The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Psalm 12:6
God has always spoken with man, from the time that He blessed the first couple, all through Scripture, and He will continue to do so until we are welcomed into His presence.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds… Hebrews 1:1-2
God speaks to our spirit, our innermost being – Spirit to spirit – to make His purposes known to us individually, to fellowship with us, or to reveal knowledge or wisdom. He also speaks through the ministry of others, usually to confirm what He spoke about earlier, but also to edify, exhort or comfort. (See 1 Corinthians 14:3) In such cases, the Bible teaches us, we should judge (or discern) such a word. (See 1 Corinthians 14:29) This is how God protects us against error and misunderstanding. The better way to judge a prophetic word is by mature Christians who have your interest at heart, and the only way to do so accurately, is by the written Word of God.
The Holy Spirit, the author of the written Word, will never contradict Himself by communicating information that goes against His written Word. The Bible is the standard by which everything that we hear or see is judged, no matter how exciting, eloquent or spiritual it may sound. The best way to protect ourselves against serious mistakes is by living according to the written Word of God.
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21
The problem that we have is not that God is not speaking, but rather that we are not listening, or that there is some misunderstanding about what He said. We hear so many voices that speak to us, including the carnal demands of our own flesh, making it hard to discern God’s voice.
For this reason we approach the Word with reverence and an open heart, ready to be instructed and enlightened. The Word transforms, prunes, enriches, and matures us. There is a practice, by some, to lift out a single verse as confirmation of a word from the Lord. This is very dangerous as context is important when it comes to the interpretation of truth. Satan himself tried to deceive Jesus by doing this very thing when he tempted Him in the desert. The better we are established in Scripture, the more we will understand the ways of God.
Interpreting Scripture is an aspect that needs our attention. The most common reason for divisions among Christians is probably the many different interpretations of Scripture that they hold to. Needless to say, there is reason for concern here. Yet, in all of the denominational bias and confusion, there is a way to find the truth.
The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. Psalm 119:160
The Bible interprets itself. The serious student of Scripture will have a greater understanding of the heart of God, because the Word renews the mind that is constantly exposed to it.
God, in His love for us, gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. Truth is a spiritual force, not a mental one. Our minds were not designed to understand God, and for that reason we must have a living relationship with the Holy Spirit.
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. John 16:13-15
Be careful not to interpret Scripture through your own experiences, or that of others. Truth will always challenge your growth and stretch your faith, and you will fall short at times, but lowering the bar is not the way to go. God’s thoughts and ways are still higher than ours, and bringing Him down to our level of thinking is to disregard Him. Putting ourselves forward as judges of the eternal Word, with our shortcomings and failures, may offer some short term comfort in a difficult time, but destroy the foundation of our faith in the long run. Let God be God when you don’t have answers to the questions of life.
We will never mature to a place where we have all the answers. Paul even said that we know in part, prophesy in part, and see things as in a mirror – often times a distorted reflection of the truth. (1 Corinthians 13)
How do we discern the Lord’s voice? Jesus touched on this question a few times. The verses below reveal one of the pillars of our faith:
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32
To abide means to dwell; when we dwell in the Word, it will dwell in us, and that is how we become true disciples of Jesus. You can at best be a cultural Christian when you follow Him at a distance, but you cannot be a disciple that way. If we abide in the Word, Jesus said, we will know the truth, and the truth sets us free. This is the very foundation and strength of our faith! When you know the truth, you will recognize it when it comes to you.
But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”John 10:2-5
We recognize His voice because we abide in the Word. The Word of God is a place of protection against deception and error. When He speaks, we recognize His voice, and follow in obedient faith.
God continues to give revelation to the church, and we have grown much in understanding, but He often works on a picture that is bigger than the one that we can see. Expect to hear from Him as He moves on toward the culmination of all things.
The spiritual atmosphere is changing fast, and we can see the effect thereof all around us. Everything is under pressure: politics, culture, justice, economics, health, morals, religions of the world, etc. because we have entered the last lap of the race. Tomorrow will most certainly not be like today. Expect huge changes everywhere, but also in the tone of God’s voice. There is an urgency that the cultural Christian will not notice, but we must be prepared to listen and willing to obey
It is not unusual for God to speak to His own, but when He speaks it is to direct our attention away from the mundane to see what He sees. There is always purpose in what He says. Our flesh leans toward comfort as a default, but God is looking for ambassadors that are effective in a fast changing world. May we have the faith and courage walk in step with Him