Hearing from God

Two weeks ago we considered the topic of what it means to develop a ‘conversational relationship with God’. How is that going for you? Is it something you cherish, find confusing – or even a little scary?! Below I pen a few more thoughts – based on, “Hearing God” by Dallas Willard.

God is not looking for robots
Your relationship with God is yours. It is unique. Our relationship with God as it develops is meant to be characterised by a deep and meaningful love. It is more a way of being with him than talking to him and hearing from him as such. In that way it is similar to any mature human relationship that has stood the test of time. A relationship with God most certainly is not about getting the latest information or commands, but instead getting to know God so that you understand his wishes – even if he is not telling you exactly what to do.

God is no taskmaster
God is not harsh. He takes no joy in judging even the ‘wicked, lazy servant’ of Mat 25:26. What kind of relationship does God hope for with us? Our calling is to be God’s friends and fellow workers: 2 Chron 20:7 – ‘Abraham your friend’; John 15:13-15 – ‘You are my friends’; 1 Cor 3:9 – ‘we are co-workers in God’s service’. It is communion with God which enables communication

Merely human?
The people in the Bible who enjoyed hearing from God were as human as you and I – even the great heroes. Do you believe that?
“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.” (James 5:17 NIV11)
Jesus also shared our humanity and understands our need for a living relationship with our Father.
As Willard said, ”Our humanity will not by itself prevent us from knowing and interacting with God just as they did.” p35

How to believe the Bible stories
If we are to develop the same kind of relationship with God as our Scripture heroes we must assume our experience would have been the same as theirs if we had been there. That is a faith thing. Study the Bible to understand how those people had the experiences they did. Be faithful to the text and use your imagination.

Humble arrogance: who, me, Lord?
Is it arrogant to think that you and I could have the same experiences as Moses or Elisha? Part of God’s greatness is that he is able to communicate with any person in any way at any time he chooses. Hearing from God does not make us more important than anyone else. We are already as important as we need to be. Massively important. It looks rather as if God spoke to Moses all the time, but he was humble, Numbers 12:3. If we need help with humility it is quite likely God will help us!

Ideas and Questions for Reflection
Do you believe you could have a relationship with God like (insert Bible character here…)?
What does it mean to you to be God’s friend?
How might these thoughts help your connection with God this week?

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: [malcolm@malcolmcox.org](mailto:malcolm@malcolmcox.org).

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm