The Voice of God?
In my online reading I came across a recent post about hearing the voice of God and how does that work. This is something I have had a lot of interest in for many years. I remember several years ago a group of younger men who came into the coffee shop where I was studying. They sat next to me and it rapidly became evident they were discussing spiritual things. They all had opinions on the subject (head-coverings for women) but there was no consensus and frankly, not one of their thoughts were connected to the biblical text. They noticed my commentaries and ended up sitting at my table and we talked. My questions centered on how will they arrive at a proper understanding of the meaning of the text? The answer became an almost comical as they would respond that God would tell them. I would ask how they would know it was God speaking and they said, “You know, you just know.” I asked what happens when others say that God told them a different meaning. They said God would tell them who was right. How do you know it is God speaking? “You know, you just know.” How do you know? “You just know.” This was less than satisfying and when I tried to explain the text (which I had just preached on) it did not fit their perceptions and they rejected it. Apparently God though God had not told them what the meaning of the text was yet, God had told them that my exegesis of it was wrong.
All of this to make this point. How do you hear the voice of God if you believe He is speaking today? And more importantly how do you know it is actually God? Here are some answers I have found and none of them are remotely satisfying for me:
- One commenter on the above blog said there is a sense of warmth as the words of God come to her unbidden. Later in her comment it is now a bright light and warmth that she interpreted as the smile of God (I trust the van she was driving was not in motion at the time).
- Another gave the standard feeling of peace.
- You know it because it is consistent with His Word (which makes me wonder why the person doesn’t just follow the written word).
- I found this statement at one blog, “i’d just pray and ask God a question, and i found that as i was still and silent i’d sense an answer.”
- She also suggests that you asked trusted believers to confirm it is God who is speaking.
- She also suggested using Christian dream interpretation websites as a help. Since I never knew those existed I thought I would visit a few. On this site the presence of acid in a dream means certain things, but on this dream interpretation site it means something else. So this was not real helpful.
- In the Vision and Commitment document of one local church we are able to hear the voice of God through the presence of the Spirit. But it didn’t explicitly say how this is done.
- This guy has 4 keys to hearing the voice of God. His voice is like a flow of spontaneous thoughts. Be still so you can sense God’s thoughts. Fix your eyes on Jesus seeing in the Spirit God’s dreams and visions. And lastly journaling.
- This guy’s sermon says that his people are going to hear the voice of the Lord in new ways. And to prove it he says that it is a word of knowledge but doesn’t say how we know it is now true simply because he says so.
I am sure that there are many who might be able to give additional thoughts on this subject. But for me, what stands out is the broadness of suggestions and lack of clarity that they bring to me. I know the bible and I know that there is not one place where we are told we know it is God’s voice that we are hearing. And I noticed as I read these articles that none of them could give anything that clearly, cleanly tells you when God has spoken.