Although I’d “prayed the prayer,” been baptized, and joined a church in my early teens, it wasn’t until I was almost 30 that I discovered that God speaks to us!
I’d read my Bible from cover to cover several times, heard countless sermons, gone to Bible studies, and served in my church…
…but had no idea that God had anything to say to me personally.
…or that I would know His voice when I heard it!
The first time He spoke to me (that I was aware of), there was no doubt that it was God…and that He wanted me to listen.
(You can read about it in Fearful Flight.)
Today we’re going to discuss hearing – and recognizing – God’s voice. After all, as His sheep, we hear His voice (John 10:27). If we don’t hear Him, that could be a problem. 🙂
What language does God speak? In other words, how does He communicate with us?
There are, in fact, several ways. It is the rare instance when anyone hears Him speak audibly, so we need to know what to expect instead. Here are a few ways:
1. Through Scripture – both the “Logos” Word of God, and the “Rhema” Word of God.
2. All the elements of creation
3. All the details of human experience
4. Through other people – believers and unbelievers
This list certainly is not all-inclusive…but it will get you started.
Let’s begin with hearing from God through Scripture. We’re going to start with this one because it is the bedrock of all communication from God – and is the standard by which we consider a “word” from God through any other source.
If we don’t understand the importance of knowing the Word of God, we can fall prey to any “spiritual” person and could be led wherever the winds of false doctrine blow. That never goes well.
By knowing the Word, I’m not talking about having all the stories down, knowing chapter and verse, or anything of that nature. We do, however, need to read through this Book with an eye to God’s nature and His character. If He says, “Don’t,” it’s because He doesn’t, not because He wants to wreck our “fun.” If He says, “Do this,” it’s because it’s in His nature to do the same thing.
The purpose of reading the Bible is to learn about God. We are called to be ambassadors for Christ. We can’t be an accurate representative of someone we know little or nothing about.
Do we grasp the importance, the weight, of this assignment?
For us, people of the New Testament, the Person to study is Jesus Christ Himself. He said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” In other words, “Watch Me. See how I handle things – how I treat people…then do likewise.”
There are many evils committed these days in the name of Jesus that are blatantly contrary to His nature and the way He acted while on earth in human form.
We are, after all, HIS body
He was the prototype
The first “model” of what a Spirit-filled person should look like!
The Bible clearly teaches that deception and false teachers are here. If we do not know what Scripture has to say, we can easily believe something to be true because it “sounds right to me.”
We must know Biblical principles if we’re going to remain firm in our faith and lead others to the One who is Truth.
Acts 17:11 calls the Bereans “more noble.” They eagerly heard the Word…but then went home and searched the Scriptures to see if what they’d been taught was true. Oh, that we would understand the importance of doing this.
That’s the “Logos” of God…His written Word in black and white.
Sometimes, though, His Word will jump off the page at us. It resonates with our Spirit (as in the post I mentioned earlier). Our circumstances may parallel one area or other of the Bible – and what God did then (because He does not change), He is going to do again. I needed Him to go before me and come behind as my rear guard, for I was in danger.
Much of my life during that season resembled what happened to Israel as they were being led out of captivity. Consequently, many of those passages were relevant to my situation. God used His Word to lead me day by day. He is the same God today as He was then.
This will happen during the normal course of our day, especially if we’re in the Word on a regular basis. Sometimes it will be through a verse heard on the radio, during a sermon, or from someone we talk with. If we’re hearing the same Word from different sources (in a way that’s consistent with Biblical principles), that’s God.
For instance, one Scripture that I heard from all the above sources – and during the course of my regular reading comes from Isaiah 43:19. It reads:
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
I began to hear this Scripture repeated over and over for about a month. After the third time, I started to pay attention. Sure enough, this is a brand new season for me…like nothing I’ve been through thus far (in a good way). I haven’t yet discovered all He has in mind, but the way is beginning to open.
This is the “Rhema” Word of God…A specific application of His Word to our lives. The beauty of this is that although the Bible was written long ago, life circumstances don’t change…and it’s a record of people’s lives and their interaction with God.
Solomon said in Ecclesiastes that there is “nothing new under the sun.” The equipment may change (i.e. communication technology), but generation after generation goes through all the same relationship issues: sin, death, divorce, oppression, addiction, dysfunction, etc. That is how the Bible can continue to speak specifically to our lives today.
KNOW THE WORD…
KNOW THE GOD OF THE WORD!
Then if someone tells us, “It says ______ in the Bible,” we will know if it really is!
This series on Intimacy with God begins with C’mon In.