Tuesday, March 4, 2014
God told me.....
I have been having a great discussion with ladies on a group page called "Sister to Sister" on facebook. I initially posted this article: http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2014/03/beth-moore-prophesies-coming-outpouring.html warning my sisters in Christ about the direction Beth Moore seems to be going and received quite a bit of feedback on whether or not God speaks to us outside of His Word.
I have been having so many thoughts whirling around in my head because of this post and I knew I couldn't do a facebook post with a million words long so I decided to do a blog post as a response instead.
First, let me say why I think this topic is so important: God doesn't like people speaking for Him when He didn't speak. Not only does He not like it, it makes Him angry.
"A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape." Proverbs 19:5
"I have not sent them,' declares the LORD. 'They are prophesying lies in my name. Therefore, I will banish you and you will perish, both you and the prophets who prophesy to you.'"-Jeremiah 27:15
People prophesying lies in God's name is nothing new. When someone says: "God said...." when He did not say, they are prophesying lies in His name just like people did in Jeremiah's day. Look at God's response again: "Therefore I will banish you and you will perish, both you and the prophets who prophesy to you." Yikes. No thanks. God takes speaking for Him pretty seriously and so should we.
Many times I wonder if people are really just speaking the delusions of their own minds.
"Then the LORD said to me, 'The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and THE DELUSIONS OF THEIR OWN MINDS." Jeremiah 14:14
Whenever I hear a Christian say: "God said to me...." I shudder a bit... I wonder: "Do they know what they are really saying? Do they understand that they are speaking for God?"
I think the words: "God said.." are becoming too commonplace. People say it like they are speaking for their buddy or their neighbor, not the Creator of the universe.
Some things I do believe in: I believe God works through His Holy Spirit and His Word (the bible) to guide us, teach us and convict us. I also believe that God does not work the same as He did in the Old Testament and I believe Hebrews 1:1-2 explains this perfectly:
"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but 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."
That seems pretty clear to me: God spoke in past times through His true prophets who could honestly say: "God said to me..." but in these days, we know, He spoke through His Son and the Word of God which John 1 describes as being one in the same.
Does this mean God CANNOT speak to us? Audibly even? NO. He can do WHATEVER He wants. Do I think it is as common as many make it out to be? Absolutely not. In fact, some of the things people claim that God is telling them is often just flat out silly. When God spoke in the Old Testament through His prophets it was with great purpose, it was clear and it was obviously from God.
God would have the same advice for us today that He did for those in Jeremiah's day:
"Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have." Jeremiah 29:8
Secondly, I think this is so important because of how it often shakes young believers and sometimes "older" believers' faith. "Why doesn't God talk to me like He does to 'so and so'?... Maybe I'm not saved... Maybe I don't really have a relationship with God since I never hear from Him."
Thirdly, how do you decipher from "God speaking" and your own mind or deceitful heart? Some of my most charismatic friends have quoted God saying many things that never came to pass or were just flat out lies. One friend told me: "God told me 'this is the man you are going to marry'" Well... that guy ended up marrying someone else. She also said: "God told me that I am going to die very soon." That was 12 years ago. Speaking falsely for the Lord can also be just flat out embarrassing when it is proven to be a lie!
"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9.
Wouldn't you rather err on the side of caution/godly fear and not say "God told me"? Wouldn't you rather say I feel like this or that? Quoting God is a way bigger deal than quoting your friend or even someone like the president. Unless you are sure, beyond the shadow of ANY doubt like Paul on the way to Damascus, I would never say: "God said..."
Lastly, people often talk about God speaking to people in the bible as if it was happening ALL the time. Not so. With the times in the Bible that record God speaking, we have to remember that they occur over the course of 4,000 years of human history. God speaking audibly is the exception, not the rule.
I appreciate gotquestions.org's thoughts on God speaking today: "God does speak to people today. First, God speaks to us through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Isaiah 55:11 tells us, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” The Bible is God’s Word, everything we need to know in order to be saved and live the Christian life. Second Peter 1:3 declares, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness." God can also “speak” to us through events—i.e., He can guide us through arranging our circumstances. And God helps us to discern right from wrong through our consciences (1 Timothy 1:5;1 Peter 3:16). God is in the process of conforming our minds to think His thoughts (Romans 12:2). God allows events to occur in our lives to direct us, change us, and help us to grow spiritually (James 1:2–5;Hebrews 12:5–11). First Peter 1:6–7 reminds us, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." God may sometimes speak audibly to people. It is highly doubtful, though, that this occurs as often as some people claim it does."
My husband did two messages on this very thing a couple years ago! Please feel free to listen here and here.
I would like to conclude with these two loving warnings from the New Testament:
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction." 2 Peter 2:1