(From the Beatitudinal Podcase Episode # 3: Mind Series #:3 God Still Speaks Today, Part 1: The Bible)
Being attitudinal – to fiercely live a life of gratitude – is what we are about. We are taking a moment to remind ourselves that our state of mind – shaped by our thoughts – plays a major role in our ability to have and maintain a grateful attitude.
The good, the bad(ish), and the ugly: we have already examined the bad-ish (sometimes good and sometimes not soulish thoughts), and the ugly (diabolical thoughts). We have seen already that soulish thoughts need to be vetted, to ensure they do not lead us to regrettable outcomes.
For the next few weeks we will be looking at the good – thoughts from a divine source. Today, we are looking at the Bible.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart: Hebrews 4:12
There are those who say there is no such thing as God. That we are specialized uber complex cell clusters, biological organisms functioning with an evolving intellectual ability; in essence sparks from a big bang that occurred spontaneously eons ago.
While there may be threads of truth in that perspective, it is the omission of God from the equation that I take issue with. Psalm 14:1 says “the fool has said in his heart “There is no God.”. This is not to insult sincere seekers: it is more a preview of the view that the opinion that there is no God – a foreseeable result of a culture that has fallen a long way from the good start it had, when close relating to the Creator Lord God was the norm – is not a sound one.
Back in the Day
Historically, let’s press the review – as in search backwards – button, to go back to when people still believed in God, but started questioning if God still speaks to humankind. We have a wide choice of examples. We’ll look over broad spread, but list just a few:
- Even as far back as shortly after crossing through the Red Sea, the waters were becoming muddy so to speak: dissenters – Moses’ assistant relatives no less – angrily questioned the exclusivity of God’s voice: Numbers 12: 1-3
- Though it was widely accepted that God spoke to the prophets, there were still those who did not respect their words as being from God:1 Kings 13:3, 4
- There was a prophetic silence from the end of the Old Testament till the beginning of the New Testament – a period of 400 years known as the Intertestamental Period – that was violent and filled with many upheavals. In this interval, Israel was conquered by successive invaders including the Greeks and the Romans, whose vastly different religious beliefs at the very least tried the beliefs of the conquered jewish people. The people of Israel suffering in captivity began to lose hope, believing that God had finally abandoned them. The undiscerning acceptance of pagan practices and resultant shaping of jewish culture according to such pagan ways was one despairing response – and a recurring theme that did not end in the Old Testament.
- On one occasion (in the New Testament) when God spoke audibly from the heavens, most of the witnesses thought it was merely the rumbling of thunder: John 12: 27-29
- Taking a giant leap of centuries forward to the more recent past, the Enlightenment movement questioned and undermined the hitherto unquestioned role of Christian beliefs in Western society. The movement emphasized the sovereignty of reason, rather than a belief in and submission to the Christian God, and consequently recommended the separation of church and state – a cherished principle of modern American governance.
- Factions and splinter movements within the Christian church saw the growth of increasingly liberal beliefs (see the range between fundamentalist, evangelical and liberal factions of the Church). Over time, the contemporary church has come to span movements that assert that God stopped speaking directly to humans after the New Testament, to movements in which adherents may believe in some form of the Christian God, in an Abrahamic deity, modern conceptions of God, or benevolent aspirations divorced from the belief in any higher power at all.
So, the question remains: does God still speak to human beings today? The answer in a word is Yes – in at least five (5) test-worthy ways:
- His Word, the Holy Bible
- Scriptural Emphasis
- The Small, Still Voice
- Prophetic Words
We will look at the first of these five ways here.
- The Word of God, the Holy Bible
The primary means by which God has spoken, and still speaks, is by His Word, the Holy Bible. The Bible is an accessible yet mysterious, carefully vetted collection of sacred writings – the biblical canon – that has stood the test of time. Greatly ignorant views and stark misunderstandings about the content and interpretation of scripture circulate widely today, but this is sometimes by persons who have a shallow, casual or biased grasp of it, or by commentators who have only half of the package – an impressive recall of the wording and doctrinal analysis but not an intimate personal relationship the very Person – the Lord God – that is the subject of examination.
The Bible is not a collection of writings inescapably flawed by the frailties of its human scribes. The Bible itself addresses this idea, stating for example that
“..prophecy never came by the will of man, but [a]holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”: 2 Peter 1: 21
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3: 16
Regarding Jesus Christ, there are numerous – at least three hundred and twenty four (324) detailed messianic prophesies foretelling his birth, life, ministry, death and effect – every single one of which was perfectly fulfilled in every detail. The Bible is unique among the various sacred writings as the only one that has been able to satisfy this impossible to contrive test. By the reckoning of one Professor of Science, Mathematics and Astronomy (Professor Peter Stoner), the probability of a single person fulfilling a mere 48 prophesies about him is 1 in 1 x 10 x 157 – that is a 1 with 157 zeroes – chance – how much the 324!
The Bible is mysteriously multidimensional. It is immediately clear that among believers at least, the Bible is understood to be the Words of God, being a record of His laws, precepts, standards and reminders of His awesome deeds – including the inestimable depth of His love for His children, indeed all of Mankind.
More than a mere record however, it is also an incisive living, active source of everything we need for life: e.g. wisdom, reprimand, aid, deliverance and healing.
More mysterious still, Jesus Christ, the Holy Son, the second person of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), is also revealed to be the Word of God, who was with God at the very beginning of Creation, through Whom all things were made.
Believers thus accept the Bible as a reliable – for many inerrant – source of God’s wisdom and instructions.
The understanding and perspectives that result from studying, receiving and obeying the instructions therein are regarded as being the outcome of hearing God’s voice – in other words, the truths and directives of the Bible are deemed to be His Voice. In some Christian quarters – such as in Lutheranism and Calvinism – this is the sole acceptable source of God’s voice.
How reassuring is it to know not only that there IS a God, but that He cares enough about His created humans to not leave them to their own devices as orphans, but prepared exhaustively for the knowledge and reassurance they would need, but providing in in His Word which He carefully caused to be inerrantly recorded and preserved for us?
I don’t know about you, but this fills my heart with peace, especially when I feel discouraged and alone, and need someone/where to turn to. When I turn to the Bible, especially those passages that I have noted to be especially relevant to moments of discouragement or other trying moments, I find that the discouragement has no choice but to ultimately lift, freeing me to gratefully rejoice in the love and faithfulness of my Lord God and Savior.
We will continue our discussion of ways that God speaks to people today next week, when we look at the next means which is Scriptural Emphasis.
Dear Lord, I am so glad that You Are. You revealed Yourself as “The I Am that I Am” – eternal, unfathomable, inconceivably present. You know all, and You love us all. Please keep my heart tethered by the knowledge and relational awareness of Your reality, Your Presence, and Your perfect Love.
Lord, thank You that the timing of our life and faith journeys differ according to Your perfect plan, so that we cannot rightly condemn nor judge the progress of anyone’s apart from our’s. For those that are still at the point of believing that there is no God, please shine the light of Your presence into their heart, and permit an accelerated knowledge and belief in you, certainly before their time on this earth is done.
For those who believe that there is a god, but only accept the existence of a vague or impersonal god, please reveal the splendid, incontrovertible detail of Your Awesome Being, for their timely salvation.
For those who believe that You are exist and are truly God, but that You no longer speak to Your children, use this broadcast their subsequent journey to convince them that You do indeed still speak, for the blessing of their remaining journey.
For those who believe that You exist, are Lord, still speak, but are not willing or interested in speaking to them personally, show them otherwise, in Your inimitably loving way.
Release us further into a joyful gratefulness, that rejoices in being alive, and knowing that we are not alone, because You’ve got our backs. What an adventure that awaits us in Your care. We are hopeful and cautiously excited to see where You will take us on our journeys. Let it be good, according to Your perfect Will.
In Jesus Name, we pray, Amen.
Disclaimer: While care is taken to vet all references used, the inclusion of any work, citation or otherwise, does not imply the endorsement or other approval of its source or wider origins.