Today I want to start with a phrase that is ubiquitous among evangelicals "How to hear the voice of God".
Many books ha've been written on how to hear the voice of God, how to be directed by God. how to be directed by God, how to know the will of God and the list grows tall. The danger with these volumes is that, they tend to point people away from Scriptures and lead the masses into an esoteric and mystical approach towards knowing the will of God. You want to hear God's voice? You want to know His will? Read your Bible. Listen to His word preached by faithful teachers appointed to feed God's flock. God speaks loud and clear every day in the pages of Scriptures.
Recently, I received an email in my inbox which, supposedly, was a decree from the ‘’throne of God’’ for my country to undergo a prayer and fasting for the nation.
The email read:
The Most High God and King of Ghana has ordered from His Throne that there should be the OBSERVANCE of NATIONAL WEEK of CONFESSION OF, and REPENTANCE FROM CORRUPTION, EVIL WAYS, and WICKEDNESS in the land by the Church, Government, Nation and all the People in the land (Ghana) from Monday, April 27 through Sunday, May 3, 2015.
How do we respond to messages as this purported to come "directly" from God? Ignore them! Of course, a call for repentance is a good call. But Scripture is replete with such calls we don't need a new word from God to rise up in repentance. The Bible is explicit about our responsibility as Christian citizens towards our nation. We don't need God to speak any new word apart from what He has already revealed in His word.
Am I in any way advocating a silent God? Not at all. God is Sovereign and actively, through Divine Providence, participates in the affairs of His creation. In an online article, Don’t Put God In A Box, Erik Raymond wrote that
The main things you need to know...is that God is not disconnected from what is happening in the world today. God is upholding, governing, and ordering all happenings as with his very hand.As I pointed out earlier, "God speaks loud and clear every day in the pages of Scriptures". It stuns me that the same people who believe in miracles, tend to ignore the wonder of God ruling and governing our lives by His written word. If you believe in miracles, shouldn't it equally be deemed miraculous that an ancient document written in antiquity still has power to convict of sins and bring us to repentance and faith in Christ unto eternal life?
Indeed it is a miracle by all standards, a book that is relevant for all generations:
The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.(Psalms 119:160).
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. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.(Hebrews 4:12-13).
If you believe in miracles, I think the sufficiency of Scripture must be a miracle to you.
There is a great error and deception in our time. Christians--Pastors and church members-- advocating God speaks to us in our days just as He spoke to Moses, Elijah, Ezekiel, Abraham, Peter, Paul etc. Isn't the thought of this absurd?
They go to the extent of saying "once it is written in the Bible I must experience it". What these believers are refusing to understand is that these occurrences were part of God's progressive revelation of Himself during the recording of His word over a period of time. His revelation was also limited to specific individuals with specific assignments. God didn’t speak to all the Israelites as He spoke with Moses. God didn’t speak to all Christians as He spoke with the Apostles.
Revelation has ceased and God has no new information apart from what is written -- including what has been fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled. It is all captured in His written word.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds...(Hebrews 1:1-3).
Here we notice God's way of speaking to humanity is divided into two periods: The Past (in time past) and The Present (last days). We also notice God's revelation of Himself culminated in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. In these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son-- the 2nd person of the God head, the word incarnate "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high"(Hebrews 1:3).
Everything God the Father has to say to us, He clearly says, "This is my beloved Son: hear him [listen to Him](Mark 9:7).
How do we hear or listen to the Son? By means of divers manners (dreams, visions, trance, burning Bush, clouds of fire still small voice...)? In these last days (church age), we listen to the Words The Father has spoken by the Son. How do we know those words? We go to Scriptures. Jesus gave The Father's words to the Apostles, and they in turn passed it on to us in the gospels and epistles.
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word (John 17:14-20).
In conclusion, I want to point out that beliefs have implications. If God is still speaking apart from His written word concerning our Christian life, then there are certain implications I believe we must consider:
1: Scripture Is Incomplete
If God is still speaking apart from His written word today, then like a building still in construction, the Bible is incomplete and needs scaffolds (dreams, visions, prophecies, still small voice) to remain standing. It means God has new things to reveal to us and they, if new, ought to be recorded because every "thou saith the Lord" which is not from Scriptures must be documented as new information to be added unto Scripture. The word of God is complete and it is through His word that He speaks to us.
2: God Contradicts Himself.
If God has indicated in His word that, "at many times and in many ways, [He] spoke to our fathers by the prophets", how do we still expect Him to speak in our contemporary times by the same "many ways" which includes dreams, visions, burning bushes, still small voice in a thunder etc. Won't God indeed contradict Himself when after speaking to us through His Son by the written Word, He goes behind the scene and starts acting as if we are living in "the past" of His self revelation?
3: Prone To Be Misled
If we don't bow to the Sufficiency and finality of the word of God as a rule over our lives, we open ourselves up to be carried about by every wind of doctrine. We will not grow in the Christian faith. We will not be rooted. We will not be established. Rather, we would be taken "captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ."(Colossians 2:8)
Soli Deo Gloria!