Friday, January 21, 2011

Discern pt3

The question of God speaking in an audible voice is sure create a lot of discussion. History is filled with stories of people who have claimed to hear the voice of God as justification for unspeakable atrocities. Wars have been fought over the, "Voice of God." Even today,  mental hospitals and prisons house hundreds of people who claim to have heard the voice of God. I would suppose that today honest and devout believers who may have heard the voice of God, keep it to themselves. In all honesty, I have never heard God speak in any way in which my ears hear a distinguishable voice. I will not now, nor ever say, that God can not speak in an audible voice. God can do whatever he chooses.

Now, as we continue to look at God's communication and our understanding of that communication in the Old Testament methods begin to change. Up to the time of Samuel it appears that the Lord chose to speak in audible ways. At least, that is the way Moses records his accounts as he is the author of the first five books. God did not choose audible communication as the only method, just a very common one. As Samuel sleeps he hears the voice of God. He believes that he is hearing Eli speak. The event occurs again until Eli discerns that Samuel is hearing God's voice. Scripture does not give us any indication that Eli heard the voice as well.

As the prophetic voices begin to sound in the region it seems the method of God speaking and the discernment of the message changes. Almost all recorded instances, as far as I can find, the prophets stand upon the conviction that they are speaking for the Lord. Time after time they declare, "Thus says the Lord." And then they bring forth the message that God has revealed to them and in their understanding, speak forth. We find in the prophetic record some remarkable events in which the Lord is seen giving aid, communication, support, or a message of doom. The Hebrew boys in the furnace have a divine presence that gives them courage and protection. Daniel finds protection from the lions as his heart and spirit were known to God.

With the closing of the Old Testament we find about four hundred years of divine silence. Malachi ends with the promise of a new voice and new discernment. I have not put down any references to God speaking and human understanding that might be found in other writings or the Apophraca. This decision might create some thoughts of bias or selectivity. The Old Testament is viewed as part of the Divine Revelation of God to men, so the choice.

As we begin to look in the gospels for the voice of God, or in his methods of communication, the events surrounding the birth of Christ burst forth with his voice. Angels seem to be the messenger of choice in bringing communication from God to the people involved. Mary, Joseph, Zacharias, Elizabeth and the shepherds all listen to the angels who communicate for God. The communication is understood and acted upon.

So, even in the beginning of the New Testament discerning the will of God is based on understanding God's communication, our(mankind's) understanding and accepting the message. Acting upon the understanding and acceptance is not really a requirement, remember Jonah.

1 comment:

  1. I've just started reading Chapter 6 in Tozer's "Pursuit of God." It opens with Jn 1:1 and is entitled The Speaking Voice. You can probably find the text online. "That God is here and that He is speaking--these truths are back of all other Bible truths; without them there could be no revelation at all."