Sometimes in the course of human conversation folks just let you know what they really think. The wisdom of Proverbs tells us… For as he thinks in his heart, so is he… or she in this case! Last week on national television a disparaging remark was made regarding our Vice President and his faith. The comment… “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you… that’s called mental illness … hearing voices,” she said.” Now I’ve met this man and let me say at the offset, Vice President Pence is a man of great character and faith. To say the things said of him are reprehensible, to say the least; however, his response to the remarks speaks of his high level of integrity. He pointed out that suggesting that those who hear Jesus speak to them suffer from mental illness was an affront to every American of faith. What’s troubling to me is that the host’s remarks are reflective of a culture that has forgotten what God’s voice sounds like! If you will allow me a moment, let me suggest a few ways God does indeed speak to those who follow Him.
God speaks to us through His word… The Psalmist said, “Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.” Again, the writer of Proverbs…” Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” Every student of the scriptures understands and hears the counsel of God through the word of God. God speaks to us through the Godly counsel of others. I have done this often and been incredibly blessed because of it. The book of wisdom tells us, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days…. A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,” The word of God speaks to us along with the wise counsel of others.
But let’s also notice that God speaks to us through our circumstances. I have over the years listened to testimony after testimony by those whose life was touched and even turned around by something that happened to them. Experiencing life has gotten their attention and they realized that God was real and they needed to surrender their lives to Him. It was cancer that brought Larry and Pat Rowe to Jesus. They will tell you that when Pat received the diagnosis of cancer, the Lord began speak to them and they both came to faith in Christ! It was a circumstance in my life that truly spoke to me about just how much God loved me. When my son Joey was born and I held him for the first time, it was then I realized just how much God loved me. At that moment, I knew of no one who I loved so much that I was willing to give my son’s life for, and yet God was willing to give his son for me. WOW! What an awesome thought. God can speak to us through his word, through Godly counsel, through our circumstances, and through his Son, Jesus. Listen to the Hebrew writer, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” You see, in the final analysis, each and every one of us has to deal with Jesus Christ. We will have to deal with who he is and what he came to earth to do.
It occurs to me that we should remember that the world is communicating to us as well. It champions a worldview that says God, if He exists at all, is just an impersonal moral force. Man, basically has the capacity within himself to improve morally and make the right choices. Happiness consists of unlimited material acquisition. There really is no objective basis for right and wrong. The supernatural is just a figment of someone’s imagination. If a person lives a “good life”, the eternal destiny is assured. The Bible is nothing other than a book written by man. Now you can say that if you like and you can believe that if you like. However, there will come a day when everyone of Adam’s race will hear the voice of their creator, then you’ll know.
We all must come to the place where we have to decide who we are going to listen to. This reminds me of the story of the old man who was warned on an impending flood and was told to leave his home. “The Lord will provide,” he told all his would-be rescuers. They came with a truck, then by boat and finally by helicopter. “The Lord will provide” he told them all. Finally, he drowned. When he came to heaven he asked the Lord why he had not been rescued, to which the Lord replied, “I sent a truck, a boat and a helicopter, what more could I have done? The question is not, is God speaking? But rather, are you listening?
Tim Throckmorton is the former executive pastor for Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, and Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene. He is currently senior pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.