Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 – Day 355.Dec 22 – The Voice of God

Passage for Study: 1st Samuel 2 - 3 … 1st Samuel 2-3 linked for study …

My Journal for Today: Today’s passage, written by some scribe or storyteller for God, is a fascinating true tale of the young, growing Prophet-to-be, Samuel. And a lot of it deals with him being mentored by a man, a Priest of God’s people, Eli, who may have been an upstanding, diligent Priest, but who had apparently been a lousy father. His two sons, having a dad who probably was not around very much because of his priestly duties, became scoundrels; and God would ultimately come down on them for defying the Lord. But our scene today focuses on God speaking audibly to Samuel; but the boy prophet didn’t recognize the voice because Samuel had not developed a deep and abiding relationship with God at this point in his life.

Swindoll points out several times when God spoke to people in the Bible, such as when He knocked Saul (who would become Paul) off his horse on the way to Damascus; or when Elijah heard the Lord in a still small voice; or when He spoke instructions to Noah about the ark in Genesis 6. And here we have the Lord, God Himself, speaking directly to His young prophet boy, Samuel; but note in 1st Sam. 3: 7 the Bible author’s note (in parentheses in most versions), where the storyteller writes, “(Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor was the word of the LORD yet revealed to him.)”

And I think this is quite revealing about God’s relationship with His chosen and/or anointed agents or leaders under the Old Covenant. In those days, before the coming of God’s Spirit to all who believe in the finished work of Christ on the Cross, God was very selective in whom or as to how His Spirit was imparted to God’s selected agents for action. And Samuel, being very new to God’s selection of him as a Prophet, did not recognize God’s voice.

And I think there is a lesson here – at least there is for me – and I hope there is for you as well. Any Christian under the New Covenant (i.e., in the New Testament dispensation of grace) can hear from God; because God imparts His Spirit into the heart of any born-again believer. No, I don’t mean God speaks audibly to all believers, though God being God certainly could speak audibly to anyone whom He chooses. However, I must admit that I’m a bit of a skeptic when I hear someone say to me, “God told me to …” Or if I hear someone claim, “God said to me …,” I balk a bit in disbelief. Why? Because I’ve never heard God speak to me audibly. Have you? Maybe, like Samuel (or Noah or Elijah or Saul of Tarsus), you are favored or anointed in some special way to hear God speaking to you. I must admit that I was a doubter years ago when Oral Roberts, just recently deceased, clamed that God told him that the Lord would kill Pastor Roberts if he didn’t raise so many millions for the hospital God had “told him” to build in Tulsa, OK.
You see, I do believe that God communicates His truth to any or all believers. And like with even a Samuel, I think that God reasons [note: I don’t say “speaks”] more clearly to those who have a deeper, more mature, relationship with the Lord. But now, in this age of grace, when we have God’s completed and canonized Scripture, I don’t think God has to use the “office of Prophet” to speak for Him. Nor does The Lord need to anoint and speak through specially selected agents to accomplish His will on earth as the Lord did in the Old Testament times.

My friends, any day that you delve deeply into God’s word, trying to get to know your God, through His Book of Truth, you are “hearing” the word of God. When you hear an anointed preacher, who has interpreted and is speaking God’s truth from His word, you are “hearing” the spoken word of God. But the latter is not because that preacher/teacher is singled out to hear from God in some special way as were the Prophets of old, men like Noah, Elijah, Isaiah, or Samuel. No, when a Preacher is speaking from a pulpit and you hear God speaking through him to your heart, it’s because this preacher is correctly and faithfully interpreting God’s truth – from God’s word, - the Bible.

Hence, the point today is for all believers to recognize our calling to go deep, developing an abiding relationship with God, by going deep into His word. And it behooves us to know God intimately through His word, so well that we recognize false teachers/preachers who are numerous on the landscape these days. Secret Service agents are trained to know a counterfeit dollar because they’ve studied the real thing so long and so hard that they can recognize a fake one when they see it.

My friend, we need to be so mature in our study of God’s word, when we hear pretenders to God’s truth, like those you might see or hear on Trinity Broadcasting Network; or when a popular televangelist, like (you fill in the name of one you know is a faker here), you’ll be able to recognize his counterfeit teaching. Dear one, I hope you’re going deep DAILY into God’s word and studying the ABSOLUTE TRUTH of God’s word, so that you’ll know the truth or fiction when you hear if or read it. Your ability to sense God’s truth is going to be dependent on the depth of your understanding of God’s word. So, it behooves all believers to go deep and get to know God intimately through His word.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I come here daily to get to know You closely through Your word. Show Yourself, Lord, to me through Your truth. Amen

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