1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 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.
Hebrews 1:1-2, KJV
1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe (NIV).
1. How Does God Speak?
Anyone who thinks that they know God so much that they know all the ways by which He speaks to His people, is not sincere, or does not understand the question to which they are volunteering a hasty answer.
God speaks in as many infinite ways as He has different children with their infinite learning and hearing abilities and disabilities. We see in Hebrews 1:1-2 that God speaks “in divers manners.”
2. God’s Voice in Time Past
God spoke in time past, to several; so, no one person should pose as if hearing God is their exclusive privilege, or as if they alone are the ones who hear God. “God… spake in time past unto the fathers…”
3. God Spoke to the Fathers
God spoke then to the fathers; He still speaks today to the fathers, who, unlike babes, do not lack discernment of His voice. This suggests a certain kind of maturity that comes from walking so often with Him and knowing His voice so well as to be able to distinguish it from the voices of ‘hirelings’ (John 10:27). Every baby of today should not fly in our face with concoctions they claim are the voice of God.
This is not to suggest that God does not speak to babes. God speaks to babes, too, because He has to communicate with all His children. After all, we read in 1 Samuel 3:8 that “the LORD... called THE CHILD.” So, God talks to children also, sometimes even about grave national issues, especially when the adults, like Eli the priest, have become so blind and deaf that they are insensitive to His voice that calls so loud that even children can hear it so often. The young men who were the priests in the days of young Samuel were no better, having themselves been corrupted and blinded with greed and lust.
4. God’s Secretaries
God spoke then through the prophets. God still speaks through His prophets. In other words, it is not everything that God says in His own voice, as Moses heard it on Mount Sinai, or as little Samuel heard it in the house of Eli. He also communicates through intermediaries. It is foolishness, then, to say, “God must talk to me ‘directly.’ I don’t take messages from secondary agents. If God has anything for me, He must say it to me.” Yes, He does speak to people, but He also, many times, sends messages through His many ‘Secretaries’ and ‘post masters,’ the prophets. God does not have to massage anyone’s ego by a ‘direct’ message, even when they are, many times, ‘out of station’ and out of spiritual network coverage. When Saul, on his way to Damascus, asked what Providence had in store for his life, he was merely told to walk on into the city where he would encounter a man through whom he was going to receive the answer to his questions. Was that because God had no respect for his voice? No. It was because God has prophets, and he speaks through them also.
5. In Divers Manners
Even though God speaks through prophets, He does not do so in the same way. In other words, there is no one method that may be called THE prophetic method of receiving messages from God. God spoke in “divers manners” to divers prophets, each prophet in his own unique ‘language.’
It is foolish, therefore, to insist that because God spoke to Prophet X by ‘Method A,’ that is the only acceptable method by which He speaks to every other person. Prophet X himself will be a fool to make a Bible out of his private one-off experience, as if that exhausts all the communicative possibilities of the infinite God. That is the problem with those who make a doctrine out of their own personal walk with God, often measuring others by the faulty tape of their own private patterns.
There are divers prophets speaking divers prophetic languages; divers prophets each with their divers graces and braces, their divers abilities and disabilities. No one prophet knows God enough to claim to be the encyclopedia of all the means by which He speaks to His people.
God will not speak to the ‘child’ in the adult language of prophetic complexities; He may neither speak to the prophet in the faltering speech of amateur babes. Because He is Father, He will speak to each child in the language they understand.
6. God Still Speaks Today
“but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” (v.2).
God still speaks today, by His Son. How? In “divers” ways. There is so much to learn of God from the words of Jesus, from the life of Jesus, from the sufferings of Jesus, from His interactions with people. There is so much of God’s voice that we can hear through Jesus, and that others can hear through us who are Christians (or “little Christs”); so much of God’s voice that we can hear through the lilies of the field, through the sparrows in the sky, through the hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30). In other words, God also sets up people and things as a sign by whom others may receive divine direction
God is always speaking, in so many ways, if only we would hear. God has so much to say where there are people to hear.
From The Preacher’s diary.