Signs: 9 Insights About God Speaking Through the Environment

Have you ever heard God speak to you through your physical environment?
God's Sign Language

It may have been something ordinary—yet in that moment, you knew God was speaking to you.

What a day we live in! God is speaking to His people in many varied ways, as He has always done.

  • The Holy Spirit is pulling on our attention.

I pray this study from my online Prophetic School helps bring some clarity to you in this area.[1]

The Prophet and the Potter

One day, Jeremiah heard God say, “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.”
So, Jeremiah went to visit the potter and watched him working at the wheel.
As the potter worked with the clay, a pot began to take shape—but it became misshapen! So, the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.
“Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does? Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”
(See Jer 18:1-6)

God took Jeremiah to a potter’s studio, to speak to him. The clay in the potter’s hand was a living parable, used by the Lord to illustrate His prophetic word.

This snapshot from Jeremiah is one example of how the Holy Spirit can speak to us through both internal and external revelation.

  • “Revelation” simply means an insight given by the Holy Spirit—it is God speaking to you, revealing His mind, heart, and intent. [2]

9 Insights About God Speaking Through the Environment

1. God Leads Us Primarily Through Internal Revelation

Most of the time, when God speaks to us personally, we hear inwardly. It’s internal (inner) revelation.

  • It’s personal to us—not something that can be touched, seen or experienced physically
  • It’s God communicating with us, Spirit to spirit

We describe the voice of God as something we feel, perceive, see, or hear. This may be through a light or simple impression of the Holy Spirit, as He touches your heart or mind.

This is commonly how the gift of prophecy operates. The Holy Spirit reveals something to you, and you share that message with others.

It is also the usual way God speaks to us in our relationship with Him, alongside our study of the Bible. We grow in intimacy with God as we become familiar with hearing His voice this way. [3]

“Internal revelation” is able to be confirmed by others, but not necessarily experienced by others.

2. “External Revelation” is When God Speaks Through the Environment

External revelation is the Holy Spirit communicating a message from the Father in and through our physical environment.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • You notice a sign on the roadside—and in that moment, the words or a symbol leap out at you. The message is relevant. It is a “now” word and you know that God is speaking to you through it
  • Your attention is drawn to a person, who reminds you of someone you know. You wonder if the Holy Spirit is calling you to pray for the individual you are reminded of (this often happens to prophetic intercessors)

God can direct what is happening in the physical environment, to communicate a message to you.

Or, as He did with Jeremiah, the Holy Spirit may position you, to be at the right place, at the right time, to encounter Him.
When this happens, He is using your physical senses—for example, what you see and hearto speak with you.

And that’s when the Holy Spirit within you, alerts you to pay attention.

3. Internal and External Revelation Work Together

Notice, just as with Jeremiah’s example, there is an inter-relationship between the two ways God speaks.

  • You may see or experience something physically, while the Holy Spirit within you is confirming that it’s a message from God
  • You have an inner prompting, an internal yes or “aha” moment—that the Lord is speaking to you

The Apostle John talks of the anointing that you have abiding on the inside of you, that teaches you. It is the Holy Spirit confirming what is genuinely from God. (1 John 2:27)

4. The Bible Gives Examples of God Speaking Through the Environment

There are many examples in Scripture of God speaking or intervening, using physical objects, plants, creatures or signs in the environment.

• A donkey talks to Balaam (Num 22:28)
• Wise men follow a star to find Jesus the Messiah (Matt 2:2)
• Birds feed Elijah (1 Kings 17:4)
• God honors Gideon’s request for a physical sign, in the form of wet and dry fleece (Judges 6:36-40)
• The sun is reversed on the dial (Isaiah 38:8)
• The prophet Ezekiel constructs a diagram and model, as a physical sign of what God will do (Ezekiel 4/ 5).
• God uses a tree growing and withering to speak to Jonah. (Jonah 4:5-11)
• God directs a certain fish, at a certain time, to be caught by Peter—one that has a coin in its mouth (Matt 17:27)

So, while God mostly speaks to us inwardly, and through other people, sometimes He does choose to speak (or intervene) through our physical environment.

And sometimes, this is a prophetic message to us.

5. The Spiritual Realm Can Manifest in the Physical Environment

In the above examples, God was using “ordinary” objects and creatures to communicate with His people. But on other occasions in the Bible, God Himself, or an angel sent by Him, manifested physically to people.

In these cases, the spiritual realm manifested in the physical realm!

These two types of external revelation are seen together in what happened to Moses.

  • The shepherd was going about his ordinary everyday life, herding a flock, when he saw a burning bush
  • The bush was ordinary—but the fire within it was God’s manifest presence

6. External Revelation Can Happen in Our Everyday Life

Those of God’s people who are gifted in visions, pictures, and the seeing realm (often called “seers”) will be more alert to signs, symbols and things seen—God’s “sign language”.

But you don’t have to be a prophetic visionary to experience God speaking in the external environment! Some of the following examples of external revelation are not exclusive to seers:

  • Supernatural timing of events
  • Creatures or objects showing up at unexpected times and places
  • Remarkable coincidences
  • Numbers appearing repeatedly
  • Divine appointments

When God speaks through external revelation, it is not accidental, it is by design. It is God’s handiwork.

And yet, it can happen in our everyday life! He is teaching us to walk with Him in delight and wonder, as children with our Heavenly Father.

But that doesn’t mean we should accept anything—even if it is a significant sign—without weighing it up carefully.

7. Tips for Weighing Up External Revelation

“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thess 5:19-20, NKJV)

Not everything is a sign, and not every unusual coincidence is a message from God—although I believe the Holy Spirit is speaking to us, and the Kingdom is at work through the environment, far more than we realize!

Here are some suggested questions to ask, as we weigh up signs and external revelation:

1. Is this message from the Father? (John 5:19)
Does this sign (and the message we believe it represents) reflect the heart and mind of the Father as demonstrated through Jesus?

2. Is the sign and message consistent with the Bible? (Ps 119:89, 2 Tim 3:16)
The Bible is not only the main way we hear God speaking to us, it is also the standard by which we weigh up every prophetic insight we receive.

3. (For prophetic insights) Do I have a leader who can help me assess this? (1 Cor 14:29)
When we move beyond general encouragement, and into the realm of the prophetic—or believe God is giving us guidance for significant life decisions—this is especially important.

4. What is the fruit of this sign? (Gal 5:22-23)
What is happening as a result, and is it honoring God?

5. Where is the attention of people being drawn? (John 2:11)
A sign from God is a signpost that points to Jesus! So, a sign should not cause people to elevate someone or something else.
The purpose of signs from God is to attract us to Jesus, not to distract us from Him.

8. Share About Signs from God in a Natural Way

We all know of prophetic people who share every little sign or appearance of a number (for example).
It’s not remarkable—it’s their “thing”!

  • A true sign from God will often be confirmed by more than one incident and may be witnessed by more than one person
  • The timing will be extraordinary—it will be remarkable and will result in wonder

We can talk about what God is doing in everyday language—even when unusual things are happening to us and we are amazed.
When people say someone is “flaky”, what they really mean is, you can’t relate to that person. They are living in another world! But we are ordinary people that supernatural things happen to—not strange people, that weird things happen to.

If anyone can be described as being “out of this world”, it was Jesus! Yet we read that the common people heard him gladly (Mark 12:37b).
People loved to listen to Jesus speak, and crowds gathered around Him.

So, let’s stay practical and natural in our approach to sharing about signs and external revelation.

9. Be Wise About the Timing of Sharing with Others

Jesus’ focus was always on responding and doing what His Father showed Him to do. In the Gospels, Jesus didn’t go into detail about how the Father spoke to Him. And we can be the same.

Yet there are other times when God is using the environment to share a prophetic message that will encourage many!

So let’s use wisdom about when to share about external revelation, and when not to. There are times to hold back, and like Mary did, treasure the signs of what God is doing in our hearts (Luke 2:19).

Let’s make it our aim to be a people to whom God can entrust prophetic signs and wonders—such as the world has never seen—in our generation. For these small signs are just the beginning; the breath before the awakening.

[1] The source of this content is the Enliven Prophetic School

[2] “Revelation” comes from a Greek word that means “uncovering” or “disclosure”. See Strong’s G602, apokalypsis

[3] See How to Check Your Prophetic Insight is From God

Note that in this topic, I’m talking about personally received signs, i.e., God speaking to (or through) His people personally.
I’m not discussing “global” signs, major signs in the earth, or signs in the heavens. This broader topic is outside the scope of this discussion.

More on this topic:

Angels: 5 Powerful Reasons to Test Angelic Encounters

6 Questions to Ask About Supernatural Signs

Study Online: New Classes for Those Growing in Prophecy:

In my latest series on the Enliven Prophetic School, I have been sharing what I’ve learned through the recent encounters my husband Malcolm and I have had, in our prophetic journey with the Holy Spirit. The topic is “God’s Sign Language, Stories and the Prophetic Environment”. There is also a PDF with tips on how to interpret numbers and colors.

The best mentoring and teaching I can give you is now rolled into this one place, on the Enliven School of Prophecy and Discernment. You can view and sign up for my self-paced video lecture series in the Enliven Prophetic School here

© 2020 Helen Calder, Enliven Blog

Enliven Ministries: In the David McCracken Ministries family

34 thoughts on “Signs: 9 Insights About God Speaking Through the Environment”

  1. Dear Helen,

    Greetings! May the Spirit of God continues to abide and anoint your prophetic ministry school. It is wonderful to read your teaching it is very clear and concise. I prayed that one day God’s timing and grace I will be part of your student. But for now, I can’t afford and do both because I am still in my nursing studies.

    Thank you with all my heart for sending me always your Blog. God bless you more and you’re family.

    Kind Regards,


    1. Hi Noemi, it’s wonderful to hear from you.
      This is why I make so much of this teaching free to view here on Enliven Blog and also the YouTube channel. Because I know that many do not have the time or resources for the large courses.
      I pray for God’s anointing on your studies and your prophetic gift to continue to bring increase!

  2. Hello. Thank you for this post. I believe I am prophetic but didn’t have a great experience with signs recently. I had asked God a question, and felt I received a sign straight after. Problem is, things happened afterwards that seem contrary to the sign. Now I wonder if I was misinterpreting a meer coincidence, or seeing what I wanted to see.

  3. Hello Helen ,
    Thank you for opening my eyes to the external ways that God speaks to us through the environment, I was not really observant of that aspect. Thank you once again.

    Please, i need your help in prayers, for some time now, I have been seeing myself struggling to walk in my dreams, I feel heaviness and pain in my knees making it difficult to walk in my dreams. Please help me in prayers to overcome whatever that it is. Thank you. God bless you.

    1. Hi Dora, I’m praying for you right now!
      These beautiful verses from Isaiah 35 come to mind for you (and the whole chapter):

      The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them,
      And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
      It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
      Even with joy and singing.
      The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
      The excellence of Carmel and Sharon.
      They shall see the glory of the Lord,
      The excellency of our God.
      Strengthen the weak hands,
      And make firm the feeble knees.
      Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
      “Be strong, do not fear!

      1. I want to hear him speak to me more
        I want to be closer to him like before
        I have slipped away from him for the last couple of months , I even stopped praying also
        I want him to give me more direction and guidance in my current job…
        please pray for me so I can be in tuned with God again

        thank you

        1. I’m praying for you right now, Dianne. May you know that sweet intimacy again, and Father I also pray for the guidance and help Dianne needs with her work to be released, in Jesus’ Name

  4. Sheila M Herrera

    I love the teaching and lesson! The holyspirit is our teacher and helper that only the spirit will understand and not our flesh. I agree there is a time for everything and it’s done in spiritual order with the holyspirit. God has entrusted us with treasues of his words, pictures, and visions so let’s embrsce them until an appointed time!

  5. At the end of last fall to the beginning of winter, I‘ve noticed something different in a few plants. One had so much buds , the Lilly of the valley had so much pods, and they were opened. There was an abundance of seeds. One tree my husband replanted and died, the tree dried up. One day the Lord caused me to see life again from the dead tree, even plants in my house that dried up, new arrivals came out of the dried soil. As I saw this, God was showing me through this, that he was about to make changes to my life/situation. God is about to restore unto me the years lost. This was my experience that God spoke to me through the environment
    Thanks for letting God use you

    1. I love that Esther – and say amen to that!
      I have in my notes about one of my favorite verses

      ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’ (Isa 43:19a, NIV) The Hebrew word ‘springs up’ means sprout – breaking through into the visible realm, being able to perceive it

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