Read Time 6 Minutes
Do you wonder if God really speaks to mankind today? Have you often heard another speak of “having a Word from the Lord” or “being guided by the Spirit” and asked yourself why He hasn’t “spoken” to you?
The good news is . . . we’ve all asked ourselves those same questions at different points in our journey. The answer is a resounding . . . Yes! God has spoken to His people throughout the Church Age and continues to do so today.
For those of us who grew up in a denominational setting other than Full Gospel, we did not have the instruction in hearing from God we might have had. There are numerous examples in both the Old and New Testament of God speaking to his people. We must first examine a passage and then look at some very practical ways to “tune our senses” to hear from God.
One of the most memorable examples, for me, has been God speaking to Samuel for the first time in 1 Samuel 3:1-14, NET Bible:
The Call of Samuel
3:1 Now the boy Samuel continued serving the Lord under Eli’s supervision. Word from the Lord was rare in those days; revelatory visions were infrequent.
3:2 Eli’s eyes had begun to fail, so that he was unable to see well. At that time he was lying down in his place, 3:3 and the lamp of God had not yet been extinguished. Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord as well; the ark of God was also there. 3:4 The Lord called to Samuel, and he replied, “Here I am!” 3:5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.” So he went back and lay down. 3:6 The Lord again called, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli said, “I didn’t call you, my son. Go back and lie down.”
3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord; the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 3:8 Then the Lord called Samuel a third time. So he got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me!” Eli then realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 3:9 So Eli said to Samuel, “Go back and lie down. When he calls you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” So Samuel went back and lay down in his place.
3:10 Then the Lord came and stood nearby, calling as he had previously done, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel replied, “Speak, for your servant is listening!” 3:11 The Lord said to Samuel, “Look! I am about to do something in Israel; when anyone hears about it, both of his ears will tingle. 3:12 On that day I will carry out against Eli everything that I spoke about his house—from start to finish! 3:13 You should tell him that I am about to judge his house forever because of the sin that he knew about. For his sons were cursing God, and he did not rebuke them. 3:14 Therefore I swore an oath to the house of Eli, ‘The sin of the house of Eli can never be forgiven by sacrifice or by grain offering.’ ”
We know from the recounting, Samuel heard an “audible voice” of God speaking to him. Since, he had not been instructed nor heard from the Lord previously he assumed the voice was Eli’s and went to inquire. Finally, Eli understood the Lord was speaking to Samuel and instructed him to reply to the Lord – “Speak, for your servant is listening!” We are not given to understand whether Samuel also saw the Lord, as in a vision, or simply heard an audible voice.
Although the Holy Spirit was not poured out on all flesh during the Old Testament period, it was given to individual Prophets in great measure and Samuel was certainly one of these. Since most of us are not called as Prophets, our hearing from the Lord is generally quite different than that experienced by Samuel, but still very powerful.
I usually hear from God in one of three very different ways. From the most often to the least in my own experience –
Quickening of the Word – While reading scripture, hearing the lyrics to a spiritual song based on the Word of God or reading a study about God. The Words seem to “come alive” with a new and deeper meaning.
Holy Spirit moves the Words from my head to my heart. They are no longer simply intellectually understood, they become “part of me” or experientially my own with shadows and nuances or colors of meaning I had not previously grasped.
The Still Small Voice of Holy Spirit – In these instances, a new awareness comes fully formed with understanding which I had previously not considered or understood in this way. The “Word” seems to appear from in my mind and heart from nowhere and is profound. It is very clear, unquestionably not from my own mind or thinking and without ambiguity.
Oftentimes, the Still Small Voice I hear is upon first waking before my own thoughts reach the clamor stage while my Spirit is still at rest. Many times, these are what I term “Flash Visions”. I have found them to be remarkably complete and often I am able to see and understand the entire subject in mere moments with pictures and color illustrations. The Blog Post entitled The River of Life is an example. Although extremely detailed, this came upon waking and was fully understood in what felt like mere seconds.
At other times the Creation itself, animals, trees, flowers or even weather calls something to my attention I had not considered previously. In these cases, typically the revelation is slower in forming with the understanding more gradually being revealed to me and linked to the Word of God. The “trigger” seems to serve as a springboard to either recall an event or see it in a new light.
The Voice of the Lord – A voice, though not audible, speaks to my mind and understanding and is concise, to the point and absolutely clear. This “voice” comes as speech understood by my mind, rather than the “knowing” of Holy Spirit given awareness. These are typically brief, succinct and with no back and forth conversation, so to speak.
In no way is this meant to be a complete listing or categorization of how God speaks to everyone. Each individual is unique in our make-up and our gifting. Many have dreams, others have detailed “open visions” where they see the things of the spirit rather than the natural world while even others experience “closed visions” where the natural world seems to recede and the vision takes precedence. In my book entitled Through the Eyes of a Child I describe my experience of the Baptism of Holy Spirit where I was given a Closed Vision offering my Father up into Heaven.
The key point is this – never seek to put God in a box and assume His communication with you and others must always be the same. Further, never assume God is not speaking, realize you are likely not listening because you’ve not been encouraged to do so or even told its possible. I assure you it is possible and, more importantly, the Lord desires to communicate with His children today just as He’s always done.
One signpost to keep in mind always and you will not be deceived. The Word of God is the final text against which all other communication must be measured. If a Word or understanding is in opposition to Scripture – you’ve misunderstood. God’s full and complete truth is revealed in Scripture. We may gain deeper understanding, but not new truth.
Holy Spirit will always point to and magnify Jesus Christ and the Revealed Word as we see it in Scripture.
One final word of caution – be certain you are seeking God alone. Fellowship and communion with Him in and through His Word should be your goal – not simply a “supernatural” experience. I have never prayed for visions, dreams, Words from God or an “experience”. I have sought God and allowed Him to choose the mechanism He deems right for me. In large measure, His preferred method of communication for me is His Word . . . and with time and experience the Still Small Voice of Holy Spirit becomes more easily recognized. Visions, Dreams and other more supernatural manifestations are solely at God’s discretion . . . and we should all expect and be grateful for He knows what we can handle and when!
Simply Seek God . . . He will find you and He will speak to you when and how He chooses! Just Listen!
Thanks for taking time for me . . .
Sherry Driskell Griffin
P. S. If this was a Blessing to you . . . be a Blessing and pass it along!
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