God has a word for us, "No more boxes!" God does not live in a box. He did at one time—but ever since He broke out of the ark of the covenant, He has never lived in a box again. Of course, you and I tend to live in boxes that are often fairly nice, although cramped. They're neat, but stuffy, old and stale. If God no longer lives in a box, then let's follow suit and let's live outside of the box too!
He wants to lift the lid over our head so we can experience His voice on an ongoing basis. Let's breathe in God's refreshing Word and renew our hearts and souls so that we will walk in a new level of His divine creativity.
God Confirms His Word
God wants us to hear His voice, discern it from other voices, and then, through the spirit of wisdom and revelation, correctly interpret and apply the word He has spoken to us. God has said that ", so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed" (Matt. 18:16, NASB). For emphasis, we find this statement, or a variation, three times in Scripture: in Deuteronomy 19:15, in Matthew 18:16 and in 2 Corinthians 13:1.
Evidently, God does not want us to know only the historical Jesus, who came in human form and walked among men. He greatly yearns that we would also know the living, resurrected Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Father wants to enable us to hear, know and obey the risen Lord. But often we don't realize that He is speaking to us. No wonder we miss His cues. He is such a multifaceted Creator; endlessly creative in how He chooses to communicate.
God's Multifaceted Voice
Our Father's voice comes to us in such a great variety of ways that we need such moments of enlightenment. Otherwise, we tend to get locked into set patterns. It's so good of God to temporarily shut down one channel in order to open up another. He hasn't quit speaking; He is opening our hearts and minds to hear His voice in new ways. He does this so that we will continue to grow progressively in our relationship with Him. He doesn't want us to become locked in to the same patterns of hearing Him. God's goal is a real, live relationship with us.
To tell the truth, He likes messing with our radio dial! Sometimes He turns the volume louder and then back down, thus creating a greater dependency on Him. He loves to roll the dial to different stations to help us learn to appreciate the diversity within the body of Christ. After we have logged a few more listening hours, we are a whole lot less frustrated with who controls the knobs. Eventually, we learn to love the wide variety of ways in which He speaks.
Here are a few scriptural examples, which portray the out-of-the-box ways the Spirit uses to speak to people:
- A dream or vision (see Job 33:14-18)
- A voice in a trance (see Acts 10:9-16)
- The voice of many angels (see Rev. 5:11)
- The voice of the archangel (see 1 Thess. 4:16)
- The "sound of many waters" (Rev. 1:15)
- The sound of the Lord walking in the garden (see Gen. 3:8)
- The sound of the army of God marching in the tops of the trees (see 2 Sam. 5:23-25)
- The audible voice of God (see Ex. 3:4)
- God "speaking peace" to His people (Ps. 85:8)
- God's written Word (our primary source of His voice and our chief reference point) (see Ps.119:105)
- Wonders in the sky and on Earth (see Joel 2:30-31)
- Visions and parables to the prophets (see Hos. 12:10)
- Words and physical metaphors to the prophets (see Jer. 18:1-6)
- The Holy Spirit speaking to a group (see Acts 13:2)
- Men, moved by the Holy Spirit, declaring God's voice (see 2 Pet. 1:21)
- Heavenly experiences in which one is brought up before the Lord (see 2 Cor. 12:1-4)
- The Holy Spirit bearing witness to our spirit (see Rom. 8:16)
- A dumb donkey speaking with the voice of a man (see 2 Pet. 2:16)
- One person speaking the revelatory counsel of the Lord to another (see James 5:19-20)
- God's own Son (see Heb. 1:2)
This list is not exhaustive, but it gives a bird's-eye view of some of the ways God has chosen to speak to (and through) His people. I have been surprised over the years at both how God speaks and what or whom He chooses to use. Sometimes the package is not one that I would prefer. But He is God—and that means He has the right to pick what He wants to say, how to say it and what or whom to use.!
God Knows My Number
God is not limited in His attention-getting techniques. He wants to be heard, and He has plenty of approaches He can utilize.
Once the voice of God came to me in the middle of the night, but I didn't recognize it at first. The ringing of my telephone woke me up. I got up out of bed, went to our kitchen and picked up the phone, only to find there was no one on the other end—just a dial tone. I stumbled back into bed and fell back asleep, only to hear the phone ringing a second time. I rolled out of bed, groped in the dark and picked up the phone, only to find again that there was no voice on the other end.
Wearily, I walked back once more to my bedroom and crawled back into bed, only to be awakened a third time by hearing our telephone ringing. Determined to figure this thing out, I went to the kitchen, picked up the receiver and listened longer. I still didn't hear anything. But this time, a still, small voice in my heart whispered, "Jeremiah 33:3."
I hung up the receiver, found a Bible and looked up the verse: "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know." I was stunned by His invitation, and I spent the next couple of hours just sitting in the quietness of our living room in the presence of the Almighty, communing with Him and listening to His sweet, sweet voice.
Now, folks, that was a genuine God-encounter, a personal and unusual way for Him to demonstrate how He takes the initiative to deepen our relationship with Him. He caused the sound of a telephone to awaken me from my sleep. He persisted until He got my full attention. He took me to His written Word. His Word was illuminated by the Holy Spirit and was used to draw me closer to His very bosom.
Yes, after He got my attention, I called upon the Lord, and He did show me great and mighty things that I did not previously know! And this activity has never stopped! God loves to show up and show off.
The End Result
He wants us to hear His voice in all of its manifestations so that we can bear much fruit—fruit that will remain.
In our process of becoming, we must not forget that ultimately this is not about us. It is about our being transformed into the beautiful image of His glorious Son, Jesus. By the power of the voice of our personal tutor, the Holy Spirit, you and I will be changed into the image of God's Son. According to Psalm 29, we will shout praises together as we are changed from glory to glory. Everything in His temple says, "Glory!"
Let His voice thunder. Let the fire fall. Let His word be magnified. Let all creation echo His sound. Let His piercing voice continue to proceed. You and I do not live by bread alone but by the ever-proceeding Word of our Father. Yes, God no longer lives in a box, so why do we? Get out of the box; He is no longer there!
Dr. James W. Goll is the founder of God Encounters Ministries, an award-winning author and communications trainer and has ministered in over 50 nations. For information on his webinars and online classes, visit godencounters.com. James continues to live in Tennessee and is a joyful father and grandfather today.
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