Does God Still Speak Today?
  By Alvin VanderGriend

    "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’" (Isaiah 30:21).

    "My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27).

    God is a talker. He has always been a talker. This idea is basic to the Christian faith. If God had remained silent we would have no way of knowing Him at all. If God is now silent we have no way of relating to Him day by day.

    We know that He speaks to us in and through His Word – the Bible. But, the question still remains: Does He speak to us today through His Spirit in the way He spoke to men and women of Bible times?

    The answer is "yes"! God has a voice; and His sheep hear His voice. Hearing His voice means that a thought, a word, an insight, or an image comes to us from beyond and we perceive that it is from God. What we experience is similar to our own inner self-talk, except that is not self-talk, it is the "Spirit...of revelation" talking to us (Eph. 1:17). It’s as if God is talking directly to our minds.

    When Jesus said "My sheep listen to My voice" He used a word for "listen" that literally means "constantly listen to the sound of." It was His way of saying that He, the Good Shepherd, would always be there to guide us by speaking to us, and that we would be able to hear His voice and follow Him.

    God has promised to guide us. The Word of God says: "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Prov. 3:6). How does He guide us? Sometimes it’s as if a voice behind us simply says, "This is the way; walk in it." Believers who know God know that it is His voice and accept it as His guidance.

    God is a living personal being. He wants a personal relationship with us; a love relationship. The apostle John knew what it meant to have this kind of relationship with God. He said, "Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3); and He wants us to be part of the same relationship. David Watson puts it this way: "God did not finish speaking to us when the scriptures were completed...God is the living God, the God of today; and every day He wants us to enjoy a living relationship with Him, involving a two-way conversation" (Discipleship, p. 149).

    When tempted by Satan to turn bread into stones Jesus’ response was, "It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’" (Matt. 4:4). The word for "word" in the original language of this passage means a specific word or utterance from God, the kind of utterance that happens in relationship. By such a word, whether from reading the Bible or a thought guided by the Spirit, a believer is able to live in a close and intimate relationship with God.

    Jesus knew better than any person who ever lived what it was to hear the Father’s voice. He said, "I judge only as I hear" (John 5:30). Hearing from the Father was the basis of His teaching ministry. He said, "My teaching...comes from Him who sent Me" and "I...speak just what the Father has taught Me" (John 7:16, 8:28). Jesus listened carefully and constantly. He said "Whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say" (John 12:50). Jesus was a listener! He now lives in us. Through Him we can "hear" the Father as He did. God is not silent. He still speaks today; and since He does, we must listen.

Something to Think About

    • Why did the Father want Jesus to hear Him? Why might He want you to hear His voice?

    • How do you think God feels when we don’t take the time or put forth the effort to listen to Him?

Something to Pray About

    • Thank God for revealing Himself through His Word and by His Spirit – the Spirit of revelation (Eph. 1:17).

    • Confess if you have insulted God by failing to listen to what He wants to say to you.

    • Ask God for an "ear to hear" (Rev. 2:7). Ask Him to teach you how to listen better.

    • Make a commitment to pray what He gives you to pray and to do whatever He tells you to do.

Something to Act On

    Learn to spend time each day quietly listening for God’s voice. Invite Him to bring thoughts to your mind from His Word or through His Spirit. Test what you "hear" by the written Word of God.

    From The Joy of Prayer, Week Three, Day 1, by Alvin VanderGriend. PrayerShop Publishing, ©2007. Used by permission.