Sunday, August 1, 2010

Twice in a Lifetime

God speaks. Through his Word, prayer, visions, dreams, or the Godly arranging of life’s circumstances—Christians believe God speaks directly to them as part of their personal relationship with the Father and Son.

And were you to ask any of us, deep down, we have difficulty with those dry spells when God is silent. The writing world is filled with words exploring those deserts.

As God’s children, we’re taught to live out Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” And so we bring everything before the Father’s throne—every petition, every request, every decision we need to make.

Then, we’re many times disappointed because the kind of God we want is one who readily responds with “yes,” or “no” answers, one who gives 24-hour call-backs, one who speaks in clear 20th-century-ese instead of cryptic ancient Hebrew or Greek. In essence, we want a man-made God who thinks like us, not an Alpha and Omega God who strives to transform us to think like Him.

The interesting thing is that in my own life and in the lives of others, I’ve seen that even when God does reveal Himself to us on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis, it’s not enough. We want the communication to be easier, faster, more plentiful. So, we read books and attend seminars to learn how to hear God speak. We look at others who are receiving fresh revelations from God and wonder what they have that we don’t.

And yet, I think we’re getting it all wrong.

The more I look at individuals throughout Scripture, I see stories of men and women who had a healthy relationship with God—but I don’t see where God spoke to them every single day in a “Here’s your simple answer” kind of way.

Yes, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge” (Ps. 19:1-2). God speaks as God each day. But, the intimate speech of relationship isn’t nearly as prolific.

Those times when God doesn’t speak, those “dry spells.” Isn’t that the foundation of faith? Believing in something I cannot hear, see, or feel? I believe so.

Consider one verse, one of those I normally gloss over, even if I’m familiar with the names: “The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel” (Hos. 1:1).

I know historians argue over exact dates, but approximates are good enough for me. One chart gives these dates for the four kings listed above:

Uzziah, King of Judah 790-739 BC
(Jeroboam II, King of Israel) (793-753 BC)
Jotham, King of Judah 750-731 BC
Ahaz, King of Judah 735-715 BC

The Lord’s first words to Hosea were “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife,” implying that he was of marrying age. Add that number to possibly 75 years living in the midst of the four named kings, and you have a lifetime.

Do you see what that means?

God spoke to Hosea all his life, making his entire life an allegory, a message to Israel.

But even though God spoke to Hosea for that many years, His words seem to have been few. Hosea wasn’t a prolific writer. His God-given Word to the people only covers nine pages in my Bible. And critics disagree as to whether those nine pages are composed of two or four messages from God.

Think of it: a prophet of God, one holy enough to make the pages of Scripture--he may have only received two messages from God over the course of an entire lifetime.

God will continue to speak to His children throughout their lives if they will stay devoted and listening. That is comforting. But, God may not speak a novel to each person.

Some of us will simply be required to live by faith for much longer stretches between messages.

No comments:

Post a Comment