Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How did they ever hear God's voice without a how-to manual?



There are so many pamphlets, teachings, sermons, and books out there today "educating" the Christian on "How to Hear God's Voice." None of these teachers seem to realize that God doesn't need our help hearing His voice. None of these teachers seem to realize that much of what they write conflicts with each other. The different "ways", "tips", "methods" are piling up. Soon we will have a hundred ways to hear God's voice. Sadly, all of them will be wrong.

Worst of all, many of these teachers claim that if you do NOT hear God's voice, either it is because your faith is weak, or you can never enjoy intimacy with God if this "critical" element is missing. They make absolute statements that have no basis in reality, but harm the hapless who believe them. It's heartbreaking, what these false teachers teach. Here are a few examples:

Andrew Wommack writes:
One of the greatest benefits of our salvation has to be that of hearing God speak to us personally. There can be no intimate relationship with our heavenly Father without it. But, as easy as it is for us to speak to Him, the average Christian has a hard time hearing His voice. This is not the way the Lord intended it to be. 
Dallas Willard wrote
God is constantly speaking to people. But too often, they miss out on hearing God’s messages because they seek His guidance only occasionally – usually when they’re going through a crisis or facing a major decision. Then, with a dire need to hear from God, people become confused and frustrated when they don't clearly hear what they should do. Here are 10 ways how you can hear from God and recognize his voice regularly:
Adam Wittenberg from IHOP Kansas City writes:
Maybe you’re someone who wants to hear God’s voice, but you don't know how. Perhaps you’ve even tried, and feel like He didn't answer you. Maybe you want to listen but can’t focus long enough to hear. Or maybe you're frustrated, because it seems like God is talking to everyone else but you. If you think God doesn’t want to speak to you, be encouraged: Jesus says in John 10:27 that "My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow me."
That John 10:27 verse the 'how to hear God' teachers use often as a (false) basis that God is speaking audibly today- my sheep hear my voice. Well, are you a sheep? If so then I guess Jesus is actually a vine, or He is actually living water.

Lynette Hagin at Kenneth Hagin Ministries wrote:
In these last days it's more important than ever for us to fine-tune our spiritual ears to hear the Lord's voice. God is constantly speaking to us. He's trying to warn us of things to come. So many times we simply shrug it off. We think, "That's just me." But it's not. It's the Holy Spirit's voice. To be able to hear God's voice, we must set aside time to wait in His presence and allow Him to talk to us. It's when we are quiet before the Lord that we can hear from Him most clearly. 
He is trying to warn us? Trying?! Is there anything God cannot do? (Genesis 18:14).

Joyce Meyer has this to say about how to hear from God, delicately disdaining to her readers with this article about hearing from God, It's Not that Complicated:
Even though I sincerely loved Jesus, I went to church for years without knowing that God talks to people. I observed all the religious rules and holidays...I went to church every Sunday. I was really doing all that I knew to do at that time. But it wasn't enough to satisfy my longing for God. I could've spent every moment in church or in Bible study, but it wouldn't have quenched the thirst I had for a deeper fellowship with the Lord. I needed to talk to Him about my past and hear Him talk to me about my future. But nobody taught me that God wants to talk directly to me. No one offered a solution for the dissatisfied feelings I endured. 
Meyer says this in other places:

--Recently God told me that ... Meyer
--Hearing God's voice throughout the day has become a natural way of life for me ...Meyer

I suppose once you start to be known for being a special recipient of God's words, you have to maintain the pretense.

You'll notice that Meyer's is a familiar theme with the false teachers educating people on how to hear from God: unfulfilled longing. Church isn't enough. The Word isn't enough. Prayer isn't enough. Redemption isn't enough. Sarah Young who wrote Jesus Calling, a book all about her conversations with God, who allegedly spoke audibly to her and she recorded 'His' words, said she had a yearning for "more." If Jesus isn't your all in all, if you aren't thrilled with the Word, if you aren't sated by church worship and fellowship with the saints, then a disembodied voice from the ether isn't going to fulfill you. The adulation you receive from ignorant followers might fulfill you for a while. The royalties from the books you write about hearing from God might fulfill you for a while. The applause on interview shows might fulfill you for a while, but it is all vapor. Only Jesus can fulfill you, and He is not speaking now.

He spoke. In His word.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2).

I was pondering that verse the other day and thinking about all the ways God had spoken in previous times. Through a burning bush. Through a donkey. Through an angel. Through His prophets. Through a fleece. Through dreams ('Joseph, flee to Egypt').

Then I began thinking about ALL the many folks in times past who heard God speak without the help of Andrew Wommack or Joyce Meyer or Lynette Hagin. God had no trouble speaking clearly to those whom He desired, without the aid of lessons and books and how-tos.

Then I began thinking of a silly scenario using the false teachers' own words. Like this in Joel 1:1-2, as Joel was going around doing his daily tasks, he hears,

The word of the LORD that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel: 2Hear this, you elders;

And Joel says to himself, "Shoot! I can't hear God clearly! I KNEW I should have bought that Joyce Meyer pamphlet at the market when I saw it! Now I'll never have intimacy with God!"

Or this from Haggai 1:1,

In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah,

"Stop! I haven't even built my prayer closet yet! I haven't done what Lynette Hagin said, to set aside time to wait in Your presence and allow You to talk to me!"

Or this from Jeremiah 1:4,

Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,


Wait! this doesn't coincide with Dallas Willard's point #3, that I should "make your main goal to become a spiritually mature person in a close relationship with God. That's the only way I'll clearly and correctly hear what God has to say to me." Since I haven't made my goal yet and since I am not a spiritually mature person, and since according to Mr Willard, that is the ONLY way I'll correctly and clearly hear what God is saying to me, then it must not be God. Phew, I'll just go to the store and get another Willard book just to be sure I am on the right track.

Isn't it silly to think that multitudes of people heard God clearly before all these false teachers started writing manuals for hearing from God? Doesn't it diminish God's glory to intimate, or even say out flatly as so many of these teachers have, that God can't get to you unless you do certain things? He hung the moon by His word. He also made the stars, knows them and named all of them. He upholds the universe by the power of His will. He ordains every single event on earth every second of every day for 8 billion people. But He can't make Himself heard unless you do what Andrew Wommack says?

I hope I've shown through this reverse method how silly it is that the God of the Universe needs any help from any of these teachers explaining methods for "How to Hear God." He's God. He never needed any help making Himself heard before and He never will.

Stick with the word, it's glorious and clear. It is currently the method we are told that He uses to make Himself known. It should hopefully excite you and fulfill you. If that isn't enough and you seek tips and how-tos for "more", sadly, you'll get less.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2).

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Further Reading

The Myth of God's Silence

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