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As Michael pointed out this has been asked over the ages. As we read the bible it would indicate that God spoke to them just as we have conversation with one another. We must understand that God is a God of faith and that it takes faith to hear God and faith to recognize His voice. There are also some helps God has given us that we can use to determine if it is Gods voice, and even when we use these helps we still must go forward in faith. Audible voice; my personal experience was in Desert Storm, it was not a terrible moment but He said "Trust me" and it was so audible I turned my head to see who said that even though I was alone. He does speak to us audibly and sometimes it can be with the voice of another, we usually recognize it when it is said and it hits or agrees with our spirit. His Word; as we read His word which is what we should be doing daily to help us hear Him or recognize His voice, we will find that He speaks to us there. For instance as I was reading one day a part of scripture jumped out at me, "Do not lose what you worked so hard for" when I saw that verse it jumped out at me and I was thinking this word is for someone that I am going to come across, little did I know that 3 months later I was in the middle of a situation that was very difficult and that verse came back to me. So I held on to it and walked out the situation without walking out of it. Our Spirit; God speaks to us through our spirit man and many times unless we practice listening we really don't hear Him. This is one of the most challenging time to recognize Gods voice. It takes faith. Here are some things we can use to help 1. Who benefits from this? Am I the only one? 2. Does this line up with Gods word? 3. Is this being done out of love for another? 4. What is love in this situation? 5. How will this affect relationships? 6. Is this a win=me? Win win = me others, win win win =me others God Bottom line is we must do all this by faith, it is not always an easy task however when we miss it God is there to take care of the situation. This is what I lean on and trust in; 2 Thess 1:11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith NIV
The Lord appeared to Moses "in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush" (Ex. 3:1- 4; Acts 7:30- 34). This is one of many instances where "the angel of the Lord" is used for God Himself. Whereas Ex. 3:2 says "the angel," Ex. 3:4 says "the Lord saw... God called unto him out of the midst of the bush." The primary lesson we need to learn about God is that He is "Spirit" (Jn 4:24). Moses stressed this point to the people: "The Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but saw NO FORM; You only heard a voice... Take careful heed to yourselves. God appeared to Job who said, "I have heard of Thee... but now mine eye seeth Thee" (Job 42:5). We have reasons to believe that Enoch, Noah and others also saw God, because they walked with Him and received specific instructions from Him (Gen. 5:22- 24; 6:8- 9; Heb. 11:5- 7; Jude 1- 15). Furthermore, on a number of occasions the glory of the Lord appeared to Moses and Israel and they saw it and heard God's voice from it. This was more than an invisible presence (Num. 14:10- 12; 16:19- 30, 41- 50; 20:6- 13, etc.). In view of the above appearances of God to men, the often quoted verse, "No man hath seen God at any time" (Jn. 1:18) can only be understood to mean that no man has seen Him face to face in His glory and comprehended Him fully as "the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father," who "hath declared him." In 1Tim. 6:16 we read of the Godhead "dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto," but when God chooses to appear apart from this light, man can approach. Human beings have experienced this many times, both seeing and hearing God. God does not give us a blueprint but a map and a compass. If there's a blueprint there's no room for choices. We will be simply dictated by the details of the blueprint rather than directed by the Spirit of the Lord. Life will become dimensionless. It's the element of uncertainty that adds excitement to life and strengthens faith. Of Abraham, the father of those who believe, it is said, "He went out, not knowing where he was going" (Heb 11:8). This is walking by faith. We don't need to know "what" the future holds for us. It's enough if we are assured "who" holds the future for us. When Paul at the hour of his conversion asked God, "Lord, what do You want me to do," he was not given a blueprint for the rest of his life. Rather, God answered him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do" (Acts 9:6). This must have been very humbling for an intellect like Paul. But this best illustrates how God leads us by one step at a time. John Henry Newman (1801-1890)sang, Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom; Lead Thou me on; The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead Thou me on; Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see The distant scene; One step enough for me. People go for blueprints because they are afraid of making mistakes. No child learns walking without falling. Trying to be certain about everything actually paralyses us. Keeping the general Biblical principles in mind, walk according to whatever light you have. If you deviate, God will correct you by a voice "from behind" (Is 30:21). Even if you make a mistake, you don't need to be unnerved. We learn from mistakes. When our heart is steadfast towards God, He will turn everything into good. God did not tell the apostles in the first instance itself to go to Macedonia. When they went to Asia the Holy Spirit forbade them to preach there. They tried to go to Bithynia and they were stopped by the Spirit there also. It was at Bithynia, the Lord gave them a call to Macedonia (Acts 16:6-10).
The truth about our Loving God is He is a good God, who desires for us to be Fruitful and Blessed in every way. Gods voice will always be comforting, uplifting, edifying and filled with the words of scripture, hence it is necessary to know Gods words and remember most of them. Hence God asks us to meditate on His words! Any thing that depresses and troubles you is not from The Lord. God speaks to us through the Bible (when you read it) through a preacher, or through a man/woman/child of God. When you hear from God you will know it, because it will lift up your soul with peace and Joy. The Joy of the Lord is our strength! Satan steals our peace, joy and puts us in confusion, depressions and temptations to do wrong. This is the most simple way to understand, my answers are short and sweet to help a layman understand. Amen.
God spoke to very few people in the Old Testament. For example God spoke to Abraham, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, Samson, David and prophets. But when we turn to New Testament, God spoke to many after the resurrection of Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Bible is one of the best ways to learn to hear God’s voice. Scripture is meant to introduce us to Jesus—the One who loves us, guides us, and has promised to speak to us. Today, we interact with Holy Spirit. He is our counsellor, comforter. The Bible says that when the Spirit of Truth has come he will guide us into all truth and he will what the things to come. (Jn.16:13). We can hear voice of God through His Holy Spirit. One of the greatest benefits of our salvation has to be that of hearing God speak to us personally. There can be no intimate relationship with our heavenly Father without it. But, as easy as it is for us to speak to Him, the average Christian has a hard time hearing His voice. This is not the way the Lord intended it to be. The Lord constantly speaks to us and gives us His direction. It’s never the Lord who is not speaking, but it’s us who are not hearing. Jesus made some radical statements about hearing His voice in John 10:3-5. He was speaking about Himself as the Shepherd of the sheep and the only way to enter the sheepfold. I am convinced that our gracious heavenly Father speaks to every one of His children constantly, giving us all the information and guidance we need to be total overcomers. There isn’t a problem with His transmitter; it’s our receiver that needs help. When God created the world, He spoke it into being (Gen. 1). And all throughout Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, God speaks to people in different ways. Sometimes it’s through a quiet whisper, or other times a voice like rushing waters, or even through the mouth of a donkey! But the Bible is clear—our God speaks, continually, and He’s still speaking today! If you think God doesn’t want to speak to you, be encouraged: Jesus says in John 10:27 that “My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow me.”
1 John 4;1. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3. and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God...." When I (not very often) think I am hearing from God, I say out loud, "Test the spirits". Most often it goes away. We find in the case of Samuel that God initiates the conversation & a second party (Eli) confirms it. Most heretics "hear God's voice" as do many psychotics. To attribute a work of the flesh (or even demons) to God may well put us into the false witness class or worse.
The key to recognizing the voice of God is having "listening ears" that are given to His sheep (His children, those who belong to God). Throughout the Bible there are words that speak about spiritually hearing which is different from physically hearing. This is a gift from God to those who have been made spiritual people by His power. Proverbs 20:12 Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the Lord. Acts 28:27 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ Jesus himself said that only certain people would have ears to hear. For example, in Matthew 13, He said that those who had ears to hear should listen and understand the parable of the soils, Three of the four soils were not good for hearing the Word of God and understanding it. Only the one good soil that is representative of a tender, teachable heart is able to have ears that hear. In the Old Testament this idea of having ears to hear is there too. Isaiah 30:21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left." The prophets warned people to have ears to hear. Isaiah 42: You see and recognize what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear with your ears, but you don’t really listen. Jeremiah 6:10 To whom can I give warning? Who will listen when I speak? Their ears are closed, and they cannot hear. They scorn the word of the Lord. They don’t want to listen at all." The Holy Spirit is involved with listening. Part of being a sheep that listens to the Shepherd is having the indwelling (in the believer's heart) Holy Spirit. This is what happens when a person is born again. This spiritual birth gives spiritual ears that can "hear" in your heart, mind and soul the voice of your Savior and Lord Jesus Christ through the Spirit. In John 10, Jesus says that His sheep know His voice and follow Him. The ability to hear and follow comes from the power of the Holy Spirit. Primarily, this causes the believer to move from knowing that God exists (Romans 1) to actually knowing God in a personal relationship. This makes a person have desires to read the Bible, to pray and listen with spiritual ears for God to answer questions about what His will is for your life, to love God and love others, to tell others about Jesus and make disciples, and to listen to the Word being taught by teachers and preachers. In Revelation, there are seven churches that are each told by God to have ears to hear. Each church is told they must listen to the Holy Spirit with ears to hear and understand His instruction. (Revelation 2, 3) Each church is also told that they must be victorious (overcomers) in order to inherit heaven. Revelation 13:9-11 also warns that those who are God's holy people, who have their names written in the Book of Life, need to listen and understand. In my experience God started speaking to me 9 months before I surrendered, repented and was born again. Then God has spoken to me in several different ways. Once there was an barely audible whisper that the unbeliever who was with me also heard. Twice He has awakened me in the middle ot the night saying my name inside my body. The first time was just a whisper of my name, but I was so excited I was immediately fully awake and praising Him. The second time was a booming, loud voice saying my name and then saying "my sheep know my voice" and "persevere". This was two days after I had filed for divorce, so I obeyed and dropped the divorce to continue to persevere. He continues to "speak" the rest of the time with not a voice but just the words coming to my mind to do this, speak this to someone, a verse or where to go read the Bible to get an answer. This is living by the Spirit which is explained in Galatians 5 and Spirit of truth.
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. God speaks to us from His written word, the bible. Read it and you will hear his voice.
Genesis 3:11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? (ESV) After Adam and Eve sinned they hid from God in the garden. God asks them this question first. They never answer. Why not? Well, they didn't have a clue. They remember talking to the serpent but he never said that. The fact is, God wasn't trying to be difficult to understand or sarcastic. I might ask my children a similar question when they do something dumb. I want to know where they get those ideas. God knew. He wanted them to think about it. They just couldn't distinguish between their thoughts and someone else's voice. That's what it is like for people who don't hear God's voice. Hebrews 5:11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (ESV) verse 11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. You ever try to tell someone something important? Does it bug you if they won't listen? Maybe they can't stop watching a TV show. They think they know more than you. They'll forget or just don't like anyone telling them anything. Wonder if God feels like that with us. verse 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. About this time is when these people are probably saying something like, "You wanted us to be teachers? We would have been studying to be teachers if we had known that." Guess what. You didn't ask. Read the Lord's prayer. It says something about,"Thy will be done". verse 12 and 13 you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child The "oracles of God" and the "word of righteousness" is synonymous with your bible. I have a very long and detailed teaching on how to study the bible. It's simple but so much scripture supports it. The very condensed version is when I tell people to, "Read your own bible". Don't read your pastors bible. Forget your Sunday Schools interpretation. Don't accept everything a commentary book says. Look at it this way. How much of what you believe would you have figured out if you never heard anyone else preach? You only had a bible to read. That percentage is how good you are at hearing God. verse 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil Do you always do the right thing? If you did know what the right thing to do is, you might think that is just your ability to know that. I don't know about you, but when I help somebody solve a problem and they take all the credit, I think, ''Man, what a jerk". Maybe it's God who helps you with that. Actually it is God. You want to hear His voice, start giving Him credit. Now, you're thinking that if you start saying that God told you something, people will think you're nuts. You care what they think then don't expect to hear God's voice. Think back when you were young and the thought to take something that did not belong to you popped into your head. Guess who gave you that idea. It's the same dude that told Adam he was naked. Then something told you it's wrong to steal. Think that was you? Nope. That was God's voice.
Voice Of God Eze_1:24; Eze_1:28; Eze_10:5; Joh_5:37; Joh_12:28-30; Act_7:31; Act_9:4; Act_9:7; Act_26:14-15 Eze1:24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings. Eze1:28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. Eze10:5 And the sound of the cherubims' wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh. Audible Voice Mat 17:5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" Mat 17:6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. Joh12:28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. Joh12:29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Joh12:30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Act 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. Act 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. Inspiration Inspiration. Dr. Knapp gives as the definition of inspiration, "an extra-ordinary divine agency upon teachers while giving instruction, whether oral or written, by which they were taught what and how they should write or speak". Without deciding on any of the various theories of inspiration, the general doctrine of Christians is that the Bible is so inspired by God that it is the infallible guide of men, and is perfectly trustworthy in all its parts, as given by God. Luk12:12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: Jdg13:25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol. 2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. The Greek phrase here (ὑπὸΠνεύματοςἉγίουφερόμενοςhupoPneumatosHagioupheromenos) means “borne along, moved, influenced” by the Holy Ghost. The idea is, that in what they spake they were “carried along” by an influence from above. They moved in the case only as they were moved; they spake only as the influence of the Holy Ghost was upon them. They were no more self-moved than a vessel at sea is that is impelled by the wind; and as the progress made by the vessel is to be measured by the impulse bearing upon it, so the statements made by the prophets are to be traced to the impulse which bore upon their minds. They were not, indeed, in all respects like such a vessel, but only in regard to the fact that all they said as prophets was to be traced to the foreign influence that bore upon their minds. By visions Num_12:6; Eze 11:24 Then, still in the vision given me by the Spirit of God, the Spirit took me and carried me back to the exiles in Babylon. And then the vision left me. Eze 11:25 I told the exiles everything that GOD had shown me. By dreams Num
How do I Know it is Good Speaking to me? God "Speaks" to us when we have a Relationship of Trust in Him. How? Through His Spirit IN US; Even When we are reading His WORD, rhe Holy Bible. And in every moment of our lives. He IS There, if we "look and listen". Jesus Promised that; Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. John 10:1-5, 16 KJV I always ask myself a question when I "hear" the "sound of the Shepherd; Does this Honor GOD, and Glorify Christ? If yes, then it's the HOLY SPIRIT. IF NO? Then it must be Satan, as this verse indicates: "And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." John 10:5 KJV
God speaks to us through the Bible, and only through the Bible. Most Christians get impressions of thoughts that come to us, words that come to our minds as if from nowhere. That's a very common experience. Some put these thoughts and impressions down to God speaking to them directly. But they want to know how can they be sure it is God and not just their own feelings or their own thoughts. This is a very common question because Christians have been taught that just as they speak to God in prayer so God speaks to them in feelings and impressions and even voices. But how do you tell if it's really the voice of God or just your own voice? Sometimes you're told you just know... It is an affirming message, one that encourages and empowers you and strengthens your faith. But that is not a correct answer. The Bible does not expect us to hear voices. It does not give us instructions on how to test whether the voice in your head is the voice of God. It does not lead us to expect that God communicates to us in any other way than by his word. That is sometimes called "the sufficiency of scripture" and Paul explains it in 2Timothy 3:15–17. If as he says the Scriptures are sufficient to thoroughly equip us, then nothing more is needed. The Bible is the only place you will reliably find the voice of God. Listening to the voices on your head and calling them the voice of God is the surest way to go wrong. Colossians 2 is all about this danger to the church. Stick with the Bible, it's the only certain way God talks to us. For further reading see http://www.gotquestions.org/sufficiency-of-Scripture.html Regards Phil
Recognizing the voice of God is different to different people. Some may find it through the word of God, while reading or listening or witnessing a spiritual or physical healing act. For Simon Peter it was the catch of fish, for James and Andrew it was when Jesus said he saw him under the fig tree, For Zaccheus it was when Jesus came to his house, for Samaritan woman it was when Jesus told about her married life, for the crowd when they witnessed the multiplication of bread or when turning water into wine, for people when Jesus did the healing of dumb, blind, crippled, raising the dead or for the leper who came to thank him when healing him from his dreaded disease. There are instances even when we read bible, listen to preachers, witness the miracles in our lives we still don't find any conversion or hear the voice of God like those nine lepers who did not return, or Judas who lived and ate with Jesus or those Jews and Pharasees even when they witnessed Jesus power in his teachings and acts! God is constantly living in our conscience. Listen to him in silence. Listen to him every moment of your life, listen to him before or during every act of yours. He is there speaking to you, telling you what to do and what not to do. Acknowledge him as your creator, God, Father and ask for his guidance and grace in anything you do. You are sure to hear his voice. He may speak to you from your conscience or while reading or listening to the Holy Bible or from any person you come across in your life or from any situation or incident that occurs in your life! We must have the time, sense and courage to recognize his voice. And this is possible only if we put our God before us in everything we do, think, speak or desire!
1John 4:2: By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This scripture is a heads-up for what to look for in a messenger of God, a preacher or teacher. It isn't, as some believe, a reference to a voice in your head or thoughts that pop up in your mind. The previous verse says "Many false prophets have gone out into the world." He's talking about people not voices and thoughts. The Bible doesn't teach us to look for signs visions and epiphanies. Many people have many requests of God that has nothing to do with God's plans for us. We want an answer to questions about our own plans and decisions and when our thoughts start to run together, we wonder if it is God speaking to us, the enemy Satan getting involved, or just our own ideas guiding us. We want God to co-sign or tell us to forget about it. Starting a Bible study or some other ministry is an admirable pursuit, but if it is your plan only it is a building with a flawed foundation. The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord, Prov 16:1. The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps Prov 16:9. As you can see, hearing God's voice in connection with our wants and needs would be great, but if we don't have that experience, we don't have to pause and be afraid to proceed with whatever our plans and pursuits are. God will never leave or forsake us. That's good news. But the first part of that verse says 'be content with what you have.' (Heb 13:5) Long story short: we don't have to worry about the future, how things will work out for us. God knows the plans He has for His people Jer 29:11. When God called Gideon into His service Gideon wasn't sure what to make of this voice that He evidently didn't recognize, had never heard before. So he asked for proof that the voice was the voice of the God of his fathers like God had said. The fleece episode. God answered his concerns. Judges 6 When Paul was accosted by the Lord on the Damascus road he saw no one; he only heard a voice ask him why he was persecuting Him. Paul's reaction was 'who are you Lord'? (How can I be persecuting You I don't even know You). God made it plain to Paul what He wanted him to do. Acts 9 When /If God wants to get your attention He will get it and you'll know it.
God's word says that he speaks to us in a small still voice. He speaks to us through the word. Jesus was the word made into flesh according to scripture. We must renew our mind with the word of God, so that we can discern if our thoughts and actions agree with scripture. Of coarse correcting our thoughts to agree with scripture causes our actions to follow scripture. Example: we start thinking about taking revenge on someone, but scripture memorized says: "'Vengence is mine' says the Lord, "I will repay," says the Lord. So we pray and ask God to solve our problem with someone, and forgive them too. Scriptures says: forgive and you to shall be forgiven. Selah!
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