Monday, May 4, 2009

Does God speak? How do you know?

You can tell I am fascinated with the proposition that God speaks to us. It is in the title of the blog.

Again and again in the Bible is the phrase, "and the word of the Lord came to..." or "God spoke to..." But how did it happen? How did they know it was God? Were they ever mistaken? It was very interesting to read at the start of Samuel that "This was at a time when the revelation of God was rarely heard or seen." And when little Samuel heard God speak to him, the comment was, "This all happened before Samuel knew God for himself. It was before the revelation of God had been given to him personally." Interesting!

So today's story is about something else - David's desire to build a house for God. But around that story is a "misfire" in hearing from God.

Here is the story...

1 -2 "Before long, the king made himself at home and God gave him peace from all his enemies. Then one day King David said to Nathan the prophet, "Look at this: Here I am, comfortable in a luxurious house of cedar, and the Chest of God sits in a plain tent."
3 Nathan told the king, "Whatever is on your heart, go and do it. God is with you." (2 Samuel 7)

David is talking to the man of God, like we would talk to a pastor today. David has a noble and God honoring concern. He lives in a grand palace. The God of Glory is in a pitched tent. Doesn't seem right, and David plans to do something about it. He tells Nathan the prophet. Nathan does not consult God. Why should he? This idea is wonderful. It is appropriate. It would bring honor to God. "Sure, do it" Nathan says. "God is with you."

It would be normal for king David to take that word from the man of God as a word from God Himself.

But...

4 -7 "But that night, the word of God came to Nathan saying, "Go and tell my servant David: This is God's word on the matter: You're going to build a 'house' for me to live in? Why, I haven't lived in a 'house' from the time I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt till now. All that time I've moved about with nothing but a tent. And in all my travels with Israel, did I ever say to any of the leaders I commanded to shepherd Israel, 'Why haven't you built me a house of cedar?'
8 -11 "So here is what you are to tell my servant David: The God-of-the-Angel-Armies has this word for you: I took you from the pasture, tagging along after sheep, and made you prince over my people Israel. I was with you everywhere you went and mowed your enemies down before you. Now I'm making you famous, to be ranked with the great names on earth." (2 Samuel 7)

Long message. It is from God. Nathan heard clearly. It came at night. Nathan later called it a vision. He relayed it in full detail to king David the next day.

So I have some questions. How did Nathan know it was God? How did he remember it the next day? Why did he not chalk it up to a dream he had that night? I guess all my questions come from the fact that I have never had God talk to me in a vision at night. Have you? Please let me know...

The message is long. And VERY encouraging. Although David is denied the opportunity to build the house for God (what we now call the Temple), God made some wonderful promises to him.

11 -16 "Furthermore, God has this message for you: God himself will build you a house! When your life is complete and you're buried with your ancestors, then I'll raise up your child, your own flesh and blood, to succeed you, and I'll firmly establish his rule. He will build a house to honor me, and I will guarantee his kingdom's rule permanently. I'll be a father to him, and he'll be a son to me. When he does wrong, I'll discipline him in the usual ways, the pitfalls and obstacles of this mortal life. But I'll never remove my gracious love from him, as I removed it from Saul, who preceded you and whom I most certainly did remove. Your family and your kingdom are permanently secured. I'm keeping my eye on them! And your royal throne will always be there, rock solid." (2 Samuel 7)

17 "Nathan gave David a complete and accurate account of everything he heard and saw in the vision." (2 Samuel 7)

The story goes on... It is very moving.

But my enduring question is,

Does God speak? How do you know?

2 comments:

Heidi said...

Never in a dream, but about three or four time in my life while awake. I'm not sure how I knew, but I did, and often it was through Scripture that I didn't even know I had memorized.

His Daughter said...

ive never heard God speak to me out loud. but earlier this year i just keeping hearing in "my heart, my head, my whole body": go down to the school & apply. i was like No! they'll never accept me, its a waste of time. so i changed my clothes and got into bed, but the voice would just not shut up! so finally i went just so i could stop hearing that push to go. i went applied, 2 months later I got in, with scholarships. Yes I believe it was God speaking to me, through the power of the Holy Spirit- believe me that school had not been an option before I heard that voice in my heart.