247. HOW DOES GOD SPEAK TO HIS CHILDREN?
(The Abundant Life Series – Batch 2)
Before the question can be answered as to how God speaks to his children, it is important to establish first who God’s children are.
WHO ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD?
Undoubtedly, every person that lives today or that ever lived on the face of this planet was created by God. This is made clear in 1 Colossians 1:16-17 and in other scriptures in the Bible, like Acts 17:28-29, which describes all mankind as “…the offspring of God.”
Many people take this to mean that all of human creation are God’s children. However, this is not the case. We are NOT all God’s children, although he created all of us. In the Bible, where the word ‘offspring’ is used, it means coming from or created by God. The Bible teaches us that, although every human being that exists or that has ever existed was as a result of God’s creation, not all are his children. Some belong to the devil.
This is why in John 8:44, although Jesus, the Son of God and part of the Godhead was responsible for creating the Pharisees and sustaining their very breath, even as they opposed him, he told them: “YE ARE OF YOUR FATHER THE DEVIL and the lusts of your father ye will do…”.
It was also why Paul told Elymas, the Jew that was a sorcerer and false prophet, who was trying to prevent Paul and Barnabas from giving the gospel to Sergius Paulus, the deputy of a country where they were:
- “O full of al subtlety and all mischief, THOU CHILD OF THE DEVIL, thou enemy of all righteousness, will thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?”
In fact, the Bible is clear that, although God created mankind, (with the exception of Adam and Eve), the devil had and still has ownership of all human beings from their birth. This came about as a result of the initial sin of disobedience committed on the part of our ancestors Adam and Eve. This initial sin where they acted in violation of God’s command, plunged the entire human race who came from them, into spiritual darkness, an unregenerate state of sinfulness and made us estranged from God.
As children of the devil, from birth, we were all fitted for eternal destruction and the damnation of our souls in hell, due to our sinful state. Yet God in his mercy intervened, sent his only begotten Son the Lord Jesus Christ, to buy back or redeem human beings to himself, the one who created them. This is called redemption.
The price or ransom to be paid so that we could be reconciled back to God was hefty, for it required death and that the blood from one who was sinless and perfect be shed. Nevertheless, in his love, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was perfect and without sin, came to earth, died as a substitute for every human being and paid the price for sin for us with his own blood (Acts 20:28; 1 John 2:2).
Now, given that the price has been paid, there is a free gift offered to all mankind. To all that believe that Jesus came to earth in human form, died and rose again from the dead, if they confess that he is Lord, (meaning Lord over their lives, Lord over creation and Lord over all), he gives them power to become the sons (meaning children) of God (Romans 10:9-10).
John 1:10-13 states of Jesus after he had died, risen from the dead and returned to heaven, that:
- “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, even to them that BELIEVE on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Only those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ by their BELIEVING in his resurrection and confessing his Lordship with their mouth therefore are the children of God. Human beings who do not believe that Jesus Christ the Son of God rose from the dead on the third day, just as he said he would and who proudly, stubbornly and unrepentantly refuse to confess that he is indeed Lord over all, remain in their sin condition and remain the children of the devil.
Such persons have no relationship with God ,as they have not been reconciled to God due to their sins being forgiven. If they are still estranged from God and spiritually dead, they cannot therefore expect God to speak to them on any issue, other than one thing, namely: REPENT (meaning, be sorry for all of your sins and rebellion) and believe on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, so that you will be saved from the wrath to come!
The rest of this Article therefore are for those who are children of God (genuine Christians), meaning that they believe in the RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ, have confessed him as Lord with their mouths, REPENTED of their sins and therefore have been REDEEMED, RECONCILED with God the Father and have beautiful RELATIONSHIP with him.
HOW DOES GOD SPEAK TO HIS CHILDREN?
In the Bible days, God spoke to his children in different ways, such as directly through audible voice, visions and dreams and indirectly through the law and the Prophets.
When Jesus was upon the earth, he stated, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”
Today, Jesus having previously come to earth, died, risen from the dead and God having made the Word (the Bible) available to us in written and recorded form, I believe that He speaks to his children (the Church) DIRECTLY FROM his Word (the Bible) but also finds ways to speak to them INDIRECTLY ABOUT his Word (the Bible).
Of his Word, the Bible tells us:
- “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
The Word of God (the Bible) is therefore the common denominator every time God speaks. It all ties back to his Word and therefore, if what you hear does not line up with his Word (the Bible) or is inconsistent with his Word (the Bible), then you ought to know that what you heard was from the devil or your own self-will and not from the Lord.
It matters not how compelling the situation is or the experience you had. How you feel or the experience you had is never more important than what is already contained in God’s Word the Bible. If the voice you heard goes against the clear Word of God therefore, no matter how persuasive it seemed, it is not His voice. For, God does not contradict himself.
This is an elementary principle to remember as you go through life, as it applies in EVERY situation, no matter what you face.
(A) GOD SPEAKING DIRECTLY FROM HIS WORD, THE BIBLE
God speaks to his children DIRECTLY FROM his Word, the Bible, as they read and meditate upon the Scriptures or hear the Scriptures being read and expounded upon. I believe that this is the main way that he speaks to his children, which is why the Bible encourages Christians to spend time reading, searching and studying the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15). It contains the mind of God, the will of God and the counsel of God, which never changes.
Indeed, we learn from John 1:1,14-15 and 1 John 1:1-2, that the Word of God is Jesus himself, in written form. John 1:1 and 14 state in particular:
- “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
SOME EXAMPLES OF HOW GOD SPEAKS DIRECTLY FROM HIS WORD
By way of example, a Christian may have been praying about an issue and God leads him or her to a portion of Scripture in the Bible, where the answer is. As that Christian reads that Scripture, it resonates with his Spirit which is from God and the Spirit of God dwelling within him, lets him know, in a settled manner that brings peace, that this is God’s answer to the issue.
As another example, a Christian may be engaging in some kind of sin, for example, gossiping and God may use his Word to bring conviction to him or her, that what he or she is doing is sinful and displeasing to Him. This then leads that Christian, if he or she is obedient, to repent. For, this is the will of God. The Christian may not have gone searching for verses on gossiping and may have much preferred not being confronted with any but God will find ways to lead his children right to the verses they need to read, when they open the Bible or have them hear it, as it is read by someone, out loud.
(B) GOD SPEAKING INDIRECTLY ABOUT HIS WORD, THE BIBLE
In addition to the fact that God mainly speaks to his children directly through his Word, he also finds resourceful ways to speak to them indirectly, about His Word or in reference to his Word or based on his Word and always consistent with his Word.
SOME EXAMPLES OF HOW GOD SPEAKS INDIRECTLY ABOUT HIS WORD
By way of example, God may use Christian parents to talk some sense into a Christian child about to make the mistake of his life, by marrying the wrong woman or he may use Christian brothers and sisters or Christian friends to speak to us or through godly songs that are sung and of which he approves of. He may also use circumstances that come into our life, including adversities, hardships and chastenings, to get his message across indirectly.
EXERCISING CAUTION WHEN IT COMES TO INDIRECT VOICES
It is to be emphasized that, although God does speak indirectly to his children about his Word or in reference to it or based on it and always consistent with it, the main way in which he speaks is directly from his Word.
A Christian cannot therefore neglect to read God’s Word and hope to hear God speak to him indirectly through other people, like a Preacher, Teacher or someone holding the title of Prophet or through some dream he had. Remember, when God speaks indirectly, it is still about his Word or in reference to it or based on it and always consistent with it. In my view therefore, the only message or the main message from God in such a circumstance where a Christian is neglecting to read the Bible, would be for that Christian to get back to reading the Word.
We have established thus far, that whenever God chooses to speak indirectly to his child, it will always be about his Word, in reference to his Word, in alignment with his Word and based on the principles already laid down in his Word. This means that, no matter how spiritual someone claims to be, that person will never hear any new thing not already identified in God’s Word (the Bible) or that cannot be extracted and derived from principles contained in it.
In 2 Peter 1:20, it tells us that “…no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
1 Corinthians 14:10 also lets us know that “There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.”
Given that there are many kinds of voices, it is therefore necessary, whenever we hear a voice or a message that comes to us through indirect means, to check back with God’s Word (the Bible), to see if that voice or message lines up with his Word. If there is any contradiction, no matter how persuasive the voice or message seems and no matter how well respected the person is who is bearing the message, it is not of God but of the devil, that deceiver. For, as stated before, God will never contradict himself. If he tells you one thing directly from his Word, he will not lead someone or some circumstance to tell you something different, as they are not consistent.
In this way, once we cling to the Word of God and what it says, it exposes the voices that may seem persuasive, for what they really are which are lies from the pit of hell.
PERSUASIVELY DECEPTIVE VOICES THAT ARE NOT FROM GOD
There are examples of these persuasively deceptive voices that are not from God, in Scripture.
For example, God told Adam one thing, yet Eve chose to believe the contradicting and seemingly persuasive voice of the serpent (the devil), over God’s Word.
Also, in 1 Kings 13:7-26, God told a man who was serving him, one thing but he chose to listen to the contradicting voice of a Prophet, who claimed that God had told him something else. This was to the man of God’s detriment, as God held him to the standard of the Word he had given to him directly and not the lies that the Prophet had uttered. For, in giving in to what the Prophet stated that God had told him to tell him indirectly and in so doing, disobeying what God did in fact tell him to do directly, that man died.
The Scripture reads:
- “And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: FOR SO IT WAS CHARGED ME BY THE WORD OF THE LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.
- Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am. Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: Neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place. FOR IT WAS SAID TO ME BY THE WORD OF THE LORD, THOU SHALT EAT NO BREAD NOR DRINK WATER THERE, NOR TURN AGAIN TO GO BY THE WAY THAT THOU CAMEST.
- He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.
- So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water. And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the Lord came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, and hast not kept the commandment which the Lord thy God commanded thee, But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the Lord did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.
- And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase. And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, IT IS THE MAN OF GOD, WHO WAS DISOBEDIENT UNTO THE WORD OF THE LORD: therefore the Lord hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake unto him.”
This is very sobering. It lets us know that lying voices don’t always come from those who belong to the devil. Sometimes, it can come from even those who belong to God (Christians) but who are not where they are supposed to be in their walk with him. We cannot therefore just assume that because we know a person is a Christian, that what he tells us is from God and approved of by God. We cannot afford to let our guard down, no matter who the voice comes from but must always stick close to the Word of God and assess everything we are told, by that standard.
In Deuteronomy 13:1-4, God made it clear to his children, that if even if a Prophet said something and it came to pass, if that same Prophet encouraged them to turn away from God through the sign or wonder that came to pass, that they should not listen, for God had allowed the situation, to test whether they loved him with all their heart and soul.
God’s Word is the ultimate authority in ALL matters.
The Scripture states:
- “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear HIM, and keep HIS commandments, and OBEY HIS VOICE, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.”
If, for example, a woman claiming to be a Prophetess, tells a couple that has struggled with infertility for years, that they will soon have a baby and shortly thereafter, the woman conceives and bears a child, if, later on, the marriage sours and the woman becomes unfaithful to her husband because another man has been giving her the attention she seeks and in asking the self-proclaimed Prophetess for counsel, she tells her that God said she should leave her husband and remarry the new man that she now loves, this contradicts the Word of God and is therefore, not God’s voice speaking.
If, to cite another example, your parents who have professed Christianity are urging you to continue holding on to a job that compromises your Christian beliefs, so that you would continue to have an income, if, when you pray to God for guidance and read the Word and hear the Word read, you find yourself being led to scriptures that say to separate from the ungodly, you know in your Spirit and it is confirmed in God’s Word, that the counsel your parents have given, although they may have meant well is not wise counsel. For, it contradicts the counsel of the Lord and therefore, it MUST be rejected.
To provide another example, God’s Word has already made it clear that for a man to marry someone who has been divorced from her husband, this is adultery, no matter what the cause. If a person comes and says therefore, that God appeared to him in a dream or a vision and told him to marry the divorced woman or that God has put the divorced woman deliberately in his path so that he would fall in love with her and marry her or that a Prophet or well-respected teacher or preacher in his Church told him that God said that he should marry the divorced woman, that voice cannot be from God because it goes against His Word.
Remember, the Word of God is the highest authority. This will never change. In fact, it is so high, that God has magnified it above his own name (Psalm 138:2). It is higher than dreams, a vision, what our parents, friends, siblings, a Prophet, Teacher or Preacher has said, the experiences we have had in our lives and how we ourselves feel. Whereas we cannot always trust our feelings, our experiences or what someone tells us (no matter who that someone is) we can put full trust and unswerving confidence in what God’s Word, the Bible states. It will never change and it will always be true.
Whenever God’s Word exposes your dream, vision or that person’s message to have been false and to have been nothing but the working of satan, we should give deference to the Word, stating, even as Paul stated in Romans 3:4. “…yea, let God be true, but every man a liar.”
God will not tell us to do something contrary to his Scriptures. For, as stated before, he has magnified his Word above his name (Psalm 138:2). To those who like to argue that God told them to do something therefore, when that something clearly goes against God’s Word, James 1:13 reminds us, that God will never tempt us with evil. Evil is anything that goes against his Word.
The Scripture reads:
- “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
Such persons have been deceived by self-will and the devil, as they have not heard from God but from their own flesh, lust and the devil.
I would therefore admonish the body of Christ, that, whenever we are spoken to indirectly and it is purported, that what we have heard is from God, we must always consult the Scriptures, to see if what we have heard, lines up with it. This is how we expose lies from the pit of hell and avoid being deceived. Our motto should be to those who bring us messages, (even our own hearts which can at times be deceptive): ‘You have said, BUT IT IS WRITTEN….’
Indirect voices claiming to be from God, even when it comes from those close to us, must always be examined. 1 John 4:1 admonishes that we: “…believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
As indicated prior, sometimes, the deceptive voice is our own. In such a situation, we must be humble enough when we compare what we ourselves have been hearing and realize that it does not line up with God’s Word, to wholly reject it, while embracing God’s truth, so as to avoid being self-deceived. For, the yardstick for truth is not our selves and how we feel or our opinions or what we want to do but God’s Word. We must get to the point of maturity in Christ, where we say: ‘I feel this way or I have this opinion or I want to do this but what does God‘s Word say about the issue?’ Let God be true but every man (including yourself), a liar.
The Bible states that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44) and it is no secret that sometimes, he plants lies in our minds or sends people with lies to try to derail us from the path God wants us to take and his will for our lives.
To think that he is incapable of planting such lies in our minds is to be naïve at best. Apart from the disobedient man of God who listened to the Prophet over what God had said, David walked closely with the Lord and yet, he too listened to and acted upon a voice that was not from God and not in keeping with his Word.
1 Chronicles 21:1 states: “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel”, which was in violation of God’s will.
Given that our flesh is still with us and it has a will of its own that is at enmity with God (Romans 8:7) and given that our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), we cannot trust ourselves and our opinions, our feelings or any counsel that generates from our heart. We can, however, trust God’s Word.
Psalm 73:26 rightfully states: “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”
Since the devil speaks as well and with our destruction in mind, whenever we hear a voice (be it from a Preacher, Teacher, person who claims to have the gift of prophesy, family member, friend, Church brother or sister), it is important to discern WHO is speaking, so as to avoid being deceived.
As stated before, when God speaks indirectly through others or through circumstances (as he sometimes does), it will always be about his Word or in reference to it or based on it and always consistent with it. That is, no message will be from God if it contradicts his Word or is not in alignment with it or based on principles already contained in it.
The Word is therefore the foundation. It is the beginning of what God will say and also the ending. He will not say anything extra, that is not already said in his Word or based on the principles laid down in his Word. This is why it is so important for us to know his Word.
2 Timothy 2:15 states, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing THE WORD of truth.”
In situations where we believe that God has spoken to us indirectly therefore or we are not sure, we should always go back to his Word the Bible, to hear from him directly on the issue. If he spoke to us indirectly through someone or some circumstance, then because it would have been in relation to his Word, you will be able to find this same counsel directly in His Word as well. He is a God that gives confirmation to his will and it is his Word that we must consult, every time, for confirmation.
We should never just accept that what someone has told us is from God, no matter who the someone is. Sometimes, when a person speaks to us, we can immediately reference a scripture and know within our Spirit, that God has used that person to speak to us. However, if in doubt or we cannot think of a supporting scripture in that moment, we must search the Word for ourselves like the Bereans did, for either confirmation or disapproval of what that person has said.
In conclusion, God mainly speaks to his children DIRECTLY FROM his Word, the Bible but also INDIRECTLY ABOUT his Word, the Bible, through people and circumstances. When we hear something indirectly though, we must not take it for granted that it is God’s voice, no matter how well the message has been packaged or who delivers it. We must measure the voice against the yardstick of the Word, as whatever message is from God would have already been confirmed in the Bible.
(Written on 07th May, 2020 and added to on 17th June, 2020)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ Page:
- Note 185 – ‘The Sheep And The Shepherd’