DOES GOD SPEAK?

There is an old Tamil film song that used to touch my heart when I was a young child that goes like this: If Lord Jesus speaks, what will He speak? What will He speak in order to quieten a poor aching heart? These words were very dear to me because it brought God close to me, as One Who speaks to me.

Often we are in a quandary as to whether God speaks and if at all He is speaking, what is He speaking to us, especially in times of trouble.

Job, a man of great wealth and great integrity who lived in times past, also had the same question in a time of extreme suffering, when all that he believed in seemed swept away. His friend Elihu’s answer provides us a clue to this dilemma that seems universal and for all times. You can find it in the 33rd chapter of the book of Job in the Bible.

According to Elihu, God is not silent but does speak, one way or another. God does answer always, in one or two ways, even when people don’t acknowledge His presence. Elihu points out that God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.

God speaks to us ‘in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds. He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings. He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride. He protects them from the grave, from crossing over the river of death.’

God also ‘might get their attention through pain, by throwing them on a bed of suffering, So they can’t stand the sight of food, have no appetite for their favorite treats. They lose weight, wasting away to nothing, reduced to a bag of bones. They hang on the cliff-edge of death, knowing the next breath may be their last.’

In reading this we see that God’s intention is to capture our attention so as to warn us away from evil and keep us from death. God speaks to is in visions and dreams of the night with the intention of terrifying us away from wrongdoing. Since we do not hear or notice Him, He has to reach out by other means to make us listen and take notice when we are finally in bed, resting.

God does not scare us in order to make us tremble before Him, but horrifies us so that we would refrain from felony or crime, since these would lead to death. That’s God’s agenda – to scare the hell out of us so as to keep us out of hell!

We also see that God uses pain to capture our attention and not to torture or destroy us. God’s purpose is never to punish or penalize us in a vindicative or vicious manner, but to prevent us from destroying ourselves.

C.S Lewis writes in his book, The problem of pain, that “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world’’. God has His own ways of waking the conscience of us when we are absolutely heedless. Of all His many tools, pain is the loudest, for it makes us take note of His word. The psalmist, King David, declares that before he was afflicted he went astray, but now he keeps His word.

To the question as to why would God deal with us so, we can only bow low and answer that it because we our insensitivity to Him. We are so stupefied and insensible to His voice of love and reason that He has to use other means to capture our attention. We have become so incapacitated by cares, riches and pleasures that we are incapable of deciphering His words. So, God has to resort to other ways of making us hear and heed Him and give Him our attention so that we can inherit life and not destruction.

To go back to our question of whether God speaks, we can safely reply, Yes, God does speak. To the question, if so, what does He speak, we can confidently say that He speaks in order to turn us from death to life. He doesn’t speak to put fear of Himself in us, but fear of doing wrong and going to hell.

The crowning glory of the fact that God speaks is found in the first chapter of the book of Hebrews in the Bible: ‘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, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;’

If God speaks warnings through dreams, captures our attention through pain, what does He want to convey to us through His only Son, Jesus? What else but that our sins are forgiven through Jesus’ death of the cross and the way to Him has been made open by the blood of Christ!

God, through His Son, is speaking to us of reconciliation and peace with Him. He is telling us that we have access to Him through Christ. He is inviting the world to a relationship with Him and a communion with one another, made possible by the sacrifice of His Son. He is not just terrifying us to keep us from wrongdoing and hell, but also showing us the ways and means to read h Him and heaven!

Would we heed His call, the gentle still small voice of our Creator through His Son or are we going to force Him to use other means of persuasion?

The choice is ours, as He waits in the sidelines for us to hear and obey, out of our own freewill!

*It would help you to read a continuation of this article entitled WHY INTERCESSION AND PRAYER https://sabinatagoreimmanuel.com/2020/12/30/why-of-intercession-and-prayer/

*Pics courtesy Google, unsplash.com and shutterstock

MARRIAGE MATTERS

Marriages are made in heaven is an English proverb probably derived from a French proverb from the early sixteenth century. This proverb states ‘les mariages se font au ciel’: ‘marriages are made in heaven‘. A more appropriate one would be ‘Marriages are made in heaven but lived on earth’. An even more realistic one would be ‘marriages are made in heaven but lived in hell‘!

The first implies a spiritual element to marriages in that, God is part of this institution and so is love. This aspect elevates the status of marriage as important and the stature of it as preeminent over all other relationships.

The second accepts that, though marriage has a ‘divine element to it’ and that ‘marriage goes beyond human love to include spiritual love as well“, it still needs human involvement, commitment, responsibility, nurture and forbearance to succeed. Marriage is hard work that needs consistency and a continuum more than anything else to make it work. It is prosaic, down-to-earth, practical day-to-day life, of night and day, light and dark, dawn and twilight, and therefore, it surely cannot be the indulgence of the fainthearted but the venture of the truly brave!

The third is relevant to these times and often the truth, for though marriage has divine and earthly elements in it, yet it indeed has a hellish part to it. 

Why hellish? Simply because the enemy of souls is out to destroy it. All the forces of evil muster themselves against it, for God instituted it, God honors it as above all else and God upholds it as the essence of His relationship with His people.

Why hellish? Simply because it seems to arouse all of our selfish nature within us. A pastor once said, ‘You want to serve God, be single. You want to be like Jesus, get married’! Marriage, more than any other relationship, seems to arouse and expose the worst in us since it is the closest, most intimate and most vulnerable relationship of all. It needs the help and nature of God to survive!

Why hellish? Simply because marriages are the backbone of society and  are its basic social unit. Hence, marriages are fraught with duties and burdens that tax it to the core. It is the homeground of training and rearing of next generation, the succour and shelter of the previous generation and the epitome and embodiment of the current generation!

Compounded with all this is the cultural confusion that exists in its definition today, compounded as it were by the tenets of feminism, male chauvinism, patristic domination, individualism, same-sex relationship and selfish ambition. All these have muddied the marriage milieu, muddled already by family, regional practices and traditions. In addition, the current social and work environments seem so unconducive to marriage per se. All in all, marriage scenario seems to be on the rock, needing special protection, provision and preservation.

Marriage is indeed a work of art, a thing of beauty and a joy forever. It has the challenge of mountain tops and the beauty of quiet valleys, the glories of sunrise and the depths of sunset, the exquisite joy of companionship and the tragic sadness of loss. It has its origin not in the heart, mind and plans of man, but of God Himself. He it is Who conceived it, contracted it & consecrated it. As such, inspite of its pitfalls, it still is worth its wait in time!