Jesus made an all-important statement early on in his ministry. Already based in the Hebrew Scriptures (or Old Testament), Jesus was simply re-emphasising an essential characteristic of God’s people:
Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matt 4:4)
We are not first and foremost task-managers and busy-bodies. We are first and foremost sons and daughters called to hear our Father.
Yet there are 2 major hindrances to such. There are more that could be considered, no doubt. But I believe these are the 2 major ones that become barriers to hearing the voice of our Father.
1) We don’t believe such happens
Of course, most Christians are going to centre the voice of God in the Scriptures, what we identify as the written word of God. And such is good and right and proper.
But, while that remains an essential part of God speaking today, we must allow for the reality that He still actually speaks today. Remember, our God is relational at His core (hence why everything else He establishes is to be relational at core). So, our relational God never designed that His words simply be only gathered and maintained in the written text of Scripture (though again we start there). But our God, who has been communicating from the beginning and who will clearly do so into the fulness of the age to come, desires the same exact in this in-between time now.
It simply flows from who He is. Why anything less?
I’m excited about the Scripture. I am excited God has breathed upon such and preserved such as a foundation for knowing Him, His voice and His revelation in Jesus Christ. But the love my wife and I have for one another is not solely wrapped up in the love letters I have written to her over the past 5 and a half years. They actually are quite important in the life of love we have held together, hence why she and I have saved these letters. But there is something quite important about the reality of our love expressed now.
The same stands true of our Father.
2) We don’t give time for such
So, back to my wife and I. Imagine never ever giving time to deep conversation, walks together, date nights, romantic movies, etc? I mean, I still have those love letters and she still is ‘around’. But no room has been carved out to actually relate to one another now.
What a tragedy that would be?
And what a similar tragedy such is with us and our Father. Sometimes, for me, I know He is around and I have His great ‘love letter’, if you will. Is that not God enough? Not if I understand the full ramifications of Matt 4:4.
But there just isn’t enough time, right? I need to get on with the children, with house chores, with office work, with ‘ministry’ stuff. But in it all, I’ve not once heard Him, the voice that brings life to the dead, crumbles confusion, clarifies the way forward, the loving expression of His words.
And with such, I find myself frustrated, tired, exhausted or worse.
But, if we cannot live but on the words that come from His mouth, why don’t we allow for such life? And not even for the life promised, but simply for the enjoyment of Him.
I am well aware that I can create lots of space for so many things, even blogging and reading and writing. All good things, all things I believe God has put in me. But I can’t even hear His voice. There just isn’t enough time. I need to get on with the other stuff. Maybe later, maybe tomorrow, Father.
God forgive me and God forbid that from being my lifestyle.
He speaks today, because He is a relational lover. We can assert it is all wrapped up Scripture and finished, for now. But we will miss something of the living nature of our God. And we can fill our lives with just enough stuff to push His intimate voice away. But we will find ourselves dried up. Trust me, I’ve been there. And I suppose you have as well.
God speaks. Let’s listen.
I agree …. but ….. what disturbs me is that so often “hearing God” as personal experience is put in place of (or even against) what God has said, and indeed is still saying in Scripture.
The two were given for us to use together, because of our sinfulness, it is all too easy to misinterpret what God says to us …
Yes, this stuff happens, no doubt. But you know I don’t create such a dichotomy. Be encouraged.