Thursday, December 1, 2016

Better than an Audible Voice

I'm not exactly sure my motivations but when I was a child I remember praying one time and asking God to be a Prophet. I'm sure the allure of God audibly speaking to me was compelling to me as a young boy.

Right now I'm reading through the Book of Ezekiel. Like the other books in both the major and minor prophets there is an oft repeated phrase I come across in my reading: "The word of the LORD came..."

Amazing isn't it? God spoke to Ezekiel His special message for His people. 

I think many in the church are infatuated with the idea of God's audible voice coming to them. I remember another time when I was a teenager pleading with God to speak audibly. I don't think the motivations for this are necessarily always wrong. Those who love God want to hear Him. God would you just speak to me and show me what to do!? But let's step back from that for a moment and consider the bigger picture. 

You and I have more access to the word of the LORD than any prophet ever did. Yup. It's true. This is why we must understand the nature of Scripture. 

God has given us a divinely breathed book made up of 66 books that is His very word. The audible voice of God doesn't carry greater weight, sufficiency, or authority than the written word of God. God is the author of both. In the former days He chose to speak audibly to His prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). So, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Micah, et al, had access to what God had spoken in the past, and they had access to what God was speaking to them then. But they did not have access to the whole word of the Lord. They didn't have access to a completed Bible. They didn't have access to the gospel of Matthew or the epistle to the Romans or 3 John. 

You see, beloved, we have a completed canon of Scripture. We have the entirety of God's word for His people literally at our finger tips. More than a desire to hear God speak audibly, we should have a desire to consume all that He has already spoken to us through the authors of the Bible. I promise you, you're not ready for more revelation! Nor is there any need for more revelation because what we have is wholly sufficient. 

Imagine what it would be like if God opened up the heavens right now and spoke to you! Well, that's exactly what He has done in the Bible. The Triune God of the universe has given us His Word. He has spoken to us. Don't take this wonderful blessing lightly! 

One final note before closing. I think it's unhelpful at best and in actuality downright dangerous to claim God audibly speaks to you. When you hear this or that teacher make that claim, run away. We don't need God to speak to us audibly because He's given us something better! His voice in written word.  For one, an audible voice can't be authenticated. How do I know it was God who said that? Secondly, this is often used as a trump card. "God told me so who are you to question it!"  But even more serious, this is a direct attack on the sufficiency of Scripture. It is saying there is something lacking in the Bible that you need for your growth and relationship with the Lord. Not true. I'll end with a quote from John Piper:

"It is a great wonder that God still speaks today through the Bible with greater force and greater glory and greater assurance and greater sweetness and greater hope and greater guidance and greater transforming power and greater Christ-exalting truth than can be heard through any voice in any human soul on the planet from outside the Bible."

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