I've been doing a group Bible study on prayer lately and one of the studies makes the point that prayer is talking to God, not listening to Him. God doesn't speak to us in prayer. We speak to Him. I was talking to my husband about this, who cleverly observed that it can be quite easy to get the wrong impression about God speaking to us, personally and audibly, from the pages of the Old Testament.
You see, God spoke to Adam and Eve and Cain.
He spoke to Noah.
And Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
He spoke to Moses.
God spoke to Gideon.
He spoke to Samuel and Nathan.
And to Elijah and Elisha.
And God spoke to all those prophets who have books of the Old Testament named after them.
There may be others. These are the ones I can recall off the top of my head.
And when you put all the things He said to that collection of people together, it accounts for a good part of the Old Testament. Pages and pages and pages of God speaking personally and audibly. That's a lot of God speaking. But He only spoke to a small selection of people. Count them up. There aren't that many of them, for all the words of God recorded in the Bible.
It was the responsibility of this small group to pass on the message of His words to the multitudes. God didn't speak to each and every Israelite camped out at Mt Sinai or to the wayward kings and commoners of Judah, Israel, Egypt or even Ninevah. Just to a handful of people whose role it was to pass on the message.
And then in the New Testament He spoke through one man. Jesus.
This is not to say that God couldn't speak personally and audibly to someone if He chose to. He is the Creator and sustainer of the universe. But given the pattern set in the Bible, it seems fairly likely that He speaks to people now far less often than many might otherwise suggest.
I've never done the maths before (of how many God actually spoke to in the Bible) but it's pretty interesting - a small but important point to note.
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 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.