On numerous occasions I’ve had men approach me and say, “I have a word from the Lord for you.” They would then speak the “word” which was actually many words, not just one. Without exception their “word” included something about my ministry and finances growing at a breath-taking pace. While I appreciated their encouragement, I’ve since wondered why their divine predictions haven’t happened.
Of course, since I’m still alive, I suppose they still could. But in one case a specific timeline was included and that timeline has just about expired.
I’ve had many people tell me God told them to do something which later turned out to be a bad decision. Several years ago a friend told me God had commanded him to move across the United States. And so he shut down his business, packed his belongings, and moved to Dallas. A few years later his finances were in shambles and he and his wife were divorcing. Did God send him to Dallas for that?
Such experiences confirmed my belief that God no longer speaks to people—except through the pages of the Bible.
That well thought out and often defended position cracked when God actually spoke to me. In that moment I knew I was either receiving a message from God or losing my mind. After acting on what I heard I saw a woman physically healed of a long-term and painful condition. God has spoken to me.
That experience, and additional ones, prompted me to begin an exhaustive study of the subject—reading a stack of books and talking with knowledgeable people. I also gave the Bible a more thorough look.
Previously, I had been taught that such communications were uncommon in the Bible and had died out by the end of the book of Acts. After all, with the Bible in hand, why do we need God to speak to us in any other way? Such arguments seemed strong until I actually began in Genesis and walked my way through the Bible noting how often God spoke to people with words, visions, dreams, impressions or angelic visitations.
In the Old Testament there was Adam, Eve, Cain, Noah, Noah and his sons, Job and his friends, Abraham, Joseph, Jacob, Abimelech, Isaac, Joshua, Samuel, David, Nathan, Solomon, Jehu, Elijah, Isaiah, Ahaz, Manasseh and his people, Johan, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Haggai, Zechariah. You’ll certainly agree that’s a lot of people and there were others in the Old Testament.
In the Gospels an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist and Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Lord communicated with Joseph in dreams while an old man, Simeon, was told he wouldn’t die before seeing the Messiah. It’s apparent that God told the wise men about the star they followed to Bethlehem. And three times God spoke to Jesus in the hearing of other people. Later, the resurrected Jesus spoke to Paul.
Even a cursory study of the Bible reveals that it was common in biblical times for God to communicate with people. Jesus himself told his disciples the Holy Spirit would “teach you all things” (John 14:26), and “guide you into all truth” (John16:13). The Lord also promised that when his followers would be forced to testify before rulers and authorities, they need not worry about what to say because, “the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
All the time I was involved in this study, I was continuing to receive images, impressions and words from the Lord which when acted on changed lives. Initially, God interrupted me with a message of healing for a hurting woman. Now days, I sit and listen for him.
All of this has led me to conclude God speaks today and he wants you to hear him. Your challenge is to learn how to hear his voice through the noise that is around and in us. Next week I’ll talk about how to discern the voice of God.