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Discerning The Voice Of God

This phenomenon has been going on for millenniums. This phenomenon is what the false teachers and Gnostics used to disrupt and divide the flock in Paul's day. It is the method used that's created entire religions that began with people "hearing" from God or an angel that ran contrary to revealed Scripture and has led billions astray (Galatians 1:8) such as Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Islam, so on and so forth. Still, Christians are looking and hoping for a voice from God for guidance, for an experience that would bring them closer to the Creator or as a means to puff themselves up over other Christians. Whatever the case may be, there is no method or strategy to hearing directly or discerning the voice of God apart from Scripture. That's certainly not the popular idea, especially these days.

Have you ever heard someone say "God told me..."? It's used in many revelatory ways such as dreams and visions, promptings, voices, visitations, etc. They often have an entire mystical experience to go with it. Most popular teachers use this method to gather for themselves flocks of followers. They portray themselves as being so spiritual, so special, so mighty for God and so learned that God speaks directly to them. And you must listen because if He's not speaking to you in the same way then you're weak, wandering aimlessly and need that teacher's guidance to get on the path they're on. First you must buy their material and send them love gifts. Hey! The path isn't free you know!

There are examples in Scripture where God did speak directly to his people to give His will in a matter or offer divine guidance. Before we can point at those and say "See, He does speak!" We also have to consider the context in which He chose to speak. God parted the Red Sea and made a donkey speak as well. Does that mean He'll part the Detroit River for me to get to Canada? Does that mean He may speak to me through my cat? One of the main factors in the methods God used in special circumstances was the cannon of Scripture hadn't been completed yet. It was still in the process of being completed and those experiences were added in Scripture for us to learn from. God speaking audibly to Elijah is not what God wants us to focus on, but rather what He was teaching Elijah and the circumstances surrounding it.

"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." Romans 15:4

Today we have the complete Word of God. There are a myriad of reasons Christians don't study Scripture. They'd rather rely on a "moving" from God or a direct "word" or "revelation". There's several problems with this....

1. As fallen creatures we're incapable of discerning God's pure and lofty thoughts.

2. As fallen creatures our experiences aren't reliable as they are tainted by the sin nature and subjective.

3. Scripture warns against adding to the revelations in the Bible (Revelation 22:18)

4. It's putting an awful lot of trust and confidence in our flesh when Scripture distinctly warns that the heart of man is deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and anyone who trusts in his own heart is a fool (Proverbs 28:26). Trusting in a feeling or voice is absolutely foolish and just asking for disaster.

5. There's absolutely no way to test what we've heard. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

6. Christ is the Word of God made flesh. (John 1:1) Want to know Christ, God's will and direction? Study the Word. It's from this feeding on Scripture does the Holy Spirit lead us, teach us and make Scripture applicable to our lives (John 14:26)

7. More often than not we have no idea what God's doing in our lives or around us until after He's already done it. Even then we don't grasp the magnitude in which He's worked or moved in our behalf.

8. To hear voices and assume it's God is dangerous especially when we have a powerful enemy who is just looking for a foothold to attack and devour. (1 Peter 5:8) How can we know we're hearing the voice of God and not a demon or Satan himself? I heard a girl say she knew God was speaking to her because He used Scripture. Yet, what she claimed God was telling her ran completely contrary to Scripture. Satan distorted and twisted Scripture to the Word of God Himself (Matthew 4:6). How are we safe from him? if we don't know Scripture how can we know Satan's not doing the same to us?

There is feeling, no mystical experience, no voice, no revelation, dream or vision that can hold more weight than Scripture itself. It is the divine authority and complete revelation from God. All other promptings or voices is like equating a Ferrari to a huffy...straw to grain...

"'Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has My Word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?' declares the LORD. 'Is not My word like fire,' declares the LORD, 'and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?'"

God speaks loud and clear through 66 books. If that's not enough for us then we have far bigger and perilous problems than trying to figure out if God is speaking to or prompting us. He's already said everything He's needed to say. We just need to listen by knowing the method He chose to speak to man...the Bible. We don't get to choose how we have a relationship with God or how we communicate with Him. He chose and we must follow. It's on His terms not ours.

"And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." 2 Peter 1:19

Peter heard God's voice several times and witnessed countless miracles, some even he performed, walked with Christ Himself, was on the mount of transfiguration and saw God move powerfully, but even he knew and understood Scripture trumped all these experiences.

Scripture is sufficient. Scripture is the revelation of Christ to mankind. Christ is Scripture. If Scripture is not sufficient for us or we're looking to add to our walk by other methods and means then we're setting ourselves us for disaster and we've rejected truth, Christ and the only means we have to divine truth...the Bible.


Anonymous said...

This is a very good article. In fact I've been looking for one like this for ages. I have made a copy of this and put it in my book of special articles I keep. This really helped me. I'm so tired of hearing people having all these Devine Revelations and it leaves me to think maybe there is something wrong with me. Many thanks again for such a good article in such troubling time.

Ariel said...

You hit the nail on the head about revelations leaving you feeling like there's something wrong with you. I truly believe some people are well meaning. They have a lot of zeal but no knowledge and that's their own fault. Then there are those who lead astray for purposes of gain. In either case it's dangerous. I believe God does give revelations daily for our edification through the Bible. That's the teaching of the Holy Spirit. I believe God can and does speak to us through dreams, visions, etc for purposes only known to Him. He's God. He can do anything He wants. Many believers in closed countries in the Mid East and Africa are converted from Islam based on dreams of Jesus, but none of these takes precedence over Scripture and shouldn't be chased after, looked for, prayed for, or base entire ministries and our lives on them as so many do. Our foundation is Scripture, but I don't think I need to tell you that :) God bless and so glad God used this to help you. Keep on the narrow path God has you and have a blessed New Year!

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Disclaimer: I do not condone the teaching of men by women nor am I trying to exercise authority over men by using this blog as a method of teaching men. All posts are for the edification of women. For more on what I believe concerning this issue please see: Women - No Dominion Over Men
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