God Speaks

Do you think you would pay more attention if God spoke to you from heaven or through the voice of a living prophet than if he spoke to you from the written words of Scripture?  Would you believe or obey such words more readily than you do Scripture?  I did a study on this about 13 years ago with a group of young women.  We all had a hunger to learn more about God.  Coming from several different denominations, we really needed to start with what we believed about the authority of Scripture.  I was a budding housewife theologian at the time, attending a Baptist church.  Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology was a beginning guide to help me both learn and teach about the doctrine of the Word of God. (As a disclaimer, I will say that although I was blessed by the teachings and easy format of Grudem’s work, I do not endorse all of the theology in it.)  Aren’t these good questions?  They were taken from Grudem’s Questions for Personal Application (p.51).  Before I get all into the theological “shoulds,” I want to address the personal aspects.  Many times I hear, or even say to myself in the midst of a major decision, “I wish God would just TELL me what to do…I want to do His will, I just don’t know what it is.”  Interestingly, God has revealed his declarative will to us in Scripture.  Much to our shock, he calls us to wisdom.  As we learn his precepts in Scripture, we gain knowledge about the character of God.  I didn’t hear from God, “Thou shalt start a blog and thou shalt call it Housewife Theologian.”  But, just like a child who knows their parent’s character from their upbringing, I am able to make decisions in my life with liberty and confidence.  I struggled with the question of whether I should try to write a book, or start this blog.  While I do not know if God intends to bless my efforts with publication or high readership, I do know that I am not acting against his revealed will.  And I believe that the sign of wisdom in decision making lies in our own perception of how we are serving God in our choices and actions.  This could be related to choosing whom you will marry, whether or not to take a certain job, which house you are going to buy or rent, or if you should go back to school.  If we are within the bounds of obeying God’s precepts in his revealed Word (for example, he doesn’t tell us exactly who to marry, but he does tell us what kind of person to marry), we need to ask ourselves if the opportunities we are pursuing are for his glory or our own. There may be nothing wrong with buying the house of your dreams.  But, are you planning on using it as a personal haven to escape from world, or would you be happy to share it in service and hospitality?  Even so, if circumstances changed, would you be willing to relinquish this blessing?  God in his glorious providence may take us through many circumstances in our lifetime.  If we sink our claws too deeply into even the good things in our life, they may become idols that we worship over our Creator, Lord, and Savior. I’m always skeptical when people claim they heard a special message from God.  They might feel strongly led by the Spirit, but that is not the same as actual, authoritative words from God.  I am eager to discuss this more in my next article, but for now, I will share some verses on how God does speak to us authoritatively: through his revealed word in Scripture.  In Hebrews 1:1-2  we read, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom he also created the world.”  Here we learn that the many ways that God spoke long ago (dreams, visions, etc.) through the prophets were inferior to his final revelation through his Son.  Where do we learn about this revelation through Christ? We have Jesus recorded in the gospel of John saying, “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.  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” (14:25-26).  Christ’s words will not pass away (Matt.24:35), and he ensured through his Spirit that his disciples would be able to remember his words and teachings to equip the church with the completed New Testament Scriptures.  So, before we go looking for some new revelation from God, maybe we should ask ourselves what our disposition is toward the authoritative, revealed words he so lovingly provided for us in Scripture.