These words were spoken by the prophet Isaiah more than 2600 years ago, yet they still are as true as they were then. An important question to answer is, “how does God speak these words?” Can we expect to hear the literal voice of God? There are many people in the world who claim to have a ‘hotline’ to God, that is, they believe God communicates directly to them. The Bible tells us clearly how God spoke to people throughout the ages, a study of its teachings will give us a clear image of how God speaks.
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds...” (Hebrews 1:1,2)
God spoke to chosen people, called prophets, throughout the Old Testament times. In the New Testament era (called “these last days” in the quote) we are privileged to have had the words delivered to us through Jesus.
The following quote shows us how the message was to be passed to the rest of the world from those who received it.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Revelation 1:1-3)
Very important is the fact that these words were given by God to Jesus, sent through an angel to John. John then wrote these words down so they could be read by others.
It makes perfect sense to write the words of God down. How often do we write down something important so it is not forgotten, and what could be more important than the words of God?
Some people who lay claim to being followers of Jesus sadly do not recognise the importance of God’s words. Here are some quotes which affirm the importance of the Bible.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16,17)
"Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”(Psalm 119:104,105)Regarding the question of whether we can expect to hear God speak to us through an actual, audible voice, consider these words:
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3)
The “faith” - which means the total of what we need to know to please God, has been once and for all time delivered, there’s nothing more to come. Regarding guidance for our lives, the Bible makes things quite clear that we should read God’s word and not expect God to speak to us individually about how we should conduct our lives. We can therefore conclude that guidance is to be found in reading and hearing God’s word, the Bible. We should not expect God to communicate to us through direct speech, nor through feelings we may get on certain matters (a tingling in the spine or such like).