How does God speak?
Text: Exodus 3:1-6
Exodus 3 describes the commissioning and call of Moses. Little did Moses know that morning when he took his sheep out to pasture, that he would have such a significant encounter, one that would not only change his life, but would also change the lives of millions and the entire nation of Israel. But he was ready, not that he was ready to lead the Children of Israel, but he was ready for the voice of God. He was paying attention to the signs; he noticed the bush that was burning, but not being consumed. He was going about his business, being diligent and alert. God is still today looking for people who are alert, seeing the signs and being ready to respond.
What follows in the next two chapters of Exodus is one of the longest and most significant dialogues between God and man that you will find anywhere in Scripture.
After 40 years of being trained in the courts of Pharaoh in Egypt, Moses goes into a self imposed exile after murdering an Egyptian, and now at the age of 80, he is leading his father in laws flock of sheep in the desert or wilderness searching for good grazing. As he roams around he comes to a place that is known as Horeb. The name Horeb means “dry and I am sure Moses was walking around this region, he wondered if he would ever again see the wealth and fertile lands of Egypt. He was in a dry place, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
But then God spoke!
God himself calls Moses out of the Fire. “Moses! Moses!” Moses must have been scared to death, he had never heard the audible voice of God before, and he was all alone on the mountain. But Moses responds the same way as his forefathers Abraham and Jacob did before him and also the same way in which Samuel responded.
He simply said; “Here I am”. Moses was available – God is looking for people who respond when he calls still today.
What follows is the long dialogue between God and Moses. During this discourse with God, Moses is doing his best to disqualify himself for the task that God was giving him; Moses goes to great lengths arguing with God about his calling. You see Moses had been in the wilderness for so long, that he had disqualified himself in his own eyes. But God knows who he is calling, God knew exactly who Moses was, and that is the reason why he called him. Moses was suffering from a false humility that so is not uncommon today.
When God calls you, he knows you better than you know yourself, no need to remind him of your faults. But as a child of the King, when God calls you, he sees the only redeeming quality you have, he sees Jesus in you the hope of glory. Let me assure you none of us have any quality in and of ourselves that can impress God. If God calls you, do not resort to false humility, it is offensive to God, he knows what you can do. In fact false humility is the ugliest form of pride.
God still speaks today. So how does God speak? For Moses it was a fire in a bush, but what about us?
God speaks in a variety of ways:
Just because he used them in the past it doesn’t mean that he will use them again, also, he may speak in ways that he has never used before. We cannot place the omniscient God in a box, be wary of the reason given – “God has never done that before!!”
God desires and wants to communicate with people. And will not be limited to how.
- God speaks through scripture – This is our primary source for God to speak to us.
The bible is the starting point in our pursuit of a personal relationship with God, because it is His revelation of himself to mankind. God’s particular revelation of himself is in the Holy Spirit inspired word of God.
(See; Ephesians 6:17 & 2 timothy 3:16)
Having said that, God is not limited to speaking to us through the Bible, he is God after all and can speak in any way he wishes. After all God used a rooster crowing three times to speak to Peter at Jesus’ trial. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God has limited himself to speaking through scripture. As we study the scriptures we learn about God, we grow in our relationship with him.
- God speaks through others: God will use other godly people in our lives to speak to us, we all need mentors and encouragers who will pray for us and then speak the truth in love. Isaiah 28:11.
- God speaks through circumstances – Gen 50:20. Joseph saw how God used the seemingly impossible circumstances and redeem them to his glory.
- God speaks through words of wisdom and knowledge – 1 Corinthians 12:7-9.
- The audible voice of God – 1 Kings 19:11-12 we read how God spoke to Elijah the prophet.
- God also speaks to us in that still small voice, the promptings of the Holy Spirit, Just as we discussed a few weeks ago on Pentecost Sunday. Knowing and being sensitive to that inner voice of God. That is living by the Spirit of God.
- God still speaks in Dreams; the life of Daniel was one filled with dreams and interpretation. But today we are hearing stories of thousands of Muslims who are encountering Jesus in a dream and being converted.
- Sermons- my prayer every week is that you don’t come here to hear the words of a somewhat educated man, but that you would be moved into action by the words of God as He speaks to you Sunday by Sunday.
But with all these and many more ways in which God speaks we must be very careful to test and make sure that it is the voice of God. Remember God will never contradict Scripture; the Word of God is still our standard. God will also not ask us to do anything that does not exalt the name of Jesus.
You may say, “well I don’t hear god speaking – he doesn’t speak to me – “
You are not alone in feeling this way, but the truth is that God does speak to you – you are just not listening – Remember PSALM 46:10:” Be still and know that I am God.” Just be quiet and let him speak!
But we find another piece of valuable guidance from Paul in Philippians 4:8. Think on these things – again as we meditate on scripture, and the things of the Lord, we are able to better hear his voice. The truth is that we tend to think about things that we focus on. Sometimes this is not always bad – but for example if you constantly listen to talk radio you will probably become depressed and make plans to move to Argentina. In our society we have an incredible access to information – not all bad – but not all edifying and up building. I am not saying that you need to become a monk – but rather limit your time dwelling on things that are not part of God’s plan and will for your life.
Proverbs 4:23 states; “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
If the goal of our lives is to become more like Christ we need to take this seriously. How do we know the will of God for our lives? Paul makes it very clear in Romans 12:2.
So I encourage you this morning to develop a lifestyle of listening to God, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you. Start a prayer journal and write down what you feel God is saying, test it and be obedient to God.