I’ve heard people say, “The Lord told me this,” or “The Lord told me that.” And most of the time, what they mean is that they have this strong sense that God is leading them in a particular direction. But I think it’s an unhelpful way for us to talk because it can make other people feel like you have the direct line to God. They conclude that they must not be as faithful to the Lord as you are, or that they don’t have the sort of inside scoop like you do.
A few years back when my daughter was four, we were taking a walk around the neighborhood. And out of the blue she said, “Papa, how come God don’t talk?” And I remember, one, just being shocked by her question, but also, it breaking my heart a little bit because it was so honest. She wanted to know how come God wasn’t responding to her prayers. I haven’t heard his voice. She’d heard us talk to God all the time. We pray in the morning, we pray before our meals, we pray before we go to bed at night. It seemed to her like we were talking to God all the time, pursuing the Lord. But she was concerned because she’d never heard the voice of God.
So we have to understand how it is that God speaks to us today. And there are two ways:
1. God speaks to us through general revelation.
That’s just the world around us. I think about what the psalmist said in Psalm 19:1–2: “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” The psalmist is saying very clearly, God is speaking to us through the created order.
Now, what has God revealed to us through the created order? That he’s all powerful, that he’s infinite, that he’s the creator God. That’s really the substance of what he’s saying to us through creation (See Rom. 1). It’s that sense that we have when we’re out in the mountains. You look up at the sky and you see all the stars—the heavens—and you’re just blown away. You have this sense: Man, I’m so small; there’s something so much greater out there—God, the Creator.
2. God speaks to us through special revelation.
But there’s another way in which God has spoken to us. And that’s through his special revelation, recorded for us in Scripture.
There were times in the history of redemption where God did speak more audibly. Think about his interactions with Moses, or even with some of the apostles. But the fact of the matter is, all of that was recorded for us in the Bible so that by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we might hear God speaking to us now, through his word.
So I would never want to say that God isn’t speaking today. No, God is speaking. But he’s speaking through the Scriptures. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, he’s speaking through the created world around us. That’s not to say that God couldn’t speak to someone today in some extraordinary way. But that’s just not the expectation. That’s not what we look for, or what we chase after because ordinarily, that doesn’t happen.
I don’t know anyone who says, “I’ve actually heard the audible voice of God,” but I know a lot of people who have been transformed by the Scriptures. And so every day you can pray and say, “Lord, speak to me.” But as you pray that prayer, you should open up God’s word. And you should read it, expecting the Spirit of God to open your heart, your eyes, and your mind to receive what God speaks through his word to you about his Son.
The Lord is speaking—he’s giving you his word to communicate his will to you. Let’s take it up and read.