Friday, March 26, 2021

Voices in my head. . .

How often don't we wish to hear a personal voice from God, a sign or direction to guide us when the path is uncertain, comfort us when our hearts are troubled, and give us confidence when our courage is tested!  There is not one of us who has not longed for such manifestations from God.  So what about the voices in our heads?  Are they the voice of God, the whispers of the devil, or simply our own desires addressing our hearts and minds?  

I well recall the quip that if you want to hear God speak to you, read the Scriptures out loud!  It is a joke but not -- for the sure word we have received from God is His Word.  In many and various ways God spoke to His people of old by the prophets but now He has spoken to us through His Son says Hebrews.  And the Son is all about the Word, the Old Testament that testifies to Him in Law, Prophet, and writings, and the New Testament that testifies to the promise fulfilled in the flesh and blood of our Savior.  All through the Scriptures we hear how God's voice is not simply a voice but His Word and promise, from the beginning written and passed down and guarded as the sacred deposit.  

If we want to know what God has said and what He still speaks through the living voice of His Word, the Scriptures are the place to go.  They are not simply a record of the past or a description of events or an answer to questions, the Word of God is living and active, the very voice of the Good Shepherd still calling His sheep.  Even more, the Word of God is accompanied by the Spirit who works faith where there was none, who sustains the weary (with a Word!), who guides us on the path of righteousness, and who strengthens both our bodies and souls in Christ our Savior.  Though we long for a voice in our minds or hearts, we dare not diminish or detract from what God has given to us in His Word.  Longing for more than what God has given is not without its own problems and consequences -- not simply for God but for those to whom God has spoken through His Word.  Often our desire for more is because we are less familiar with that Word than we should be!

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  Deut. 13:1-3

Sometimes the voices in our minds and in our ears are a test -- to which voice are we tuned to hear.  If we know the voice of God, we will neither be distracted or deceived from the truth.  But if we do not know the voice of God, every voice will entice our hearts and minds to unbelief, heresy, or apostasy.  God has given no guarantees of extra-Biblical revelation but has promised that His Word is enough -- the Word of the Father delivered us by His Son, in whose name the Spirit was sent to bring all things to the remembrance of the apostles so that they might pass it on in voice and writing to those who came after them.  The center of authentic tradition is this Word, the yesterday, today, and forever the same Word of God.  Authentic tradition does not compete with this Word or sit above it but serves the Word as a faithful servant, always pointing to Christ in whom the Law, the Prophets, and the writings find their fulfillment.  Those who speak in God's name not only have their words normed by THE Word but draw their voice from that which God has said.  In worship, we speak back to Him this Word and so signal our faith in what He has made known.  God cannot tell you something that contradicts what He has said in His Word.


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