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Why does God not speak out more loudly anymore?

In the course of a day, I communicate in a number of ways. Sometimes I call on the phone or talk to someone face-to-face. I email thoughts and ideas to others or write them down in my journal. I smile at my neighbor when I drive by and other times honk my horn.

All this to say that God communicates a number of different ways to us also. No one way is the correct way. God speaks to us through nature, the Bible, other people, events that happen in our lives, a small whisper to our heart.

Elijah the prophet encountered God during a troubling time of conflict.

And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:9b-12

Notice the ways God spoke to Elijah – a “word” came to him and Elijah heard a gentle whisper—both loudly and quietly. However, the passage highlights the ways God didn’t speak (earthquakes, wind and fire). But God had spoken to the world these ways before – the flood of Noah’s day, the burning bush and Moses. Even these weren’t the only ways He communicated to the world. God also spoke to the Israelites through Moses and stone tablets. God spoke to Mary through an angel and through the prophet Balaam via a donkey!

God is a creative communicator who speaks a number of different ways.

Back then, God’s word, the Bible, had not be written and distributed to all the world. The communication avenues in Biblical times were limited. God had to speak out loudly, before the days of text messaging.

Today, with the invention of the printing press, God speaks in a different way and His word is called “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). All that to say the Bible isn’t the only way He still speaks. People continue to “hear His voice” in their spirit, through prayer, a sermon or a crisis.

The volume that we hear God depends on the openness of our heart.

One last point, if God only spoke out loud, would that make a difference? The Israelites saw the thunder and lightning on the mountain as Moses interacted with God. He became a pillar of light and a cloud to guide them through the desert. He uses miraculous events to show how real He was and yet the Israelites worshipped other gods.

It’s not so much how God speaks, it’s whether we want to listen.