A child can be disobedient in one of two ways. First, he can outright rebel. He can insist on his own way, marching to his own drum, being his own boss. The other way is bit harder to notice, but just as dangerous. He can never grow up. A child is taught obedience not so that he might always be a child, nor so that he can become an entirely independent entity. Rather, so that he might become his own man, but a man in fellowship (cf. 1 Jn. 1:3). Willful immaturity and rebellious autonomy are both sinful, and are a hinderance to true fellowship with our Father, and our brothers.
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. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;Hebrews 1:1-3
Summary of the Text
These opening lines of Hebrews were written to believing Jews who were bracing for looming persecution. They are told that whereas God had spoken in times past through prophets (Heb. 1:1), He had now spoken by His Son, who is the appointed heir of the whole kit and caboodle. Not only that, but the Son was eternally with the Father in the act of Creation (Heb. 1:2). The long and short of it is that the God who had spoken creation into being, is the very same God who now spoke by the Son. This demands precise and faithful adherence to the Son’s kingship (Heb. 2:1). The Triune God spoke creation into being, and the Triune God has now spoken a new creation into being. We know this because God became a man, purged our sins, and became King of the world (Heb. 1:3). This was all a warning to them to not return to the incomplete word of Moses, but to hear the fulfillment of what God spoke through Moses and the prophets by His Son (Mt. 17:5). The better Word had been spoken, and with blood red finality.
How God Speaks
The Scriptures begin with a crucial assertion about God: He speaks (Gen. 1:3). He speaks clearly, and He speaks directly. He commands light and it comes into being. His Word creates and commands and upholds. He gives Adam clear orders and injunctions. After the fall, God comes to talk with the patriarchs. On Mount Sinai, God reveals Himself to the entire nation via Word: “ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.” Later, the Holy of holies came to be known as the Oracle (debiyr דביר).
The gods are never quiet. There is no culture in history which does not have priests claiming to speak on behalf of the gods. Replace God with Science, and you begin to see how religious the so-called rationalists actually are. We are repeatedly confronted with claims that “The science is settled.” Which is just another way of saying, “Thus saith the Lord.” Look at our American religious landscape where every person is a priest of a god in their own likeness. When people say things like, “Well to me, God is…” they are claiming to speak for God. So, the unbelieving objectivism of pseudo-science, and the unbelieving subjectivism of feel-good religion are both at odds with reality.
Man is always looking for ways to plug his ears to God’s voice, in order to hear his own voice. This unbelieving way of thinking often creeps into the church. Various types of Christians claim to have “words from the Lord”. Some believers with tender-consciences want to truly honor the Lord and follow His guidance and thus have become confused about how to hear the Lord’s voice; because of mankind’s hunger to hear from God, others have seen a grand opportunity to be God’s mouthpiece. The first type hear “God” saying an awful lot of murky and/or wishy-washy sentimentalism, while the second type hear an awful lot about sending donations to the number at the bottom of the screen.
The question before each man is this, will he listen to the subjective voice of man, or to the objective Voice of God in Nature and in inspired Scripture. The Protestant position is that God has two books which He speaks to us. The book of the World (general revelation), and the book of His Word (special revelation). Creation says enough to leave man without an excuse for not seeking, finding, and following the God he knows is there. The Word tells man that God has made a way to save man from His rebellion. The final Word which God has spoken is that Jesus who suffered for lost mankind, is now King of mankind. Which means man must hear and obey.
What God Hath Said?
Now, where this gets real sticky is when you try to figure out what God is saying to you. It is easy to try to get your own way by looking to a subjective “inner voice” and pretending it was God speaking to you, but He always seems to say what you wanted to hear anyway. The other error is that of the liberal who treats the Bible as a novelty shop of nice aphorisms of by-gone “God-followers” who show us that every person’s journey to God is unique. On one hand you undermine the work of the Spirit, on the other you undermine the thunder of God’s voice in the Bible.
God’s definitive Word has been spoken, the Spirit opens our ears and grants us wisdom to apply it in our circumstances. Christ is King, the Spirit dwells in You, and the Bible makes your marching orders plain. So, look at your current circumstances. Do you really believe what the Bible says about them? God has ordered your steps.
So, what has God told you to do? Believe upon the Lord Jesus (Rom. 10:9). Honor your parents (Ex. 20:12). Love your wife (Col. 3:19). Submit to Your husband (Col. 3:18). Don’t lie (Ex. 20:16). Take a nap on Sunday afternoons (Mk. 2:27). Go to church (Heb. 10:25). Unfollow some Instagram accounts ASAP (2 Tim. 2:22). With a big smile, give a big fat check to the Lord’s work (1 Cor. 16:2, 2 Cor. 9:7). Work yourself ragged six days a week (Col. 3:23). Host a big feast on a regular basis (Rom. 12:13). Obey your rulers, and resist tyrants (Rom. 13; 1 Sam. 22:2). If that’s not enough to go on, look at all the “one another” passages in the New Testament. Love one another. Receive one another. Forgive and forbear with one another. Serve one another. Admonish one another. Comfort one another with Scripture. Provoke one another to good works.
The point is, often when we are wrestling with making a big decision, trying to determine God’s will for our life, we stall out. If you want to know God’s will for your particular circumstances, you should get started by doing what He’s clearly and plainly told you to do.
And remember, Biblical decision making includes tossing a coin. “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD (Pro 16:33).” Make a decision. If things go haywire, give thanks in all circumstances, and learn the lesson Your Father has sent to you. This all demands that you learn to read the Bible, and think like the Bible teaches you to think, and in the manner which the Bible would have you think. The whole book of Proverbs is an instruction manual for life, but only those who seek wisdom understand how to apply that wisdom to their unique circumstance. Oftentimes, wanting God to give you a script is just a cunning way to avoid the clear stage directions he has already given you.
The Scottish pastor, M’Cheyne, once put it so beautifully, “One gem from that ocean [of Scripture] is worth all the pebbles from earthly streams. […] Unfathomable oceans of grace are in Christ for you. Dive and dive again, you will never come to the bottom of these depths. How many millions of dazzling pearls and gems are at this moment hid in the deep recesses of the ocean caves.”
In short, God wants to speak to you. And do you know what He wants to tell you about? Jesus first. Jesus last. Jesus between.