Over the last several months I’ve written three unique articles exploring biblical patterns of prophetic engagement. For many years, I desired to comprehend the ways our heavenly Father has communicated with His sons and daughters. What can we learn from God’s means of communication in the Bible?
Obviously, God’s avenues of disclosure are vast and varied. It would be difficult to categorize all of them exhaustively. So, I have just been highlighting a few of the paradigms I’ve noticed through my study.
The first post explored how God spoke to Abraham and the patriarchs through the avenue of dreams (Read it here). The second considered the Lord’s use of imagery to awaken the imagination of Amos, Zechariah, and the prophets (Read it here). The third considered how physical touch disclosed divine purposes to Jeremiah, Daniel and others (Read it here).
I’ve found that the ear canal could provide sensory experiences that reveal the heart and mind of God. The Bible depicts the reality of perceiving God’s voice in a number of dynamic ways. Along with the analogies of harps (Is. 30:31-32; Rev. 14:2) and trumpets (Ex. 19:16,19; Heb. 12:19; Rev. 1:10; 4:1), the Lord’s voice is likened to the sound of loud thunder (Job 40:9; Ps. 29:3; 77:18; 104:7), and the voice of many waters (Ezek. 43:2; Rev. 1:15; 14:2; 19:6).
In a number of different passages, we uncover men and women encountering God’s voice as an auditory experience. Scripture reveals that the Lord communicated directly with Adam and Eve. They heard “the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8). Similar experiences occurred with Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3; 17:1-2), Israel (Gen. 28:13-15; 32:26-29), Moses (Ex. 3:4; 19:19), Elijah (1 Kings 19:9, 11-12) and a multitude of later prophets.
There is a natural tendency to focus on the actual voice of God, but there are also other auditory expressions in Scripture. For example, Moses encountered God’s voice in the midst of the thunder and lightening.
“So on the third day, in the morning, there was thunder and lightning, and a thick cloud on the mountain … Now Mount Sinai was completely covered in smoke because the Lord had descended upon it in fire, and the smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently … And the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up” (Ex. 19:16a, 18b, 20).
In a similar way, the people of Israel during the Exodus encountered the “voice” of the Lord through the “fire.”
“Has a people ever heard the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and lived? … On earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire” (Deut. 4:33:a, 36b).
Later King David was instructed to go into battle as soon as he heard “the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees” (1 Chron. 14:15).
In another, the armies of Aram were defeated as they turned away from the non-existent “sound of chariots, horses, even the sound of a large army” (2 Kings 7:6). Their ears caught a visceral sound that apparently didn’t exist in the natural.
More than mere poetry is being affirmed when the Psalmist states, “Deep calls to deep at the noise of Your waterfalls” (Ps. 42:7a).
When Ezekiel encountered God’s glory, it sounded “like the roar of rushing waters” (Ezek. 43:2). He later heard the clamor of an army coming together in the valley of dry bones (Ezek. 37:7). These sounds conveyed incredible things to the people of God.
As the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples encountered the Lord through a fierce, unexpected sound. Luke recounts that “Suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2). The prophetic encounter had an auditory dimension.
While being caught up in the Spirit, John the revelator affirmed, “I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet” (Rev. 1:10b). He went on to recount how he “heard a sound from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of a great thunder. I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps” (Rev. 14:2).
As you actively engage the Bible, you will discover God revealing His purposes through sound—not just His voice alone, but also through other sonic frequencies. It seems that God created the ear to be a compelling avenue of revelation.
Even today, the rich tapestry of sound can become an incredible catalyst for personal exploration. What do you hear right now? Many things transpire in the kingdom of God through His ongoing reverberation.
Are you truly open to all the unique ways that God awakens the imagination?
J.D. King is an author and director of the World Revival Network. King also co-pastors at World Revival Church.