Is This Really God?
God speaks to us in many ways. He spoke to Adam and Eve in the cool of the day while walking with them. After they sinned that closeness was severed and they experienced guilt and shame. Yet He still speaks.
The Bible records many ways that God spoke:
• by visual means i.e. the tabernacle, cloud and pillar of fire in Exodus
• through the prophets (1Kings 17:24 Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”)
• through dreams (See the book of Daniel)
• through visions (See the Book of Acts)
• through Jesus (See the Gospels)
• through the teachings of apostles (See the Epistles)
• through a “word of knowledge” in the church (See 1st and 2nd Corinthians.)
• through signs and wonders and miracles (sprinkled throughout the Old and New Testaments)
• Through revelation (see the book of Revelation)
God does understand our limitations and doubts about this matter. He said in Job 33:14, “For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.” The Bible can help you to recognize His communication styles.
As you study and read through the Bible you will see common threads throughout all of the different books that comprise the one whole Bible. Character traits of God become evident and remain consistent from one end to the other. Many of the names God gives to Himself describe what He is like.
I am still learning about His nature and character even now after many years as a Christian. I don’t know all about Him because I think it would take more than one human lifetime to know an Infinite God.
A Few Examples
I remember the first time I got the Bible on audio recording. Because someone else was reading it, I could listen to the whole Bible in about 3 days during a long road trip. By listening to it quickly like that, I discovered God’s love in a way I had not noticed before. No matter how far or how often Israel strayed from Him, again and again He redeemed them. While pondering this, I realized that what he did for them He would do for me. It was an “aha” moment. It settled a deep concern I’d had about my salvation. If I listened to God’s call to repentance which He spoke often in the many books of the Bible, and if I sincerely repented of those things He was convicting me of, He would rescue me from my self-destructive path. I’d heard from God.
I’ve learned from several good teachers the value of journaling. One thing I do quite regularly now is ask God questions in my journal and listen for the answer. Some of the answers can be quite profound.
Here is one example: “Lord, why do I have to forgive every single time someone sins against me? It’s tedious and time consuming and it seems that they are getting away with something every time I forgive them. Can’t I just walk away and forget them?”
God’s answer: “My dear daughter. When someone sins against you it becomes like a thorn in your body. If not removed it will fester and hurt you much longer than necessary. Left unattended long enough it can get seriously infected. This is what bitterness is like. Eventually, if not dealt with, not only does the pain of the original sin increase, but it eventually affects other parts of your body and can cause death. When you forgive every sin another commits against you, you remain healthy and heal quickly. I am both merciful and just. I’ve asked you to forgive others as I’ve forgiven you. I’ve asked you to love others as I have loved you. If you love me you will do as I command. When you obey me in this matter, I am free to help both you and your opponent find forgiveness and healing and the enemy will not gain a foothold in your life. Forgiveness is a good thing, especially for you.”
One more example of hearing from God is through dreams and visions. One day I was talking to a young man who told me about his dream. In his dream, he was standing in the house he grew up in which he knew he now owned. It was old and dilapidated and the front screen door was open hanging from one hinge. As he looked outside, he was terrified to see several police cars driving up the hill towards his house with sirens on and lights flashing. As they approached his house, he woke up.
The interpretation we prayed for went like this: “The old house represents you. You are a product of your childhood, but since you are an adult you now own your own life and your family is no longer responsible for the way you live. You have become “unhinged” as it were and you are now open to see beyond yourself. The police cars represent justice. On your own, you face a just God who will judge you based on justice. If you do not repent of your sins you will not access the mercy of God. There is good reason to be terrified. This is a warning dream.
The result: the gentleman was open to the Good News that Jesus was willing to take upon Himself the sin of this man in exchange for Life through Jesus Christ. The man asked for forgiveness for his sins right there. He invited Jesus to become his Lord and committed his life to Jesus from then on.
It is my prayer for you that you will open yourself up to hear from God. I pray that you will know when it’s Him and not just your own imagination or some other voice. May you find that God speaks in love and always for your good.