It seems like today the whole world is obsessed with one thing: communication. We now have Skype, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, YouTube, Blogger... and probably a hundred other means of communicating including cell phones and the Post Office. So why is it that with all that we still cannot answer the one question that bugs us the most:
How does God communicate with us?
So does he tap us on the shoulder and whisper in our ear? Write letters in the air? Strike us with proverbial revelation lightning? How?
Before we answer this question, we need a little bit of history. At the beginning of the Old Testament, Adam and Eve had direct, audible, one-on-one discussions with God. But after sin, that ended abruptly. Then people had only one way and one way only to hear from God- prophecy. Sure, they could pray to Him, but the only way He talked back was through the voice of another. Some of the most famous Super-Star prophets were probably Noah, Moses, Daniel, and Isaiah. There were also a few infamous ones like Balaam and Jonah, but God still used them to talk to His people.You see, the "Bible" as we know it today hadn't been written yet, and it certainly hadn't been distributed on a big scale. They had to have prophets.
Fast-forward some and you get the "500 Years of Silence"- no prophecy, no discussion. Nothing new from God. (However- the Torah and other Old Testament books were written down and were well-read in places like the Synagogues [kind of like churches].) By the time the New Testament rolls around, we have a new player on the scene- Jesus. He starts to teach us how to communicate with God again, but instead of focusing entirely on prophecy, he does something totally different- he tells us what God has to say by quoting Scripture.
"Ok, cool," you may say, "but what about other ways? And can we still hear God through prophecy?" And here I would like to just take a moment and glare at you because you have opened up a whole different can of worms right there. lol :D
But you're right- this is important stuff. How else do we hear from God? Well, just to reiterate, firstly, it's through Scripture:
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)Secondly, it's through the Holy Spirit:
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 14:26)
Did you notice something in these passages? It all still comes back to God's Word! You see, hearing from the Spirit isn't autonomous from the Word, it coincides with it. The Holy Spirit reminds us of what we already have learned from reading Scripture. Sometimes he brings to mind specific verses for our situation, but other times he just shows us what we already know of God's character through having read His letter to us. (And personally, I would even argue that the current form of prophecy is just someone's special, Spirit-given gift of enlightening others through the Bible. Feel free to differ with me on that, if you want, but I think this passage supports it:"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you." (John 16:13-14)
"And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." [2 Peter 1:19-21])Anyway, back to the question of how God communicates. You know how people are always saying, "Get into God's Word!" and seem to be pushing us to read, read, read.... There's a reason for that. If we don't, then we aren't hearing from God. We can't. We wouldn't know what he sounded like even if He did strike us with that revelation lightning.
So, in conclusion: Open your ears. Get into the Scriptures. Listen to those sermons and that Biblically correct music. Re-open those communication lines! Let God's words shine in!
And who knows- maybe you'll hear something you desperately need right now. The Holy Spirit's cool like that.
So now that you know how God communicates with you, how are you doing right now in the listening department? Heard anything "new" from God lately?
Share with me.