In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

God speaks for God

I'm not sure where it was that I heard it first, but I've always liked that statement: God speaks for God.

Yet, while it is true that God speaks for God, in one sense don't Christians also speak for God? To someone who does not know God, and does not have knowledge of Scriptures, God seems silent. So many Americans frequently assume, that if there is indeed a God, then perhaps it is Christians or the religious, who are the ones speaking for Him. If this is true, God must be confused; because the messages "from God" are not all in agreement.

To name just a few of many examples: In 1095 Pope Urban II was certain that from Jerusalem to Constantinople there was "an accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God" and so he cried out for what was launched into the first of the Crusades. In the 1400s you've got Joan of Arch saying God called her to lead the armies of France against English occupiers. In the mid 1600s you've got Oliver Cromwell capturing the town of Drogheda and massacring it's residents calling his actions the "righteous judgment of God upon these barbarous wretches". In the 1700s there's Jonathan Edwards calling the Catholic Pope the antichrist. You've got Joseph Smith who claims that as a young man in 1820 he went out into the woods to pray which of the sects were right. The churches in his area were Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian; Smith claimed that God told him that "all of their creeds were an abomination in his sight". You've got John Brown in 1855 who was certain that God told him to go into battle and so he engaged in that famous raid on Harper's Ferry to obtain temporary control of that federal arsenal to use in his fight against slavery. Brown was later hanged for treason. In the 1980s many saw Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as speaking for Christians and for God. Then there was Paul Hill who testified at his trial for killing an abortion doctor that he was certain that God told him to do so. Hill was put to death by lethal injection on September 3, 2003.

Most Christians will say that the test for if someone is speaking for God is that what the person says will be in accordance with scripture. I have both said and believe this myself. But as I'm reading through God Talk by Ruth A. Tucker I find these words of hers interesting:

"The way to differentiate the voice of God amid mixed messages, many people would argue, is to test the message of the voice by Scripture. So by that means, Joseph Smith Jr. fails while the individual whose message does not violate Scripture passes. But even when we pass on the voice of God, we get mixed messages that are all too often prompted by mixed motives. We do not easily understand our own motives, and this is a factor that should prompt us to remain silent even in instances where we believe we have heard the voice of God. If our silent expression of that voices comes forth in a way that radiates the love of Christ in word and deed, we can conclude that God has truly spoken"

For what it's worth, these words ring true for me.

Aside from my husband sometimes, although I believe God talks to me, I rarely share what He says in a "God told me" format with others. I simply pray, search the Scriptures, and then if I'm still sure it's God, act in obedience. Sometimes that searching the scriptures doesn't actually take place in terms of me sitting down for an hour or so with a Bible in hand, sometimes it does. Sometimes, because I've spent years studying and memorizing Scritpture, I run what I think God is telling me by the Scripture that is already in my mind (I'm especially likely to do this when there is a timing issue involved).

But to be totally honest there have been times I've acted on what I believed God told me that later, in retrospect, I'm not so sure about. There have also been times when I know that I know that God told me something and still to this day remain steadfast in my belief. But the bigger issue for me is that I'm not convinced that I need to use the "God said" language when appealing to others for support. Because, once I've done that, I'm setting myself up as the mouth piece for God. If God really did say it, how then could they deny me their support? It seems much healthier to me to simply put forth what I ask from them and have them pray concerning their response and leave their actions between them and God. If God really told me, can He not also confirm this word in their hearts?

Somehow I also think relationship ties into this. Throughout the Bible I see this relationship theme. God is constantly seeking relationship with mankind and tells those who follow after Him to be in relationship with one another. The directive to Christ's followers to love one another is repeated numerous times in the New Testament. So it seems to me that if I'm in relationship as I should be to others in the body of Christ that I don't need to use the words "God told me" to get them to listen; they'll listen because they already know my life lived out before them, because they respect me and know that I love them.

What about you, do you believe that when God speaks to you, you need to tell others that "God said"? Why or why not?


David-FireAndGrace said...

You are really going after the hearing from God aspect of our relationship with Jesus. It's admirable!

The sheep know his voice - but how many truly have been taught to listen?

Here is my experience:
- The voice of God seems louder for those that have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. (folks can argue theology all day long - but it appears to be true.)

- Hearing God for ourselves does not require a "God says" - it requires relationship and obedience. God said, I did it. So simple.
- When we don't hear God, we are out of touch, or expected to be a doer of the Word we have already heard. (I don’t have tell my daughter to use the potty anymore - she just does before we leave the house.)
- The church has been entrusted with prophetic gifts (you can all prophesy, but not all at the same level), and prophets. Many churches do not make use of them. -- Sadly some that do believe in the gifts do not know how to test prophecy, the likes of stuff that came from 2 of your named national ministers.
- Scripture needs to be received by the same type of revelation that a prophecy is - it's the same God. Sadly, many intellectualize the Scriptures and miss the true meaning, others veil it in some mystical bologna and also mislead others.
- Other wrap their worldview and religious or political views with Christian-eses, also confusing believers.
- God has but one will.
- There is only one theology, and unity is not agreement, it is comes "in" the Spirit, not in common beliefs.

Hearing God is a mixture of being born-again and spirit-filled, faith, the sovereign will of God, and the humility to admit when we are wrong.

Churches have made us spectators for so long, few are taught to hear the voice of God for themselves. They sit and get a teaching that sounds nice, feels good and makes sense then they go home - if they are lucky some of it sticks.

Hearing God and being intimate with Him like Song of Songs is unusual, and there are so many distractions.

Great post.

RCUBEs said...

Wouldn't it be neat to be able to talk to Him the way He spoke with His people back in the old days...Sigh...

But I sure am glad that we can know the things of God because of the Spirit. I believe we must be careful in saying "God says.." as not all voices are from Him. As we have an active enemy who pretends to be the light.

But with His guidance and Word, I believe He does talk to those who seek Him...Interesting post sister Tracy! God bless.

John Cowart said...

Maybe I'm an unbeliever, but I have problems with folks who say God told them that I'm supposed to do thus and so.

And once a dear Christian lady I admired, brought me some songs and poetry which she said God gave her. She wanted me to promote these verses... The verses were terrible! I can't help thinking that if God really spoke to her, He would have used some proper English grammar.

However, her daily actions made me think that on some level, she really was in touch with the Lord (she and her husband ran a rescue mission in Jacksonville's slums).

The few times I think God may have spoken to me through other people, those other people were not aware of it; i.d., they made some chance remark in ordinary conversation that carried enormous meaning for me. But they were not saying, God told me you should do ...whatever.

I guess I'm not in the inner circle, but President Obama has never confided in me; he expects that I listen to his press releases and addresses to the nation. There is no reason for him to speak to me; I'm not important enough for him to call on the phone... But, if I wanted people to think I'm a really important guy, I'd tell people, "Yesterday, the President told me that..."

FishHawk said...

The more familiar one can become with what is contained in our Heavenly Father's Holy Bible, the easier it should become to distinguish between what is of Him and what is not swirling around in their head. For His Holy Scriptures were given to serve as written confirmation of what He wants to personally reveal to us, but nothing should taken too much for granted. For what is written does not always mean what it naturally appears to, and our Heavenly Father has always been faithful to let me know what this or that really means whenever I have started to go with what I was taught before He made Himself real to me. In fact, He has made it to where I would have to expend more energy denying what He wanted me to accept than what it would take to just humbly accept it, and this has been put to the test on a number of occasions. For what our Heavenly Father actually says is absolutely true is quite contrary to most of what I was taught by my parents and from other "good Christian people" way back when, and it has been hard to accept that they were so woefully deceived about so very much, which included our Heavenly Father still seeking to directly communicate with us. Of course, it may very well be that I am the one who has been led astray.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

I think you've covered this topic well. I'm always worried about people who hear the voice of God... what about the schizos who hear voices? It's really hard to tell until hundreds of years later when someone's voice turned out to be right and they are declared a prophet.


What about you, do you believe that when God speaks to you, you need to tell others that "God said"? Why or why not?

Not Always. Most of the time God speaks to me through His Word and it's usually to build my character and deal with me about certain attitude adjustments I need to make. The way I share that with other people is by my actions and not necessarily by telling them that God spoke to me.

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