Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How does God speak to us?

      Is it really possible to talk or communicate with God?  As we all know, there are plenty of people around who claim that God talks to them.  A couple of years ago I read about a man that was personally taken on a “tour” of Heaven and then sent back down to earth to share what it was like.  That brings up a good question, though, does God talk directly only to a select group?  Does He speak audibly to anyone today?  Has He ever?  Does He listen?  Let’s dive in and find the answers in Scripture!

God Speaks Through What He Has Made
     Growing up in California has its advantages.  Seeing the great Sequoia trees in the mountains of Fresno or taking in the awesome beauty of the waterfalls of Yosemite National Park gives just a small glimpse of the greatness of our God!  Psalm 19:1-4 says,
1The heavens declare the glory of God;
     And the firmament shows His handiwork.
2    Day unto day utters speech,
     And night unto night reveals knowledge.
3    There is no speech nor language
     Where their voice is not heard.
4    Their line has gone out through all the earth,
     And their words to the end of the world.”

According to this Bible passage, God is constantly talking to us through His material universe—in a universal language! We would do well to stop and smell the roses more often!

God Speaks Through Supernatural Acts

True, creation tells of God’s glory and ways but He has also spoken through some unusual acts of intervention in the course of history and time.  In the Bible (Exodus 5-12) we have the story of the children of Israel in bondage to Egypt.  Moses was the one chosen by God to go to Pharaoh and demand that he release the children of Israel from captivity.  As Pharaoh refused to believe in the God of Moses, he hardened his heart against the Lord.  Then God said to Moses,

5And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”  Exodus 7:5
It was part of God’s strategy to display His glory in bringing His children out of bondage.  It also taught Israel a lesson to be careful to believe in the Lord as Moses declared to Israel,
       35To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him.” Deuteronomy 4:35

The miracles of Jesus Himself were intended by God to speak to us:

30And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”  John 20:30-31

Miracles are real.  They have happened before and still happen today.  God is speaking through them to remind us of His power and greatness.

God Speaks to Us Today Through the Bible

As one writer puts it, “God in Christ came to us wrapped in swaddling clothes, so the word of God comes to us wrapped in the words of these men—in this human form.”   The Bible gives us a sharp resolution of who God is and what He wants from us.  But the question arises, ‘Can God reveal something “outside” of what the Bible says?’  Here are a couple of guidelines to help us stay ON COURSE with the truth of God:

If the Gospel that is Preached is NOT the Gospel of Jesus Christ,  Then God did not speak to them!
6I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”  Galatians 1:6-9
If What They Say Does NOT Agree with the Bible, then God Did Not Speak to Them!
19And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”  Isaiah 8:19