“The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah…” (Jeremiah 33:19 ESV)
Every time I read the phrase “the word of the LORD came unto…” in the Old Testament (which is quite often), I wonder what that experience was like. What was it like for Jeremiah to “hear” or “sense” or “see” or “receive” a word from God? Christians today often have experiences of receiving a word from the Lord, although our experiences are not on par with the authority and clarify of Scripture. However, I do believe God still speaks to us today. And I believe he has spoken to me on multiple occasions.
What is that like? For me, God often speaks through bringing song lyrics (no surprise, since I was a worship pastor for over a decade) and Scripture to memory. Other times, he speaks through a sermon I’m listening to, a Scripture passage, or a book I’m reading. A word, phrase, or verse will resonate strongly in my heart. Sometimes, God gives me specific thoughts, like, Jesus wasn’t cool; he was crucified. These come most often when I am preparing sermons. A few times in my life, God has shown me pictures or visions during prayer. I have witnessed on more than one occasion God speaking to a church gathering through a message in tongues and its corresponding interpretation, although he has never spoken that way through me.
God speaks in many ways, and I believe he speaks to all his children far more frequently than we may think. But, we must be listening. This past week, God convicted me a couple of times about my smartphone. Every spare moment of our lives is filled with noise of some kind—a podcast, an interview, a news story, a video, an article, a book, a song, etc., etc., etc. We’re almost afraid to be still with our own thoughts before the Lord. But if we want to tune into God’s words, we must tune out much of the noise around us. Turn off the TV. Put down the book. Set your phone to do not disturb and put it away. Turn off the radio. Be still and listen. It may not happen right away, but as you quiet the noise from outside, your soul will settle into a listening posture and you’ll begin to hear God’s words to you. You’ll also begin to hear God’s words for others, but that’s a different post.