Wednesday, November 3, 2010

God Speaks To Me

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son..." (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Before you write me off as a spiritual mystic, let me quickly add, God speaks to you too. The difference may come in how we look for Him to speak.

I'm thinking now of the young preacher who was confronted by an old saint in the church, after he preached a fiery, but powerless, sermon. The kindly old lady asked him, "Son, how were you called to preach?" to which the young man replied, "I saw a sign in heaven—two letters: GP. I knew it was God saying to me, "Go preach!" It was then that the dear soul laid her hand gently on the boy's arm and asked, "Did you ever think He might have meant, "Go plow?"

You and I may not have succumbed to the temptation to look for signs in the heavens, but I'll readily admit to having opened the Bible, closed my eyes, and pointed to a Scripture, in my younger days, to see if I could get "a word from the Lord." And some of us have gone the "Gideon" route, as well, putting out the (in our case) symbolic "fleece" to elicit a "yea" or "nay" from God, which could be argued is a lot like resorting to a Ouija board. We may cite Gideon's tactic as preferred procedure, but I was reminded by Kevin DeYoung that Judges is probably not the best book of the Bible on which to base our walk of faith, since it was a time when there was precious little word from the Lord, and "everyone did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25).

But perhaps the most common motivator to action in the family of God is the "impression," not to be confused with dreams or visions. "I felt impressed to do such-and-such." As a matter of fact, you will find all three of these utilized in the Bible; therefore, I refuse to mark them off as leftovers from another "dispensation." But neither am I prepared to elevate them to a place of normalcy in the everyday experience in the Christian life. These phenomena found in the Old Testament through the book of Acts are strangely sparse in the church Epistles. Here we seem to find another principle in play; and it is unequivocally laid down in our text: "God...hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son."

All we can and need to know about God, redemption, and sanctification have come from the words of His Son, Jesus Christ, the pre-existent, incarnate, and inspired Word of God (John 1). How this is translated into our every day decisions will be the subject of my final thoughts on the Will of God, next time.

In the meantime, I want to share something DeYoung said, which I believe to be true. It puts exceptions and out of the ordinary means in perspective, at least for me: "Apart from the Spirit working through the Scripture, God does not promise to use any other means to guide us, nor should we expect Him to." [i]

The operative word here is "expect." God may indeed give us a vision, dream, or strong impression to do, or not to do, something; but to wait for and expect Him to do it is neither Biblical nor practical.

There is a better way.

[i] DeYoung, Kevin. Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will. Ch. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009. p. 68

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