Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Is God Speaking to me . . . or is it Just Indigestion?

I just said this morning that I would refrain from any Internet activity for a while. I guess I'm still feeling guilty about the turmoil I caused when I spoke up on CNN and it was on their web (see a few postings ago). But, I know, I'm bad, but here I go again.

All day long I've been thinking about this concept of "hearing God's voice." It started because of The Bait of Satan (forward by Benny Hinn) book and the author (Bevere) made the comment that you should never leave your church unless you actually hear the voice of God telling you to do so.

What is the voice of God? I have no doubts that God spoke with real words, hitting real human eardrums, at times in history (like with Elijah above). But it is a term that is thrown around very loosely today.

When I'm with my Evangelical friends, I can say that God told me this or that and no one would bat an eye. It is a common expression within Evangelicalism. I've decided that if I ever do leave my church that I will just send out an e-mail saying that God told me to do so. That will keep everyone quiet. Yes, I would be lying, but that is how the term is often used . . . a term that puts a big period after it. In other words, you can't debate anyone who says that God told them such and such. But what is it really?

I think again of Jeremiah 17:9

9The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
10A)">(A) "I the LORD search the heart
B)">(B) and test the mind,a]">[a]
C)">(C) to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds."

It becomes an issue of epistemology, something that has been debated in philosophy since the Greeks (at least). How can we know that it is God's voice . . . or indigestion? Is it just a term of manipulation?

Denise tells me all the time, "Who are you to judge if what they say is from God . . . really is from God?" That's not the point I'm making here, but it just one of those questions that bugs me.

Here is an example of why this is important . . . then I have to go see a patient.

I suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder and have all my life. I denied it up until a few years ago. I denied it because, 1) real men aren't anxious, 2) real Christians aren't anxious. So, in the past, if I was going to do something, then woke up in the middle of the night with my stomach in knots, I would sense that it was the Holy Spirit convicting me . . . and I would back out.

Now that I know that it is common, garden variety anxiety, I laugh and do it anyway (with trembling). But I wonder how different my life would have been if I had acknowledged it as anxiety years ago, rather than believing it was God's voice.

Got to go but I will pick up on this later. . .


Steve Martin said...

It certainly could have been last night's pizza!

And it could have been God.

But we cannot tryst those voices because the devil is quite capable of speaking to us also and making us believe it is God.

That is why we can only trust in His Word (Bible and preaching of the pure law and gospel) and the Sacraments (baptism and Holy Communion).

Everything else might be...then again..might not be.

MJ said...


But I bet even within your circles that concept of "God spoke to me about such and such" is not that uncommon.

Steve Martin said...


We don't hear it too much in Lutheran circles...but it does show up now and then.

My pastor says that if he heard God actually speak to him, he'd fall flat on his face and stay there for a couple of weeks.

We do get a Baptist lady who visits our services once in awhile.
She swears that God speaks to her...audibly!