God’s people always have known many things about God – about his fearsome wrath and about his abundant patience. They also have known how God speaks. And aside from the truth of Jesus Christ and his cross, this is perhaps the most important thing for the Christian to know.
God only would speak to his people through his appointed prophets. There was to be no mystery as it related to hearing from God.
Ancient peoples went to great pains in their attempts to hear from the divine. They would watch the clouds, and they would pay attention to the reflections of liquid in a cup, and they would cut up herbs to make magical brews, and they would tie knots to bind people into curses. And they would try to consult with the dead.
Inherent in these methods of interacting with the gods was the idea the gods could be manipulated. And this manipulation was designed to bring blessings out of the gods, rather than curses. The people sought their own benefit, and they sought it through methods they created themselves.
Not many people today still are wrapped up in listening to soothsayers or necromancers. Very few are truly interested in hearing from the dead. We aren’t shaking out arrows in order to hear from the divine (Ezekiel 21:21). And very few are considering sacrificing their children to pacify a deity.
But many people are seeking to connect with the divine. Sometimes they don’t even know what to call Him. But within many people is a desire to reach out to something more powerful than they are, and to hear what that One has to say to them. Some seek out the divine through yoga or astrology or tarot card reading or meditation.
As Christians, we always must point them back to the unambiguous revelation of God in Jesus Christ. God promised to raise up for his people new prophets like Moses – people who would hear directly from God and then serve as messengers of God to the people. We can think of the prophets Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel.
God’s communication with his people was simple, and it was initiated by God himself. Manipulation of God was completely ruled out. Strange and mysterious ways of hearing from God were ruled out as well.
The culmination of God’s speaking to humanity was Jesus Christ. “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” (Hebrews 1:1). The writer of Hebrews goes on to describe Jesus as “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (1:3).
Jesus is the one through whom God has ultimately spoken. He’s the one to whom the prophets continually pointed. He’s the messenger and the message itself.
The ultimate question any person must ask is what he or she believes about Jesus. Some become trapped in their own self-interest, awaiting the word of some “diviner” or tarot card reader. They only ask, “What about me?”
All of us, in fact, find ourselves in this place in one way or another. We don’t trust the divine Word, and we seek to manipulate God. We ask, “What about me?”
The real question is this: “What about Him – Jesus Christ? What do you believe about Him?” Everything else will fall into place after that.