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THE SPEAKING VOICE.

By A.W.Tozer.


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word

was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1 v1).


A word is a way by which thoughts are expressed, and the application of the term to the eternal Son leads us to believe that self-expression is inherent in the Godhead, that God is for ever seeking to speak to His creation. The whole Bible supports this idea. God is speaking, not God spoke. He is, by His nature, continuously articulate. He fills the world with His speaking voice. 

One of the great realities with which we have to deal is the voice of God in His world. The why of natural law is the living voice of God active in His creation. This word of God which brought all worlds into being cannot be understood to mean the Bible. It is not a written or printed word but the expression of the will of God spoken into the structure of all things. This word of God is the breath of God filling the world with living possibility. The voice of God is the most powerful force in nature, indeed the only force in nature, for all energy is here only because the power-filled word is being spoken.

The Bible is the written Word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by ink and paper. The voice of God is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6 v63). The life is in the speaking words. God’s word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God’s word in the universe. It is the present voice which makes the written Word all-powerful.

The Bible teaches that, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth . . . For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Ps 33 v6 & 9). “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command” (Heb. 11 v3). Again we must remember that God is referring here not to His written Word, but to His speaking voice. His world-filling voice is meant, that voice which was before the Bible by uncounted centuries, that voice has not been silent since the dawn of creation, but is sounding still throughout the far reaches of the universe.

The Word of God is quick and powerful. In the beginning He spoke to nothing, and it became something. Chaos heard it and became order, darkness heard it and became light. “And God said . . . and it was so” (Gen. 1 v9).

God is here and He is speaking, and these truths are behind all other Bible truths, without them there could be no revelation at all. God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds. He spoke a book and lives in His spoken words, constantly speaking His words and causing the power of them to persist across the years.

We have not given sufficient attention to the statement in the book of John, “This was the true Light that gives light to everyone who comes into the world” (John 1 v9). The Word of God affects the hearts of all as light in the soul. In the hearts of all the light shines, the Word sounds, and there is no escape. God is alive and in His world. John says that it is so. Even those persons who have never heard of the Bible have still been preached to with sufficient clarity to remove every excuse from their hearts for ever. “They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now defending them” (Rom. 2 v15). “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1 v20).

This universal voice of God was by the ancient Hebrews often called wisdom and was said to be everywhere sounding and searching throughout the earth, seeking some response from the children of men. The eighth chapter of Proverbs begins, “Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?” She sounds her voice from every quarter so that no one may miss hearing it. ‘“To you, O men, I call out, I raise my voice to all mankind” (Prov. 8 v.4). Then she pleads for the simple and the foolish to give ear to her words. It is a spiritual response for which this wisdom of God is pleading, a response which she has always sought and is but rarely able to secure. The tragedy is that our eternal welfare depends upon our hearing, and we have trained our ears not to hear.

When God spoke out of heaven to our Lord, the people who heard it explained it by natural causes, saying, ‘It thundered’. In the living, breathing universe there is Someone, too wonderful for any mind to understand. The believer does not claim to understand. He falls to his knees and whispers, ‘God’. The man of earth kneels also, but not to worship. He kneels to examine, to search, to find the cause and the how of things. We are more likely to explain than to adore. ‘It thundered’, we exclaim and go our earthly way. But still the voice sounds and searches. The order and life of the world depend upon that voice, but we are mostly too busy or too stubborn to give attention.

God’s redemptive revelation in Scripture is necessary to saving faith and peace with God. Faith in the risen Saviour is necessary if the vague stirrings toward immortality are to bring us to restful and satisfying communion with God.

The voice of God is a friendly voice. No one need fear to listen to it unless they have already made up their mind to resist. The blood of Jesus has covered not only the human race but all creation, “and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood shed on the cross” (Col. 1 v20). We may safely preach a friendly heaven. The heavens as well as the earth are filled with the good will of Him who appeared to Moses in the burning bush. The perfect blood of atonement secures this for ever.

Whoever will listen will hear the speaking heaven. We are not likely to respond to an exhortation to listen, for listening is not today a part of popular religion. Religion has accepted the monstrous heresy that noise, size, activity and bluster make us dear to God. But we may take heart. To a people caught in the tempest of the last great conflict God says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46 v10), and still He says it, as if He means to tell us that our strength and safety lie not in noise but in silence.

It is important that we get still to wait on God. And it is best that we get alone, preferably with our Bible open before us. Then if we will we may draw near to God and begin to hear Him speak to us in our hearts. Then will come life and light, and best of all, the ability to see and rest in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

The Bible will never be a living book to us until we are convinced that God is articulate in His universe. We may admit that we should accept the Bible as the Word of God, and may try to think of it as such, but we may find it difficult to believe that the words there on the page are actually for us. We may say, ‘These words are addressed to me’, and yet in our heart not feel and know that they are. We are the victims of a divided outlook. We try to think of God as mute everywhere else and vocal only in a book.

I believe that much of our religious unbelief is due to a wrong understanding of and a wrong feeling for the Scriptures of truth. A silent God suddenly began to speak in a book and when the book was finished lapsed back into silence. We may read the book as the record of what God said when He was for a brief time in a speaking mood. With thoughts like that in our heads how can we believe? The facts are that God is not silent, has never been silent. It is the nature of God to speak. The second person of the Trinity is called the Word. The Bible is the inevitable outcome of God’s continuous speech. It is the infallible declaration of His mind for us put into our familiar human words.

The prophets habitually said, “Thus saith the Lord”. They meant their hearers to understand that God’s speaking is in the continuous present. We may use the past tense to indicate that at a certain time a certain word of God was spoken, but a word of God once spoken continues to be spoken, the Word of our God endures for ever.

Come to the open Bible expecting God to speak to you. Do not come with the idea that it is a thing which you may push around. It is not a thing, it is a voice, a word, the very Word of the living God.

From: ‘Pursuit of God’.