There is a big difference between “hearing voices” and having God speak. People can hear any old kind of crazy voice in their heads. But when God speaks, it is an inner voice within the human spirit, not the head. It is steady, calm and with authority. God’s voice doesn’t plead, or beg, or whine or condemn. God simply speaks. His voice is self-authenticating and carries with it the inclination to obey. The “content” of God’s voice is always consistent with Scripture.
From the beginning of the Bible to the end, we see a picture of a God who speaks — preeminently through Jesus Christ. This is one reason why in the Gospel of John, Jesus is called the “Word of God.” For centuries, the great saints of the Church have also claimed to have interacted with the voice of God.
Granted, there have been and are disturbed people who obey the “voices” in the head, sometimes claiming it was God or the Devil or whoever. But the counterfeit does not nullify the genuine!
The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”