Do you believe that God still speaks today to those who are listening? I believe that His Spirit is still active and engaged in our lives, and that we can quiet our hearts and minds and hear God’s still small guidance within our own mind. But, with such a bold idea and vision for hearing the voice of God, how is a believer to embrace listening and avoid hearing their own desires or the desires of the world around or spiritual forces of darkness?
This question is so overwhelming that many teachers and preachers tell people that God does not speak on an individual level any more, only through the scriptures. I disagree with this; why believe in an Immanuel (God with us) who only came 2000 years ago and is not active in our lives today? However, there is a major problem with people walking around thinking that they can hear God’s voice: Charles Willis Manson, Jihad, Crusade, Heaven’s Gate, are some of the more problematic issues with people receiving special revelation.
How do I reconcile my trust that God still speaks with the fact that people have done and will do horrific things in the name of a god they hear? We have to understand that there is an order to the universe and that personal interactions with the divine will not abrogate that nature.
Test the Voice of God with Scripture
This is a key thing for anyone, of any religion who is listening to see if God is speaking. If you believe in a divine being who speaks, it makes sense to test and see whether you think you are hearing agrees with what you believe God has said in the past. As a Christian, I remember hearing a pastor tell a parishioner that they were to leave their husband because God was telling the pastor so.
Anyone who reads should be able to see right through this blatant disregard for Christian revelation. If you are listening to the still small voice in your spirit, it helps to trust that God will act in accordance with previous action and promises, otherwise how can you trust anything?
For another example, I would look at the story of Jephthah in Judges 11. This chief warrior of Israel made a vow to offer up whatever greeted him on arriving at home to the Lord, and his only daughter came and gave him a crushing hug and he was heartbroken (his only child, who else would run greeting him?) His oath was stupid, and his method of following through with it ignored the history and law of his nation as written in the Torah.
In Leviticus 27, we read “The Lord said to Moses, ‘“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate a person to the Lord by giving the equivalent value, set the value…’ ” There was already a scripture to handling redemption of a special vow dedicating a person to the Lord. Although the same chapter says that a person devoted to destruction cannot be redeemed, Abraham’s sacrificial offering of Isaac and God’s redemption shows that there is no human sacrifice required in the Torah, and anyone familiar with the whole of scripture would have redeemed the rash oath (there are provisions for that, too), and not sacrificed their daughter.
If you want to hear the voice of God, then you need to understand God as revealed in scriptures.
Test The Voice of God with Trust
If you think you are hearing God speak, understand that He must be faithful to complete the work He began. For example, I
For example, I love games: PC, X Box, Board Games, etc. I love them, but they are definite distractions when I need to be focusing on work and on building a business that pays the bills and supports more than just myself and my family. As I was praying the last weeks about our finances, I felt what I thought was God saying that I could not be successful and play games for some period of time.
Now, a more immature me would then have deleted all the games from my computer, blocked online GO from my phone, destroyed any CD’s I had, and even stopped using my computer for a period of time. All in an attempt to follow through on what I thought God said. But, I have learned that God takes joy in making our weaknesses strengths. If I am going to get work done and the only way to do it is to stop playing games, then He will help me stop playing games, without deleting them (because honestly, I could then just spend all my time reading political debates on FB, or spend all my time watching TV. What I need is emotional and relational strength to focus, not a list of don’ts.)
After last week, in a spirit of prayer and waiting on God to give me the strength to act, I have grown board of the games I was playing, and built a trust and focus on connecting with my family, my customers, and God more. He called me. He empowered me to follow through with his call to end procrastination.
While there are other things that I include in listening and understanding God’s guidance, these two are the most important: does it match scriptures and does God follow through?