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03 September 2012

Listening to God - 03 September

When God created man, He spoke with him face-to-face.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”  Gen 3:8-13 (ESV)

When Adam and Eve chose the serpent’s way over God’s way, God changed the way He communicated. In Biblical times, God spoke to His people through direct revelation, dreams, writing, prophets, immediate circumstances, and angels. When Jesus lived, He added communication with Jesus, and after Jesus ascended, the Holy Spirit was added.

There are two ways God does not speak to us: through an act of nature (like seeing a volcano erupt and indicating that God is speaking) and through occult practices.

God has used natural phenomena to get our attention, but the act itself is not God’s speaking. Looking at nature and determining that God has a message for us is divination, which is an abomination. Obviously, God has a sense of timing and a rhythm in nature, and when we enjoy what He’s provided, it’s not the same as divination.

It’s a really close point. Jesus Himself told us to watch for the times and seasons that will lead to the end of the age. Elijah, who was a prophet, received a message from God that the drought was ending. But it wasn’t the drought that proved God faithful. It was God’s speaking through the prophet that proved He was fulfilling His word. (1 Kings 18). Elijah already had God’s word and was looking for nature to fulfill that word. If you think nature is God’s way of telling you something, make sure that you’re seeing a fulfillment of His word.  A storm, an earthquake, a volcano may be a way for God to get your attention so you can hear what He has to say.

God clearly and strongly tells us to avoid soothsayers and seers.

There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12  for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. Deut 18:10-12 (ESV)

Do you look at the horoscope (even “for fun”)? If you do, you’re doing an abomination. Do you see psychics? Again, it’s an abomination. Seances? Ouija boards? Tarot cards? Abominations. Satan will use these to deceive you into doing or believing something that is very very wrong.

How do you feel about Halloween ? Do you dress up? Give out candy to trick or treaters? Go to a “harvest festival” held at a church where people dress up? How does that square with God’s Word?  Can you ride the Haunted Mansion attraction in Orlando? Participate in Horror Nights? What about Harry Potter? Twilight? Can you, as a Christian, participate in these things and still be in God’s will? I am very curious to hear what you have to say about this issue.

What does that last paragraph possibly have to do with hearing God? Isn’t all that something that He will never use to communicate with us? If we choose to participate in those activities, are we putting up communication barriers?

We’ll discuss some of the ways that God does choose to communicate on Wednesday. In the meantime, I really want to hear what you have to say about some of the issues I’ve brought up. We can all learn through discussion – let’s discuss some of these more controversial issues!

See you Wednesday!

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