“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” —Isaiah 30:21 ESV
One powerful way that God spoke many times in the Old Testament was through an audible voice. The Lord would speak to His prophets, kings, priests, and leaders in such a way that they didn’t question who was talking. The Bible gives many different outward expressions of how He spoke audibly as you research throughout the Old Testament. Furthermore, there is no biblical account that proves that God stopped speaking in that way. If it’s recorded hundreds of times that God spoke to people audibly than we must believe it as biblical fact and not a myth. The audible voice of God is more easily recognizable than the still small voice of God.
The Holy Spirit will help you hear God’s voice whether God decides to speak audibly, visually, or inwardly through impressions. We were created to hear the audible voice of God. Adam and Eve heard the voice of God walking in the garden and hid themselves (Gen. 3:8). The Lord can speak today in an audible way just as He did with many others in the Bible and with the first family Adam and Eve. It wasn’t clear how they heard God’s voice but it sounded like Him walking, which indicates that His voice was audibly heard outwardly with their natural ears and not spiritual ears. Clearly, Adam held a conversation with God because God called Adam by name:
And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself (Genesis 3:8-10 KJV).
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth (Genesis 1:27-28 KJV).
Adam and Eve’s first introduction to God was hearing His audible voice. I believe every spirit-filled believer can sharpen their ability to hear the voice of God if they are open. The audible voice of God may not be as frequent as the still small voice of God and other means of communication; however, we must not rule it out. God does sovereignly still speak audibly and outwardly.
The Lord spoke to the first family audibly. If He spoke to Adam audibly, He can speak to you today in the same manner. God will make Himself known to you outwardly and audibly as He deems the season and time fitting. The Israelites heard the outward voice of the Lord and wanted Moses to speak to them instead of God. This is not a fairytale story; it’s the Word of God interacting with real people just like you and me.
And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? (Numbers 12:6-8 KJV)
What is God is saying here? He is basically saying that most people mainly hear His voice internally. This Scripture indicates that God speaks to prophets in visions and dreams—that is the Lord’s general way of speaking to them. However, Moses had a unique place in history, for God to decide to speak to him externally in an audible voice.
What makes Moses so different from other prophets? I believe it was based on the sovereignty of God and the individual He chose. Moses had a greater sphere of authority, so it would make sense for God to speak to him directly, clearly, and externally. I believe that it also depends on a person’s assignment, mantle, calling, and sphere of responsibility.
In Scripture, God spoke to Moses face to face (mouth to mouth). Clearly, God is making a distinction between dark speeches, mouth-to-mouth encounters, and dreams and visions. All are ways God speaks, but all are distributed and expressed differently as God chooses. We must also take into consideration that there are different levels of hearing and receiving revelation from God. For example, God will speak to prophets by revealing secrets and divine plans to them according to Amos 3:7. However, as a Christian believer you still have access to know the plans, mind, and purposes of God for your life through the Holy Spirit.
Moses heard on another level. God spoke to him face to face, or other Bible translations say mouth to mouth. He heard the audible voice of God through a burning bush. There are prophetic expressions of God that were unique to Moses, but I believe God wants to establish a face to face or mouth to mouth encounter with all His children daily.
Hearing the audible voice of God was terrifying to the people in the days of Moses. The people wanted Moses to speak on the behalf of God. The voice of God is the sound of thunder! We can see this in Exodus 20:18-21:
All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was (NASB).
One of the things that I wanted to know growing in the prophetic was—what does the audible voice of God sound like? Some would say that the voice of God sounds like your own voice, which I agree with when you are Holy Spirit baptized. Moreover, I know personally that the voice of the Lord sounds like the voice of a Father. When I heard the voice of the Lord audibly and not in a still small voice, I heard a thunder-like voice that frightened me. So I had to search the Scriptures for biblical support. This personal encounter that I experienced at the age of seven years old cannot be explained except through the Word of God.
Biblically, I found something that blessed my life forever after hearing the outward, audible voice of God. His voice is found in Job 37:2, which got my undivided attention. This passage of Scripture validates and confirms my personal encounter with God: “Listen closely to the thunder of His voice, and the rumbling that goes out from His mouth” (NASB).
The voice of God can be revealed expressively through mountains, water, trees, meadows, clouds, valleys, landscapes, and so much more. Biblically, God’s voice is heard through thunder and clouds, upon the many waters, and lightning:
The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded (2 Samuel 22:14 NLT).
Then there comes a roaring sound; God thunders with his majestic voice. He does not restrain the lightning when his rumbling voice is heard (Job 37:4 CSB).
God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend (Job 37:5 ESV).
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters (Psalm 29:3).
During the time I heard the audible voice of God, it was not thundering or cloudy out but a beautiful afternoon while I was playing basketball with some neighborhood friends. God spoke from heaven, but some people who stood nearby thought they were hearing thunder. I could only describe His voice as like thunder—most young people and small animals are scared of the rumbling thunder sound when it does rain. There’s the possibility that this could happen today.
We must understand that this is a unique and high-level way God speaks to us. We may not all hear the voice of God like me when I was seven years old. However, we all can by faith know that the worlds were framed by what God spoke into being.