The sixth chapter of The Pursuit of God (The Speaking Voice), began with one of my favorite verses in the Bible – John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. A.W Tozer wrote, “it is the nature of God to speak, to communicate His thoughts to others.” God spoke the universe into being. God spoke to nothingness and it became something. God still fills the world with his speaking voice. The question is, do we recognize it?
The Bible is the written word of God but it is admittedly subject to the limitations of paper and ink. Tozer wrote that the Bible isn’t a record of a brief period of time when God was in the mood to speak. And God didn’t just write a book and send it by messenger to be read by “unaided minds.” He sends the Spirit to reveal His truth. His speaking voice gives the written word the power to affect the reader’s heart.
Tozer wrote that ancient Hebrews referred to the universal voice of God as wisdom. He also believed that human creativity is a response to the creative voice of God.
As I reflected on what Tozer wrote about God’s speaking voice, I recalled a Bible study my church group did a few years ago. I don’t remember the name of the book but I remember that we read about God’s call to Samuel. The voice of God sounded so much like a person to Samuel that he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” I came away from the Bible study wondering if I am doing something wrong if I don’t hear the audible voice of God, or even worse, that God doesn’t want to speak to me.
I’ve learned that my expectations for that Bible study were wrong. I should not expect to hear God speak to me out loud. God is Spirit and he speaks to the human spirit. God’s speaking voice is a gentle whisper. I’ve heard that whisper loud and clear when I have needed to hear it. Once, when I was feeling really hopeless and rejected, I sat on the floor crying to God about how badly I had messed things up. I heard Him say to me, “A broken and contrite heart, I will not despise.” God’s living word from Psalm 51 transcended the limitations of paper and spoke to my heart when I was ready to hear it.
The truth is, God still speaks to people, even ordinary people like me. God has never been silent. His voice is alive and free.
Imagine you get in a car and turn on the radio to listen to some music. You’re in a busy city in range of many stations. You turn the knob from station to station and scan through a variety of genres. Classical, jazz, rock, country, R&B, hip hop, gospel, the blues. Now imagine you’re driving in an isolated area like the great plains. You turn the knob and hear a station that’s just out of range. You can’t make out the words or the tune. You keep turning the knob and hear nothing but static.
The point is, if we want to hear the speaking voice of God, we must draw near to Him. We must tune in. We can’t let the noises of this world distract us from the living God who wants to be heard. No one is ever out of His range.
Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Jesus was with God from the beginning. The Word became flesh and and made his dwelling among us. Through his example and his words, Jesus expressed who God is. His voice still speaks to those who hear with their hearts. His voice is a light that shines in the darkness and gives understanding to the simple.
The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.Psalm 119:130
Lord, I thank you for sending the Word to become flesh and to live among us. Give us ears to hear and hearts that understand Your quiet, gentle voice. Unfold your words and give understanding to the simple.