Tuning In To God's Frequency: Excerpt from Seven Keys to Hearing God's Voice
Excerpt from Seven Keys to Hearing God’s Voice
Because God is love, He is a communicator. In fact, God is always communicating with us. But are we tuned to His frequency? I like to think of His communication with man like a radio station -- WGOD.
Over the years I've been a disc jockey in varying capacities. I remember when I did the graveyard shift at the college radio station during my sophomore year. I had to set my alarm for 2 a.m., and then I spun the 'platters that mattered' until the morning drive jock came in at 6. That was how we kept the station on the air -- seven-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day.
It might blow your mind to learn that God communicates with His people all day, every day -- just like my college radio station. But we have to have our ears tuned to His frequency to catch the signal.
So how do we tune in?
In order to understand how God leads us today, we need to know how He has led his people throughout recorded time. Theologians would say that we need a proper understanding of general revelation, special revelation, and subordinate revelation.
God has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind because of His love for us. Any knowledge that we have of God and His ways comes as a result of Him revealing it to us. God is the One who gives the revelation of Himself as He wills -- when, where, why, how and to whom He wills.
As C. S. Lewis put it, "When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. And, in fact, he shows much more of Himself to some people than to others -- not because He has favorites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favorites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as a clean one."
What can be known about God -- His eternal power and deity -- can be understood by everyone because God has revealed it within them.
Through the creation of the universe God has revealed Himself. This is called the general revelation of God. Romans 1:20 says,
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
Pat Robertson has taught over the years, "We can deduce clearly from all the created things that there has to be a Creator. As we see the sunsets, the regularity of the seasons, the laws of nature, we are drawn to the fact that there has to be an intelligence behind all of it."
Because man in his fallen state is evil he doesn't want to believe what he clearly sees.
Since man is made in the image and likeness of God, he is a mirror or reflection of God. So, in man himself God is also revealed. Dr. Robertson continues, "The law of God is written on the hearts of men. Through this moral sense, God also reveals Himself. Man is a being that worships, prays, builds churches, temples, shrines, and other places of worship, and seeks after the meaning of life and the existence of God. In all these things, God draws man to Himself."
God is also revealed in the activities of man throughout history. Through the rise and fall of nations and peoples, God’s hand can be seen over time. We recognize God's righteousness in the judgement or blessing of nations as they either reject or revere God.
God, in His love and grace, has chosen to reveal Himself to man through the people of the Bible -- and primarily through his chosen people, the Jews. Dr. J. Rodman Williams writes, "God has come to be known through His dealings with the people of the Scriptures. This was an ongoing, unfolding, evolving revelation of God in Biblical history. He was revealed as the same holy and loving God throughout -- He is never changing. But mankind is growing in our understanding of who God is as He reveals more and more to us in each generation -- with an ever deepening and enlarging declaration of both His holiness and His love."
God revealed Himself through the Old Testament prophets and holy men and women first. These special people were spokesmen for God. They were God-appointed communicators of His special revelation. It's important to understand that under the Old Covenant the Holy Spirit did not indwell any person on an ongoing basis because mankind had not yet been redeemed from the fall. And so the Lord chose special individuals -- primarily the prophets, priests, kings and other rulers of Israel. It was upon these people that the spirit of the Lord would descend to reveal the love and grace of God to the world.
A dramatic example of this is found in the life of Israel's first king, Saul. This physically-strong young man was emotionally weak. After the Lord revealed to the prophet Samuel that Saul was to be king, Samuel relayed the message to Saul. The young man's response to the Old Testament prophet was, "Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak to me in this way?" Samuel wasn't moved by his response, because the Lord had already made it plain that this would be the new king.
The next day Samuel took a flask of oil, poured it on Saul's head, kissed him and said, "Has not the Lord anointed you a ruler over His inheritance?" Then he began to foretell the events that would unfold during the coming day. After giving him many details of his coming journey, Samuel declared to Saul,
Afterward you will come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is; and it shall be as soon as you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and a lyre before them, and they will be prophesying. Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man. It shall be when these signs come to you, do for yourself what the occasion requires, for God is with you.
And you shall go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do.''
Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came about on that day. When they came to the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them. It came about, when all who knew him previously saw that he prophesied now with the prophets, that the people said to one another, ""What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?'' (1 Samuel 10:5-11).
Throughout the Old Testament we see where the Spirit of the Lord came upon men and women and they declared the word of the Lord. This was primarily true of the prophets.
The last of these Old Testament prophets was John the Baptist who announced the coming of the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. And so the climax of God's personal revelation is Jesus Christ Himself. In Him, "the Word became flesh and made it's dwelling place among us" (John 1:14). Jesus was God come to earth. He came in fulfillment of two thousand years of Jewish history, and His coming was precisely as foretold by the prophets. He came down to man and showed us what God is like, so we could know Him better. In the person of Jesus Christ, God was confronting people immediately and decisively. Jesus Himself declared in John 14:9, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father."
Jesus affirmed the full authority of the Old Testament as Scripture, but He made his own words and deeds equally authoritative and promised the apostles that the Holy Spirit would remind them of his ministry and teach them its significance.
The New Testament apostles were the third method of special revelation. The apostles provided the special witness, declaring the whole counsel of God from the New Covenant perspective. Through the apostolic witness this special revelation could be canonized in its ultimate dimensions and final meaning.
At the Synod of Hippo in 393 AD, the church fathers listed the 27 books of the New Testament after a long, drawn-out debate. The five general questions asked before a New Testament book was added were: Is it authoritative? Is it prophetic? Is it authentic? Is it dynamic? Did the people of God use it? After reviewing the usage and authority of these books, the council concluded that these books were already recognized as having authority in the church, and so the canon was closed, giving us the New Testament Scriptures as we know them today.
Theologian F.F. Bruce rightly observed, "Authority is determined by God; it is discovered by man."
The canon of the New Testament consists, then, of the authoritative record and interpretation of God's self-revelation by Jesus Himself. As C.S. Lewis explains, "The closing of the Canon by limiting it to apostolic books arose out of the recognition that God’s revelation in Christ needs no improvement."
In the New Testament Church God reveals Himself to the Christian community in a manner that is secondary to the Scriptures. This is done for the upbuilding of the Church -- to strengthen saints to take the Gospel to hurting people around the world. God has given the Church ongoing revelation as a part of the New Covenant. This revelation is given through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit -- to our hearts and through the gifts of the Spirit.
As C. S. Lewis put it, "the one really adequate instrument for learning about God, is the whole Christian community, waiting for Him together. Christian brotherhood is, so to speak, the technical equipment for this science -- the laboratory outfit."
The coming of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the Church, and the writing of the Bible did not eliminate the need for the prophetic voice of the Lord; in fact, it intensified that need. The apostle Paul emphasized this truth when he told the church at Corinth to "covet to prophesy" (1 Corinthians 14:39).
It must be understood that prophets and prophecy are not on the same level as the Scriptures. Prophecy provides illumination and it gives specific direction to the believer for a specific situation -- it does not provide any further revelation than what the Bible has already given.
Remember, the ideal means of communication is the Holy Spirit speaking directly to each individual through the Scripture and by His Spirit. Even this, though, needs to be confirmed in the mouth of two or three -- something that prophecy and the other keys of God's guidance can do.
Prophecy should not be a substitute for a person learning to hear God's voice for themselves. Yet many cannot or will not take time to listen for the voice of God. Some Christians don't even believe that God is speaking to His people today. Others are under so much emotional strain when faced with an important decision that they aren't sure if they're hearing the voice of the Lord or not. Personal prophecy, along with the word of knowledge and the word of wisdom, is a means for God to communicate with these people to bring edification, exhortation and comfort (1 Corinthians 14:3).
It is good to note that "God manifests the Spirit through each person for the good of the entire church" (1 Corinthians 12:7).
There are seven keys to hearing God -- and many times the Lord will use several or all of them all to communicate His message to us. If you need to hear God's voice today, you are not alone. Make sure you're plugged in to a good, Bible believing local church where you can receive from other mature Christians.
God is speaking today, but we must be tuned in to His frequency. To do that we must be walking in holiness, walking in forgiveness -- and we must be a part of a local fellowship of believers.