys God’s truth, and He is “God with us” (John 14:16-18). 

Understanding how God has spoken in the past helps lay the foundation for discovering the primary ways He speaks today.