To the Called Out Ones of Jesus Christ (and to all those who want to hear from God),
As we continue to explore the subject of “hearing God,” we need to stop and ask the question, ‘how does He speak to us?’
But before we answer that question, I want to share with you a word that I’ve been using a lot around my church lately; quadraphonics.
Def: Sound transmitted through four channels.
It is actually an old word. It was introduced by CBS Records (aka, Columbia Records) in 1971 in reference to a matrix 4-channel quadraphonic sound system for vinyl LP records.
Quadraphonic sound – the forerunner of surround sound and equivalent to what is now called 4.0 surround sound – uses four channels in which speakers are positioned at the four corners of the listening space, reproducing signals that are independent of one another. (Wikipedia)
I like to use this term in reference to God speaking. Because, when He does speak, it often seems like it is coming from every direction – thus, quadraphonics. So, while some may say that God isn’t even speaking, the bible makes it abundantly clear that He has and does “speak” to us. Isaiah emphatically states:
“The Lord has spoken – Listen!
Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its master,
the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.” Isaiah 1:2-3
God is “speaking” but we don’t seem to be listening. In fact, He is speaking in every way imaginable. There’s not just one way. (Quadraphonics) Consider this bullet point listing from the bible of the ways God “speaks.”
Gen 3 – In the Garden – up close and personal.
Audible Voice – in conversations with men –
Gen 6 – Noah – Gen 12- Abraham – Exodus 3ff -Moses Samuel – 1 Samuel 3
He spoke from Heaven 3X during life of Christ at His Baptism (Matthew 3:17), Transfiguration (John 12:28), and crucifixion, saying, “This is my Son … Listen to Him! Matthew 17:5
Visitations – in person, by angels, in dreams and visions
Dreams – Jacob, Joseph, Pharaoh, etc.
Angels – Jacob, Joshua, Gideon, Peter, Paul, John
Other people – prophets, advisors, counselors, EVEN SERMONS! J
Scripture – 2 Tim 3:16; Psalms 119
Symbols and living pictures- Exodus 25:8 – Let them make me a sanctuary – the sanctuary was a living parable of the story of redemption.
Wisdom – Proverbs – The Lord gives wisdom
Still small voice – 1 Kings 19:11-12 – Still small voice or “gentle whisper” or “inner witness.”
All of Creation- Psalm 19
Music – Instruments, voices, songs
And then came the person of Jesus Christ – Hebrews 1
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.”
The Apostle John tells us that Jesus, The Word, became flesh. The Word(s) became real – they came to LIFE.
John 1:14 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” 1 John 1:1
He speaks the words of God John 3:34 (8:28; 12:49-50; 14:10). His words are life John 6:63,68.
The promise of the Holy Spirit – Counselor, Teacher
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:25-26
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:12-13
After Jesus left and went back to His Father, open communications were restored with His people via the Holy Spirit. There was a free flow of angels, visions & dreams, prophecies and other methods used by a Loving Father to “talk” with His children – quadraphonics. The prophet Joel prophesied this:
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” Joel 2:28-29
The bottom line and solid foundation is that God speaks and we can hear Him
“Whoever belongs to God hears what God says.” John 8:47
We cannot abandon faith in our ability to hear God – it would be to abandon a personal relationship with God as the cornerstone of our faith. *
Our hearts and minds and the whole of Christian tradition stand against this. His communications are suitable to the complex nature of relationships and the “persons” involved, just like any other relationship. *
The typical methods God uses are common or normal communication methods appropriate to any two-way conversation or relationship, though it will vary slightly from person to person according to personality, style, or circumstance just like it would with any parent-child relationship. My wife hears differently from God than I do. Sometimes we compare and even envy each other’s relationships with Him, which is silly because He’s just dealing with us individually – each according to our own personality, maturity (even moment by moment), and circumstance. It also varies on the subject matter. He tends to “talk” with me more about scripture and church issues, while He talks with her more about people and the gifts of the spirit. He gives me dynamic dreams that usually have implications for the Church or society but gives her more subtle dreams that deal with family and how the Holy Spirit is working in people’s lives. She sees angels and I never have. And I have had open visions and she hasn’t.
We should look at the various ways God has and is speaking and be open to all of them. God is willing to and has used them all. But we should not give primacy to one form – Angels, dreams, prophets, or others – and, especially if it’s not the one He prefers to use, then we will miss out on regular communication with Him – perhaps totally frustrating His will for our lives.*
The grandiose or exceptional experiences tend to eclipse the ordinary, so much so that we tend to discount or completely ignore the ordinary or common means of communication; primarily scripture and the “still small voice,” such that we don’t “count” it or consider it as being so.
Why is this so important? How is the relevant to my life today?
Because, He wants a relationship. And we were made for relationships, with Him and others. What would a relationship be without any communication – live, real-time? If we don’t believe that He is speaking, or we aren’t listening for Him, or we only expect to come in a certain way, then we will miss out. He wants to guide us and teach us so we can enter into His good Kingdom and teach others to do the same. (It’s not a magic wand – but the results of being taught and learning to do as instructed.) Like a Shepherd and His sheep, Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He says, “My sheep listen to my voice.” John 10.
For example, are you stressed? Well, He might say something to you like this:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Or, do you want to know how to live life well, wisely, and with the ability to withstand trial and troubles? Then He might say something like this:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25
Listening is a lost capacity in most human beings, which has had dreadful consequences in human relationships. But nowhere is it more critical then in our ability to listen to God, our Heavenly Father, Jesus our Savior and Shepherd, and Holy Spirit our Counselor. Truly it is the difference of life and death. Let us “tune” our hearts and give ourselves to listening.
For the sake of the world and the glory of God,
*PS. I am indebted to Dr. Dallas Willard the great theologian, pastor, philosopher and man of God for many of these ideas and thoughts.
Saturdays At Centro De Fe – 8:30am
We are moving to Centro De Fe to meet every Saturday, 1705 W Chestnut Avenue, 98902 from 8:30 – 10:00am.
Please call or text Dennis Crane, 509.910.7772, if you have any questions.
Please invite others to come that share their desire for Transformation in the Yakima Valley.