Should we expect God to speak to us with a thunderous voice or a low whisper? Today, Benjamin Shaw explains the way in which God speaks to His people and how we can receive His guidance for life.
NATHAN W. BINGHAM: I'm here on the campus of Reformation Bible College with Professor of Old Testament Dr. Ben Shaw. Dr. Shaw, should Christians today expect for God to speak to them audibly?
DR. BEN SHAW: Well, that's a difficult question. I'll try to answer it briefly. We have a lot of folks today with the expectation that God is going to speak to them either mentally in the mind or audibly, but I don't think that the Scriptures give us that indication. So for example, we read in Numbers chapter 12, when Miriam and Aaron have risen up against Moses, that God says to them, He says: "If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses. . . . With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly and not in riddles" (vv. 6-8). And so the idea is that God actually speaking to or with people is not something that we should expect to happen. God speaks to us in His Word.
Let me tell a story I read many years ago about a man who was utterly convinced that God wanted him to marry a particular woman. And she didn't want to have anything to do with him, but he kept pursuing her. And not too long after, she married someone else. And the man said that he began feeling very sorry for the man that she married because he was obviously going to die soon because "I was meant to marry this woman." And it took him years to actually realize that God had not told him that he was to marry this woman, that he had simply been mistaken. And we can get ideas and think they are from God, and it can cause real problems.
But I would say briefly that God speaks to us in His Word. There are many things that He does not tell us, and we shouldn't expect Him to tell us those things audibly or in our minds. So for example, what job should I do? Well, is it a job that in which you can honor God? Well, go ahead and do it. I think sometimes people are afraid of being outside the perfect will of God. And I think that's part of the reason they want to hear God speaking to them. But no, God speaks to us in His Word, and that's His final word.
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