Listening Lesson 3: God speaks in many ways.
G. Campbell Morgan, a great British evangelist of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, best summed up what I believe about God’s voice when he wrote, “Where there are hearts waiting for the voice of God, that voice is to be heard.” The Bible shows that God speaks in many ways. God spoke in an audible voice to Moses. God spoke through a human voice when the prophets said, “Thus says the Lord.” God spoke through an angel to Mary. God spoke through a dream to Mary’s husband, Joseph. God spoke more quietly through a rainbow to the people in Noah’s day. God even spoke through a pair of holy dice known as the Urim and Thummin when the priest would inquire of God through yes or no questions. Also God spoke without sound while guiding the Israelites through a cloud and pillar of fire. God even spoke through events as the people realized that their capture by the Babylonians was a judgment from God. Two other ways through which God speaks have proven especially meaningful to me. One is through the “still small voice” that Elijah heard after he wrongly expected God to be in the thunder. By this I mean that God often whispers to us by making impressions on our hearts. Some people call these “leadings.” For example, you get a sense that you should call and check on someone and you find that your call was perfectly timed and just what the other person needed. One day I was praying in our sanctuary and I got the sense that I should call a younger colleague. So I went back to my office and called him. He told me that he had just had a dream about me that night! I also found that he needed my encouragement at that moment. (As I was writing this just now an email from him just popped up on my screen- you can’t make this stuff up—God is always communicating and letting us know that God is there!) Another way that I have heard God’s voice is through other people. Most of the important changes that I have made in my life have come from the godly wisdom and guidance of others. Years ago, I was struggling with an issue in my ministry so I called my mentor from seminary. He surprised me by asking, “What does Pam (my wife) say about this?” I admitted that I hadn’t asked her. He replied, “Well ask her. Why do you think God put her in your life?!” It is true; God speaks to me through my wife. It seems that both God and Pam are quite interested in my well being, so it makes sense that they would collaborate on this. There are so many ways in which God can and does speak. Dr. Morgan was right. It is up to us. Do we have a heart that is waiting to hear? ~David