The God Who Speaks
I will listen to what God the Lord will say. (Psalm 85:8)
As inheritors of Greek thinking, westerners tend to keep the ‘spiritual’ separate from the ‘secular’. God and religion are in one box; ‘real life’ is in the other. Because of this, western Christianity has often had little expectation of God reaching out of his ‘box’ into everyday life, and faith has often become entirely ‘otherworldly’. But this isn’t the God of the Bible! For there God is revealed as fully involved in his world, speaking and acting. Our God is the God speaks! The challenge is: are we listening?
God has promised, ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know’ (Jeremiah 33:3). This truth that God wants to speak to us is amazing, as Moses expressed when he said, ‘The Lord our God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire. Today we have seen that a man can live even if God speaks with him’ (Deuteronomy 5:24). To heighten this fact that God speaks, he is often contrasted with dumb idols which ‘have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats’ (Psalm 115:5-7).
But not only does God speak; he speaks ‘in many and various ways’ (Hebrews 1:1), through things like audible voices (e.g. 1 Samuel 3:1-10; Matthew 3:16-17), visions (e.g. Genesis 15:1; Acts 9:10-16), dreams (e.g. Genesis 28:10-17; Matthew 2:19-23), pictures (e.g. Jeremiah 1:11-17; Amos 8:1-2), angels (e.g. Judges 6:11-22; Luke 1:26-38), circumstances (e.g. 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Acts 16:6-10, revelation (e.g. 2 Samuel 7:17; Revelation 1:1), the Scriptures (e.g. 2 Kings 22:11-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
What does all this tell us? That, in contrast to dumb idols, God really does want to speak to people – and that includes you today! He is speaking! Are you listening?
‘Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? … It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it. But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.’ (Habakkuk 2:18-20)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont