Here is an excerpt:
Samuel heard it and mistook it for the voice of the priest. It was an audible voice, just like a human voice (1 Sam. 3). Moses heard it too. Elijah had to go all the way to Mt. Horeb to hear it, and then it came in a still whisper. Jesus heard it at his baptism in a vision and so did Paul, and we could go on. Throughout the history of God's people and even unto today people have been hearing God's voice. What characterizes most, if not all these direct communications (without aid of cellphone) is that they are brief and direct, and often they involve the direct calling by name of the human being involved.Witherington then went on to share his experience as well as an experience described in a book he read.
One of the reasons this phenomenon interests me so much is that it happened to me - once and only once.
I have to say, I have not had a similar experience.
So does God talk to me?
I haven't heard from Him in that way since. But then, I wasn't reading his Word then - I've been doing that ever since and both the Word and my life make much better sense now :)I suppose that would be one way I have heard the voice of God. I acknowledge there are times I read the Bible and soon forget what I read. But there are times when it just "hits" me and I realize I need to change something in my life or share what I read with a friend or feel a great sense of comfort because what I read refocused my mind towards God.
In pondering this topic, I once wrote a friend the following:
Now, I do believe I have sensed God pointing me in a certain direction ... for some reason a particular Bible verse would nag at me ... images of certain friends and their prayer requests would filter into my prayer time ... I'd feel compelled to call or email a friend ... I'm moved to donate to a certain ministry. I think God "communicates" in these ways though skeptics will just say I'm imagining things! But I do not believe I have ever heard God speak to me in the sense that God spoke to Moses, Abraham and Jacob ... I believe the Holy Spirit tends to work in rather subtle ways as a general rule though I definitely believe the Holy Spirit is free to be dramatic and drastic too!To another friend I wrote these wonderings about the potential mechanism of God's actions:
I do know that when I take time for mediation and prayer, different thoughts and ideas and people run through my mind. I suppose the atheists will say those things are the random flotsam and jetsam of the evolutionary produced brain organizing the memories of the days just past.Dunno ... deep thoughts for a Saturday morning. Maybe I should just go back to sleep!
But I suppose the joke could be on them if God designed the brain to operate that way and that the Holy Spirit's intervention could be as tiny as tripping an additional series of neural signals? The god of the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night could operate at the level of molecules too?