James W. Goll

B. Childress
May 21 2010

    "And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and
    take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will
    seek the young child to destroy him."  Matthew 2:13

    "And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou
    hast smitten me these three times?...Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the
    LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his
    face."   Numbers 22:28,31

    "But he answered and said, "'It is written, MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD

After Jesus' 40-day fast, when He was being tempted, Satan said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these
stones become bread" (Matthew 4:3).  Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3: "Man does not live by bread alone,
but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD."  The word "proceeds," also found in Matthew
4:4, is a continuous action verb.  God's life-giving word proceeds and continues to proceed.  It is God's ever-proceeding
word that gives us life!  God has spoken; God is speaking; God will continue to guide His children by speaking.

God has also said that out of the "mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed" (Matthew 18:16).  For
emphasis, we find this statement, or a variation, three times in Scripture: in Deuteronomy 19:15, in Matthew 18:16 and in
II Corinthians 13:1.  Evidently, 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 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.

An Early Lesson

I have never forgotten an early lesson that imprinted my spiritual life.  During the Jesus Movement, I was attending a
house-church-type meeting.  A man from another state was ministering to us young leaders.  He was a bit older than I
was and he was also more experienced in ministry.  I was just sitting on the couch in the living room minding my own
business when this man looked straight at me.  He said, "Well, you feel like everything's all dried up, don't you?"

Now, at that time, I was not used to being around gifted people who had discernment, people who were capable of
prophetically "reading my mail."  He continued, "You feel like you're not hearing God's voice right now.  Is that right?"

His readout on me was sadly accurate.  I had gotten used to hearing God somewhat clearly in one specific way.  But
often I didn't know what He was saying.  The visitor continued, "It's not that God has quit speaking.  It's that He has just
switched channels on His dial.  It's like God uses a radio when He speaks to us.  God has not quit speaking to you.  He
has just turned the knob over to a different channel that you are not used to hearing Him on."  This man was using
parabolic language; I could understand a radio changing channels.  Instead of feeling condemned or exposed, I felt
enlightened and encouraged.  I was hearing God!  It's just that there are many different ways the voice of God is
transmitted to us.  I left the room thinking,
I can't wait to discover the other ways by which my Papa God wants to speak
to me!

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.

God's Multifaceted Voice

As a good carpenter has more than one tool in his tool chest, so we must have a good assortment of tools available to
us in order to properly build the house of the Lord.  Here is a few scriptural examples that portray the diversity of tools
the Spirit uses to speak to people:

1)  A dream or vision (see Job 33:14-18)

2)  A voice in a trance (see Acts 10:9-16)

3)  The voice of many angels (see Revelation 5:11)

4)  The voice of the archangel (see I Thessalonians 4:16)

5)  The "sound of many waters" (Revelation 1:15)

6)  The sound of the Lord walking in the Garden (see Genesis 3:8)

7)  The sound of the army of God marching in the tops of the trees (see II Samuel 5:23-25)

8)  The audible voice of God (see Exodus 3:4)

9)  God "speaking peace" to His people (Psalm 85:8)

10)  God's written Word (our primary source of His voice and our chief reference point - see Psalm 119:105)

11)  Wonders in the sky and on Earth (see Joel 2:30-31)

12)  Visions and parables to the prophets (see Hosea 12:10)

13)  Words and physical metaphors to the prophets (see Jeremiah 18:1-6)

14)  The Holy Spirit speaking to a group (see Acts 13:2)

15)  Men, moved by the Holy Spirit, declaring God's voice (see II Peter 1:21)

16)  Heavenly experiences in which one is brought up before the Lord (see II Corinthians 12:1-4)

17)  The Holy Spirit bearing witness to our spirit (see Romans 8:16)

18)  A dumb donkey speaking with the voice of a man (see II Peter 2:16)

19)  One person speaking the revelatory counsel of the Lord to another (see James 5:19-20)

20)  God's own Son (see Hebrews 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

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!

Quin Sherrer tells us:

    God speaks to us in many other ways.  If we are open to hearing His voice at every turn, we will begin to
    recognize it with much greater frequency.

    Sherrer continues:

    Less dramatically, God can speak to us through an "internal witness" or a "knowing" in our innermost being, a
    settling peace, a conviction that the decision we might normally fret over is the right one.  He can also speak
    through circumstances ("closed and open doors") or a seemingly serendipitous meeting that brings us an

God is not limited in His attention-getting techniques!  He wants to be heard, and He has plenty of approaches He can

Out of the Box

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.  Let's get out of the box!  He wants to lift the lid over our head so that we can experience open heavens.

Let's read Psalm 29:3-9 to get a better idea about the variety of ways we might be able to hear the voice of God:

    3.  "The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.

    4.  The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD  is full of majesty.

    5.  The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.

    6.  He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.

    7.  The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.

    8.  The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.

    9.  The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every
    one speak of his glory."   

Yes, when the powerful and glorious voice of the Lord comes into our lives, it definitely rolls around in our spirits and
"thunders" for a while (verse 3).  It really grabs our attention.  We can't get away from it and we can't get away from
Him.  At times, God will manifest Himself as a glorious intruder, as He did with Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus.  
If and when this occurs, we will never be the same.  His voice will rock our world!

Majestic and penetrating, the voice of the Lord "breaks the cedars" (verse 5).  Cedars are very dense, hard wood.  
(Have you ever felt someone was "too dense" for the Lord to reach?)  When cedars are broken open, they release an
irresistible fragrance.  His voice is capable of coming into any situation that looms in front of us like an intimidating giant
and mowing it down.  Out of that once-foreboding giant, the aroma of Christ can come forth.

Have you ever needed to be refreshed in the Lord?  Have you lost some of your zeal along the way?  Need to return to
your first love?  Then God's voice is the cure.  The intimacy of His voice will make you skip once again (see verse 6).  
You will feel like a child at play, ready to run, jump, and leap.  Your wildness will even return and once again you will
learn to love adventure.

Psalm 29 continues, "The voice of the LORD hews out flames of fire" (verse 7).  Have any of us ever been scorched by
the hot words of God?  Sometimes thundering, sometimes quiet and sweet, God's voice can bring intense conviction
into our lives.  When His authentic fire comes, we may feel like running away from the fire rather than into it.  But this
fiery word and resulting experience has come to purify us for a useful purpose.  Let the fire fall, and let His word purify,
cleanse and burn out all of the dross and impurities within our hearts.

Moving on to verse 8, we find that the "voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness."  Some of this is pretty uncomfortable.  
God shakes everything that can be shaken so that that which cannot be shaken will remain.  I don't want my life to be
built on a foundation that cannot hold up under the pressure.  The voice of the Lord will try the foundations of our lives.  
God makes sure our lives are built upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ and His righteousness.  At times of trial, pressure
and shaking, we need to let these difficulties propel us to become unshakable.

Do you want creativity to abound in your life?  Tired of your own ideas and formulas?  Then listen for the voice of the
Lord, because it makes the "deer to calve" (verse 9).  The voice of the Lord creates faith in the hearer.  It changes your
circumstances from being barren to being fruitful.  My wife and I were diagnosed as medically barren.  But the word of
the Lord came forth and faith was conceived - and so were four children!  We know the voice of the Lord causes the
deer to calve!  It is never too late for fresh life to emerge.  Dormant dreams become activated in a moment by the voice
of God.  May His word come upon you and cause you to see yourself as a fruitful vine!

"And [the voice of the Lord] strips the forests bare" (verse 9).  How do you like that one?  God's voice comes, and it
removes all the false armor that we rely on.  All of our vanities, self-reliance, false images and pretenses are stripped
away, and we are left naked before the Creator of the universe.  The voice of God brings humility into our lives.  
According to John 15, it is the tree that has borne fruit that He prunes.  So let's be encouraged, looking at the end result
and remembering how good He is.  If He strips us or asks us  to lay something down, He always has a great reason.

He wants us to hear His voice in all of its manifestations so that we can bear much fruit - fruit that will remain.

The End Result

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.  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 still, small
voice continue to proceed.  You and I do not live by bread alone but by the ever-proceeding Word of our Father.  Yes,
everything in His temple shouts "Glory!"


THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO HEARING GOD, by James W. Goll, Copyright 2008, Regal From Gospel Light.