Each one of us will face existential questions throughout our lives. The possessions, ideologies, and relationships that surround us tend to dull the internal ache of unanswered dissonance. Questions such as, “Who am I?” or “Will I be successful?” and “Do people like and appreciate me?” all serve to highlight the profound insecurities we carry deep within. Which one of us have been spared a deep longing to be accepted in the face of a broken relationship? After losing a job how many of us have lost countless nights of sleep wondering how we will survive and provide for ourselves and our families?
Each loss of security highlights the desperate need to address dissonant questions in our inner man. However, there is an answer to these deep questions, and it is relatively simple, but difficult to apprehend and come to grips with. Simply put, the answer is the voice of God.
In scripture and throughout history, the voice of God has been written of as a distinctly powerful forming element shaping our humanity. From the underlying insecurity of Abraham to the illumination of the passionate pursuit of David, the voice of God has given resolution to the deep-seeded questions that plague mankind throughout history.
Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek. ~ Psalm 27:8
It is not a far stretch to see the underlying dilemma in Abraham’s life wrapped up in the questions, “Will I be ok?” and “Will I be provided for?” Or the deeper question of David, “Who am I?” Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, both sees the underlying insecurity and re-affirms their desperate hearts. He truly is the knower of the hearts (Acts 1:24).
MORE Examples of the voice of god
There are countless more examples in scripture:
Jesus to the disciples: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me (John 14:1 ).” He is most assuredly addressing their inner crisis of, “What is going to happen to us?” in the face of his bold declaration that one of them would betray him.
Jesus and Peter’s crisis: John 21:16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Peter’s underlying fear that he would be rejected is directly addressed.
David’s concern for the future of his family and kingdom: II Samuel 7:12-13 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.“
Moses and his struggle with acceptance: Exodus 33:12b “I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.”
Paul and whether he could accomplish the task he was given: II Corinthians 12:9a “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Joshua and whether he would be abandoned (after Moses passed away): Joshua 1:5 “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.”
When this mystical force known as the voice of God is heard, the Bible claims that it gives rise to manifestations of power:
When He utters His voice, There is a multitude of waters in the heavens: “And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, He brings the wind out of His treasuries.” ~ Jeremiah 10:13
My heart within me is broken Because of the prophets; All my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, And like a man whom wine has overcome, Because of the Lord, And because of His holy words. ~ Jeremiah 23:9
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. ~ John 6:63
The personal application of Psalm 29:3-9
Passages like Psalm 29:3-9 highlight the manifold working of the voice of God:
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; The voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth, And strips the forests bare; And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”
Each statement has deep personal application:
Over the waters - bringing peace to unformed wildness, also creating (his voice spoke over the waters at creation).
Powerful – can mean chastise (through the idea of a firm hand). Hearing God strengthens the inner life.
Majestic – means honor, majestic through the idea of widening or increasing. Hearing the voice of God increases the potential of the individual and brings glory and honor to God.
Breaks the cedars – The root word for “cedars” is firm, can mean cedars because of the roots. The voice of God breaks what is firm or deeply rooted.
Divides the flames of fire – The voice of God divides between soul and spirit.
Shakes the wilderness - Shakes means “to tease as in dancing.” In the wilderness we learn to hear his voice.
Makes the deer give birth – The voice of God causes things to be birthed. As the deer pants for water (Psalm 42:1), as our soul longs for God and engages his voice we give birth to his presence in our life.
Strips the forest bare - Strips can mean revealing. The voice reveals what is underneath the rough exterior.
The voice of God is wild, powerful, and unpredictable
Whenever it is pictured in scripture, it leaves its indelible mark upon the hearer. Hearts our changed, destinies are formed, and lives are transformed. When God speaks things happen. His voice is both deeply personal, as well as phenomenal. No one who reads scripture can come away without at least an inkling that to hear God’s voice means something powerful, personal, and phenomenal has happened to the heart of the hearer.
Such is true in scripture, is also true in history, which we will explore in the next post.