Zacharias heard about the miraculous coming birth of his son John the Baptist from an angel (Luke 1:13-17) just as Mary heard from an angel how God would use her to be the virgin mother of Jesus (Luke 1:30-37). God also spoke to the shepherds on the Bethlehem hillside through an angel that spoke to them and then was joined with a host of angels announcing the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:9-14). What amazing encounters each one of these must have been for the people who were there!
There are various times in Scripture prior to the completion of the Bible that God used dreams to speak to His people. Some of those include Jacob in Genesis 28 where he saw a ladder coming down out of heaven and angels descending and ascending on that ladder. We know Joseph had dreams that foretold what would happen when his family would bow before him one day (Genesis 37:5-10). Later in Joseph’s life, he would interpret dreams for the butler and the baker who had been put in the same prison as he. I can imagine that Joseph was reminded of his own dreams when he was helping the butler and the baker (Genesis 40:5). Joseph’s ability to accurately interpret the dreams offered him an audience for Pharaoh when God sent him a dream predicting the future of plenty and famine in Egypt (Genesis 41:1-7). God used a dream to reveal to Isaiah what would happen to the people of Israel (Isaiah 1:1). Joseph met God in a dream in Matthew 1:20-23 in which God revealed His plan to have Mary be the virgin mother of Jesus. And the wise men were warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod after they had found the Christ-child (Matthew 2:12). Joseph was again warned in a dream to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt to escape the massacre of the children in Bethlehem (Matthew 1:13). Although these dreams must have been shocking experiences, God used each one to accomplish His purpose in that person’s life
3. Handwriting on the Wall
God spoke to a pagan king who was dishonoring Him in a unique way in Daniel 5:5-9. Daniel records that there were fingers from a man’s hand that appeared on the wall of Belshazzar’s palace. The fingers began to write on the wall a message that told of the sudden destruction of the people in that palace. They had defiled God’s temple and the items of worship, and He clearly told them of the destruction that came swiftly. It is likely that this is where we get the common phrase about “seeing the handwriting on the wall.” God used this unique method of communication in an effort to grab the attention of wicked King Belshazzar and the others in attendance at his party.
4. A Talking Donkey
Because God is Master of everything in this world, He has the ability to make animals speak! Once He used a donkey in Numbers 22:21-35 to speak to Balaam because this servant of the Lord was not listening to God otherwise. When you read this account, you find that God tried in several ways to get Balaam’s attention, but He had to resort to something so out of the ordinary to get Balaam’s attention that He made the donkey speak to him. The incredible thing to me in this story is that Balaam converses with the donkey. He was so far removed from hearing God speak that he missed the original phenomenon of the talking donkey.
5. A Cloud by Day and Fire by Night
In Exodus 13:21-22, God directed His people using a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night as they navigated the wilderness. Although the Bible doesn’t say He spoke to them out of these things, He was definitively leading them with this physical manifestation of His presence. The cloud would have provided some shade for them in the desert during the heat of the day and the fire at night was the light for them to see. God was directing them and caring for their needs all at the same time.
6. A Great Fish
Jonah had direct instructions from God about where to go and preach, but he ignored those completely. God, again as the Creator and Sustainer of all nature, prepared a fish to swallow Jonah and keep him captive for three days so that Jonah would hear from God again and choose to obey (Jonah 2). God’s command over nature is evident in this story as He even instructed the fish when it was time to evict Jonah from his belly!
7. A Burning Bush
Exodus 3 describes the Lord’s speaking to Moses from the burning bush to call him to lead the people of Israel out of bondage from Egypt. This passage is so relatable for anyone who has been called to serve the Lord and yet feels inadequate to do so. It is a great reminder that God knows who He calls and equips them to do what He calls them to do with His help!
God spoke verbally to several people in Scripture to tell them what He wanted them to do. Some of those include Abraham in Genesis 12:1-4 where God told Abraham to leave his own country to go to a land God would give him eventually. Moses and Aaron heard God speak in Exodus 7 with instructions about how to approach Pharaoh to demand he let the Israelites go from Egypt. God spoke verbally at Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3:13-17 pronouncing blessing on His only begotten Son as Jesus began His earthly ministry. God also spoke verbally to Paul on the road to Damascus when Paul was converted (Acts 9:3-6). To hear the voice of God from heaven must have been an experience indescribable for each person! But it is not the event that we notice in each of these, but it is the obedience of each one to do what God told them to do.
You might be wondering at this point, “How does this help me?” On the surface, we may think that it would just be easier if God spoke to us in these overt ways today. Now I am not sure how I feel about the handwriting on the wall, a talking donkey, or a fish to swallow me up! But I can imagine that you are like me in that you have asked God to speak to you and make it very clear what He wants you to do. So how does God speak to us today?
Hebrews 1:1-2 answers this question so clearly for us.
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds;"
God spoke to His people and His prophets in so many different ways. I am sure that even the short explanation above is missing some of those examples, but what the writer of Hebrews tells us is that He is still speaking to us even today. How? THROUGH HIS SON!!!
We don’t have to wait for God to speak to us in a dream or for an angel to appear to us and tell us what we need to do. He has given us everything we need to hear from Him through the life of His Son revealed in His Word.
Jesus is the completion of all that God needed to reveal to us. When we know Him, we have all we need for salvation. When we know Him, we have all we need to walk through this life in a relationship with Him.
So, the question today is simply this—Do you know my Jesus? Do you know Him as your Savior? Oh Friend, if you don’t, please reach out to us today so we can introduce you to God’s Son!
Do you know Him as your Sustainer and Friend? Everything we need to know about Him is revealed in His Word! May I encourage you to go see Him revealed in His Word and let Him speak to you today!
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