The Voice Of God

The Voice Of God
Robert Wurtz II with Ben Wurtz

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. (Exodus 15:26 KJV)

And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:3–6 KJV)

I have chosen these passages to illustrate one of the things that distinguishes God’s people from all the rest of the people on the face of the earth. We have it clearly in both passages, “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God (Exodus 15:26a) and again, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed.” (Exodus 19:5a) Our translation obscures the fact that in both verses we have the doubling of Hebrew words for emphasis. You will recall terms such as King of kings, Lord of lords, Song of songs, and Holy of holies. The doubling shows that thing or person in the ultimate. In Exodus 15:26a the Hebrew word for hearken is doubled (hearken, hearken). In Exodus 19:5a the Hebrew word for obey is doubled (obey, obey). This is ultimate hearing and obeying. 

It is interesting that when the children of Israel were near the mountain, they heard the sound of a trumpet (shofar) so loud that the people trembled. Between the shofar and the voices, it was an incredible experience. The writer to the Hebrews tells us:

For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was commanded.” (Hebrews 12:18–20a NKJV)

This is interesting because when John heard the voice of Jesus in Revelation chapter one, it was as the sound of a trumpet (shofar). Could it be that the children of Israel were actually hearing the voice of God, as it were,   a shofar? Some suggest no; however, the evidence is inconclusive. Nevertheless, it can be said with certainly that the Children of Israel heard God speaking, and the event was very loud. In fact, it waxed louder and louder (Exodus 19:19). There is little doubt that everyone present heard God speak. Their argument was that the phenomenon was so fearful that they couldn’t endure what was said. (Hebrews 12:26)

God Dealing Specifically 

Let’s move the other direction in terms of volume. Under the New Covenant God has chosen not to deal with man as He dealt with Israel. He deals specifically, but not with loud — threatening sounding voices and sounds of a shofar (trumpet); He deals in a way that is personal and requires our utmost inward honesty. In other words,   people are dealt with of God in subtle, but real ways. Both the loudness of the Exodus experience and the still small voice of ours are sufficient to convey God’s voice. We are made to know God’s dealings in the heart; nevertheless, not in such a way that it could be proven scientifically. The Children of Israel heard God loud and clear, but made the excuse that it was too fearful. Those in the New Covenant dispensation are dealt with in the heart —, yet many pretend God is  not dealing. What did the writer to the Hebrews say? 

Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, “They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways. (Hebrews 3:7–10 NKJV)

Clearly, a comparison is being made between our experience and that of the Children of Israel. Whether the voice is very loud or very soft, we can identify our Creator’s voice. We know when God is dealing with us and revealing His will. The key is our heart condition. If we harden our heart against what God is saying, we will end up doing what Israel did in the wilderness. 

God gave Israel His commandments and statutes. He taught them right from wrong. He gave them the first covenant. He had regulations dealing with nearly all facets of life. However, this is not to be confused with specific instructions that come from the Lord. We may refer to them as “direct orders.” When God spoke to a person or to His people, He expected them to hear utterly and obey. 

Moreover, the Lord spoke to Isaac saying: 

And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. (Genesis 26:4–5 KJV)

Notice again, the first thing mentioned is that Abraham obeyed my voice. This is what set Abraham apart from the rest of the pack. He wanted to know and do God’s will. Jesus put it even more pointedly when He quoted Deut. 8:3, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4 KJV) The word “proceeds” is in the present. God is speaking; it is our responsibility to hear what the Spirit is saying. In fact, God prefaced His word to Israel in Deut 8:3 when He stated, And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3 KJV) Bread is a mere detail in man’s dependence on God (Bruce quoted in A.T. Robertson) 

When God Deals and Reveals  

God speaks to His people individually and as an assembly in many different ways. The question is not “is God speaking?” The question is “are we hearkening?” As we spend time in prayer and in His word, He will speak to us. The obstacle is found when our will clashes with God’s. A heart that hardens towards God is an evil heart of unbelief. When we come to God, we have to believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. As we respond to what we know to be Gods will, He will speak to us more of His will. This is often a step by step process. As we obey God, he makes His abode with us and communicates His will to us; not thundering through a shofar, but in the still small voice of the heart. 

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