What is “the voice of God?” How does God reveal Himself to us?
I think the answers to those questions depend on when you live. God is a historical God. His will, plan for humanity, is revealed over time. At the begining of time man was in direct communion with God. All man had to do to understand God was to ask. With the Fall, man was no longer able to do this and God set in motion revealing His will through history.
There are previous instances before Abram where God spoke to man, but lets begin with Abram because I believe that is where His covenant really begins. In Genesis 11 God “says” to Abram. It is a word used throughout the bible, but I think its meaning is modified by the time in which it is used. I think God really had to say it to Abram. “Hey Abram, get all your stuff and lets GO!” Abram had no tradition of anything on which to base this. I think God had to be very literal with him.
Through Abraham, then on through his decendants we continue to see a revealing of the will and character of God. Each one building on the last. By the time Jesus came on the scene they had volumes of Scripture to base their determinations about the nature and will of God. Then with Jesus, we have the completion of the plan of restoring communion with God. However, the plan is revealed, but it needs to be worked out in us (i.e. we have not attained it all yet). This “working out” started with the epistles and the Revelation, which ended scripture, but has not finished.
What is the point of all this? God still speaks today, but He uses the tools He needs at the time He desires. Do angels appear to men today? Probably, however, there is not the same need to have angels running around with messages as there was 4000 years ago.
It also tells us that God works through history. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Yet He is revealed more and more throughout history. Now that we have the complete “word of God,” we no longer require the audible words of God.
This may sound like a cop out. One might argue, “Its all made up, if God used to speak to people so obviously why does He not do this now?” However, I do not think that it is that hard to understand that there is much more to be learned from figuring things out yourself. Just take a way at how education works. You learn the basics, then you learn to build with the basics. The older you get, the less the teachers tell you, and the more they show you.