On Monday we saw ways that God does not communicate with His people. Today we’ll look at ways He uses to talk with us.
Direct Revelation – an audible voice or very strong, specific impression. We see many examples of direct revelation in God’s Word.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Gen 12:1-3 (ESV)
Abram heard directly from the Lord. Moses also heard from the Lord, but first God needed to get his attention (remember that God doesn’t speak directly through natural phenomena but He does use the phenomena to get our attention).
…the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Ex 3:2-6 (ESV)
Once God had Moses’ attention He used the natural phenomenon of the burning bush to speak directly to Moses. This conversation gave Moses the specific directions needed to bring the children of Israel out of slavery.
Samuel was called directly from God as well. Read 1 Samuel 3 to see how God called the young boy who was under Eli’s care. How did God choose to get Samuel’s attention? What was Samuel’s response? What did this encounter do for Samuel? How did the people respond?
God also reveals Himself through dreams and visions. Joseph had two prophetic dreams. Daniel was shown the destiny of the world through dreams. Joseph, Mary’s husband, learned of Mary’s pregnancy through a dream – and received another dream telling him to go to Egypt with Mary and Jesus. Peter’s dream led to the sharing of the gospel with Cornelius’ home, and Paul’s vision of the end times is the climactic end of the Bible. Dreams and visions are rare!
Take a few minutes to read about Peter’s dream in Acts 10:9-34. How did Peter know the dream was from God? How was the dream confirmed? Did Peter want to see a vision – was he looking for a special revelation, or did God choose that moment to speak? Do you think we should seek dreams and visions?
God’s written Word. When we receive a written document, we have clear understanding of the intent of the writer. God’s written Word gives us that understanding. The gospels are written accounts of Jesus life and teachings. The New Testament is filled with letters from the apostles putting God’s desires in writing. God has given us the written word since Moses’ time.
And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God. Ex 31:18 (ESV)
A written word, especially one purporting to be from God, is totally useless if we can’t figure out whether it’s true or not. God has provided that proof inside His word.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16-17 (ESV)
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Heb 4:12 (ESV)
Today, many people will say that the Bible contains God’s word. That sounds good, but what they really mean is that it’s not necessarily all from God (and of course, the part that’s supposedly not from God is the part they disagree with. Lol). Make sure that your church believes that the Bible IS the inspired Word of God.
People have often asked me how I can believe that a loving God ______________ and that therefore maybe the Bible has some errors since it’s been written by man. It seems like an unwinnable argument. I usually say something like, “Do you believe that God is Who He says He is, creator of the universe and so forth?” When I receive an affirmative response, I follow with, “If He’s smart enough to do all that, isn’t He smart enough to keep error out of His Word?” I know it’s an inelegant argument, but it makes people think!
Have you ever found the Bible to be a sharp, two-edged sword? Have you ever had to decide whether you’d follow the Bible – or your “own convictions”? How did not following the Bible change your life? Did you finally come around and agree with God, or are there areas you still struggle with? There are some things in the Bible that I’d like to erase. I went against one particular thing for years and lived in unrepentant sin. My loving God, through His Holy Spirit, worked slowly on my heart until I understood that there were no loopholes. It wasn’t a cultural command. It wasn’t for one race, or gender, or century, or continent. It took Him years, but He finally got through my thick brain, and thanks to His Holy Spirit, I was convicted and completely turned from that sin. He’s working on others, too. Why do I bother to fight? I know He’s right! I just don’t want to turn.
Do you have similar experiences? If you’re comfortable, share a way that God’s word has acted as a two-edged sword. Use as much or as little detail as you’d like (no names please). We can all learn from one another’s experiences.
We’ll look at some of the other ways God has spoken to His people on Friday. As we look at the ways God speaks to us, we will learn more about discerning His Word and His will. See you then.